• Construction of Alara’s Washhi Majaza copper-gold project due for completion in November
  • Positive met test work results has tin-tungsten stock Rafaella gaining in early trade
  • Equus (gold, silver), Akora (iron ore), and Santana (gold) up on no news

Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Tuesday January 25.



(Up on no news)

AUQ is set to be a direct beneficiary of sky-high copper prices, with construction of its 51% owned ‘Washhi Majaza’ copper-gold project in Oman due for completion in November.

A revised DFS envisaged a smallish open pit operation producing 35,000tpa concentrate a year for ~80,000t copper and 21,800oz gold over 10 years. It will cost about US$60m to build, the company says.

These metrics are now enhanced by higher current copper prices.

At $US7,000/t copper earnings before tax (EBITBA) was $US208m. At a $US9,500/t copper price, project EBITDA increases to $US370m, AUQ says.

The current cash price for copper on the London Metals Exchange is $US9,965/t.

There is jurisdictional risk though, with a “temporary” halt on new mining licences imposed by the Middle Eastern country of Oman in 2014.

In fact, the Washhi Majaza project JV has been the first to receive a licence since 2004.

The $22m market cap AUQ is up 45% year-to-date.



(Up on no news)

2021 was a big year for EQE, which became a junior gold and silver producer via the processing of low-grade stockpiles at the flagship ‘Cerro Bayo’ project in Southern Chile.

The project – fully acquired from the vendor in December – includes an operational 0.5Mtpa flotation plant and stockpile processing, mining infrastructure, existing mineral resources and 295 km2 mining claim package.

While the early cashflow is nice, EQE’s main game is proving up some high priority brownfields and greenfields targets and feeding high grade ore into the mill.

“Equus is … evaluating the potential for higher grade feedstock from sources within close proximity of the 0.5Mtpa plant,” chairman Mark Lochtenberg said January 14.

“These include the JORC 2012 compliant inferred resource at ‘Taitao’ of 302,000oz gold equivalent at 2.5g/t Au equivalent; the remnant … resource at the ‘Marcela’ mine (21.800oz gold, 2.74 Moz oz silver with an average grade of 2.53g/t gold, 318g/t silver); and potential extensions to mineralisation adjacent to the numerous other historic mines throughout the Cerro Bayo project.”

The $32m market cap stock is up 40% year to date. It had $4.8m in the bank at the end of September.



(Up on no news)

Iron ore is making a comeback, hitting +$US130/t over the last few days.

The outlook is also good, especially for the higher grade iron ore companies, with the expectation that green steelmaking technologies in the future will favour higher grade ores and concentrates.

AKO says its ‘Bekisopa’ project in Madagascar is shaping up “as one of the highest-grade iron ore projects in the world”.

The 60.1% iron at surface across the ‘Central Zone’ could be sold as cheaper-to-produce direct shipping ore (DSO). The resource canthen  be upgraded to 66.1% after magnetic separation at 2mm crush size, and to 70.2% iron at 75 micron size.

That’s well above the industry benchmark of 62%.

The Central Zone is a large, near surface, high-grade area 1.8km long, ~300m wide, and with 50m to 70m average thickness – “a good formation for open pit, low stripping ration mining”, AKO says. There’s also potential for mineralisation to continue 1.3kms to the south “which suggests potential in this Central Zone for a significant iron resource”.

The $13m market cap stock is up 8% year to date. It had $2.5m in the bank at the end of September.



Metallurgical test work – part of a definitive feasibility study on the ‘Santa Comba’ tin-tungsten project – shows a 5.6% increase in recoveries from run of mine (ROM) to concentrate to 71.6% versus 66% in the pre-feasibility study.

Higher recoveries mean RFR can produce more metal from the same amount of ore.

Managing director Steven Turner says the project has undergone extensive metallurgical test work over the last 12 months.

“As announced previously, the Definitive Feasibility Study has been delayed as the company has been committed to ensuring that the process is thoroughly tested and optimised, given issues experienced at other tungsten projects in the region,” he says.

“Rafaella is now please to confirm that the work to underpin a DFS has been completed showing significantly improved metallurgical recoveries.

“Moreover, the company has finalised the selection of the final product, calcium tungstate, a premium tungsten product.

“Discussions with potential off-takers have confirmed the desirability of calcium tungstate, also known as synthetic scheelite, and Rafaella is comfortable that it will shortly secure attractive off-take terms.”

Scoring a binding offtake is a crucial step toward obtaining project finance.

The $18m market cap stock is up 27% year-to-date. It had $2.5m in the bank at the end of September.



(Up on no news)

Chaired by high profile mining personality Norman Seckold, Santana’s main game is the ‘Bendigo-Ophir’ project in New Zealand.

Drilling since November 2020 has increased Inferred gold resources to 643,000oz, with more upgrades to come.

In December, SMI announced several hits including a highlight 13m at 12g/t from ~200m.

“This mineralisation, now known to extend about 400 metres further down plunge from the NE limit of the last Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), for a total length of about 1000 metres from surface outcrop, is still open in this direction where our drilling will continue to probe for new gold in 2022,” says exec director Dick Keevers.

“Our drilling is presently based upon bold step-outs for defining a new body of orogenic gold mineralisation.

“As our future drilling closes drill hole spacing in critical areas, we expect to enhance our understanding of the distribution and continuity of high-grade zones.”

The $46m market cap stock is up 5% year-to-date. It had $2.7m in the bank at the end of September.