Resources Top 5: Two nickel projects, African niobium and US lithium set the market’s pace
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Here’s your top ASX small cap resources winners in morning trade Friday, April 9.
The exploration company with interests in a diverse range of projects jumped on news that its McDermitt lithium deposit is the largest in the US after a mineral resource upgrade.
The McDermitt project in the US state of Oregan has a mineral resource of 1.4 billion tonnes at 1,320 parts per million lithium for a total of 10.1 million tonnes lithium carbonate.
Jindalee Resources said it is well funded to advance the McDermitt project which lies along Oregon’s border with Nevada and has planned additional drilling, mining and metallurgical studies.
At the end of March, the company announced it had staked additional claims for its McDermitt project to increase its size by 67 per cent to 54.6sqkm.
Lithium is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries used in EVs and storage batteries for renewable energy sources.
Another key battery mineral is nickel and the company has recently acquired two projects for nickel laterite direct shipping ore in the Solomon Islands to the east of Papua New Guinea.
Pacific Nickel said in an update that it will start drilling at its Kolosori project in the coming weeks after finishing some drilling at its Jejevo project both on Isabel Island.
The company’s consultants Resindo Resources and Energy Group has started engineering studies at Kolosori and a possible shipping port has been identified for the project.
Resindo has worked on 13 nickel projects in Indonesia for direct shipping ore.
“With the support of the landowners and the Solomon Islands government, the company is now focussed on applying for mining leases for both the Kolosori and the Jejevo projects as soon as practicable and may also pursue additional opportunities in the Solomon Islands,” executive director and chief executive, Geoff Hiller, said.
The niobium explorer with its Panda Hill project in the east African country of Tanzania had a good run despite not issuing any update since a March report.
Cradle Resources owns 37 per cent of the Panda Hill project located 680km west of Tanzania’s capital of Dar es Salaam and covers 22sqkm.
Niobium is used in steel production and three large companies, two in Brazil and one in Canada, dominate its mining. Niobium is considered a strategic metal by the US government.
Niobium super alloys are used for high temperature applications in jet engines, gas turbines, rockets and turbocharger systems and are also used in superconducting magnets.
Shares in the company took off as it announced the discovery of massive nickel sulphide targets at its Laverton Downs project 20km north of Laverton in WA.
The project is surrounded by world-class gold mines including Granny Smith, Sunrise Dam, Mt Morgans and Garden Well and the Windarra nickel mine.
Kambalda-style massive nickel sulphide mineralisation was pinpointed after a versatile time domain electromagnetic (VTEM) survey of the Laverton Downs project.
The company has also located and resampled 450 legacy drill holes to extend its geochemical model of the project area and results for this are pending.
“We are following a similar pathway to creating value as we did at the Lake Wells gold project where initial low-cost exploration by APC defined targets which attracts a major partner to fund ongoing work,” managing director and chief executive, Matt Shackleton, said.
A day ago, Australian Potash said gold company St Barbara (ASX:SBM) had earned a 70 per cent interest in its Lake Wells gold project after meeting its exploration spending commitment for $5.5m.
The gold and base metals explorer with projects in WA soared in early trade after a successful share placement for $1.48m from sophisticated and professional investors.
The capital raising is for the development of the company’s Wongan Hills gold and base metals and Barlee gold projects in WA.
Cullen Resources also has the rights to two iron ore royalties in WA’s West Pilbara region for which it is entitled to 1-1.5 per cent of the free-on-board price of any ore shipped.
One royalty is with AMCI-Posco and China’s Baosteel and Australia’s Aurizon (ASX:AZJ) in the Australian Premium Iron Ore Venture for the development of a 40 million tonne per year project.
Another royalty is with Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) in the Wyloo project, part of the iron ore miner’s Eliwana project that started up last year.
Cullen Resources has two iron ore tenements 25km south of Paraburdoo in WA for which Fortescue can earn an 80 per cent interest under a joint venture arrangement.