• Variscan’s San Jose zinc exploration continues apace
  • Lithium Australia inks deal with Aussie mining gun Mineral Resources 
  • Galena’s lead-silver operations at its Abra mine in WA is on track for the long term


Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Monday August 7.



Lithium Australia has inked a joint development agreement with big-gun miner Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), in a deal that’s related to the disruptive lithium extraction technology LieNA®.

MinRes has a market cap of  $13.6bn and is operating extensively across WA, mining for lithium. It will solely fund the development and operation of a pilot plant up to the total budgeted cost of $4.5 million and provide raw materials for the pilot plant at no cost to Lithium Australia, with Lithium Australia to contribute its LieNA® technology.

A 50:50 joint venture to own and commercialise the LieNA technology through a licensing model is also potentially on the table.

What’s the LieNA® tech do? It’s complicated but it essentially enables the recovery of lithium from fine and low-grade spodumene that would otherwise be disposed of as waste.

According to the company’s notes, it has the “potential to enhance lithium extraction yields by up to 50% over current market performance, and will manage the pilot plant’s production process.

Lithium Australia Chief Executive Officer, Simon Linge said: “MinRes is the perfect partner to complement our leading lithium extraction technology, given its extensive owned operations and strategic movement downstream into the battery materials sector.

“Securing a development partner is also noted as a significant step within Lithium Australia’s recently released roadmap and serves as a powerful validation of our patented technology.”



Variscan has confirmed the continuity of high-grade mineralisation extending south-west from the San Jose zinc mine.

Specifically, the finds have been made on the 9km Novales-Udias trend, with the extension being revealed via new data collated by Variscan Mines. The extension upshot is 131 historical drillholes for 7,398 metres.

According to Variscan, the new results “materially enlarge the company’s drillhole database at the mine, which now consists of: 1,114 drill-holes for 95,553 metres.

The company reports: “recent work had established zinc mineralisation that extends both south-westerly and northeasterly, on strike, stepping out from the San Jose Mine and will be incorporated into Mineral Resource Estimation work-streams which are underway.”

Upside potential for future exploration and resource tonnage potential within the San Jose Mine has been on the cards for several months.

Variscan managing director Stewart Dickson said, “This additional drill-hole data shines an even brighter light on the upside potential to the south west of the San Jose Mine.

“Together with our own drilling and supplementary drill-hole data to the north-east we are now seeing a clear and more robust picture of the scale, continuity and quality of the zinc mineralisation beyond the immediate workings of the San Jose Mine and onto the wider 9km Novales-Udias Trend.

“This provides significant exploration and tonnage upside potential as well as supports our near-term objectives of mine restart evaluation.”



Galena’s Abra base metals mine in WA has updated its JORC Code 2012 Mineral Resource Estimate. It’s the first MRE annual update including all underground diamond drilling up to 5 May 2023, and all underground geological mapping, and mining and processing up to 30 June 2023.

The company reports no material difference from the previous MRE (April 2021), supporting Abra’s long-term lead-silver mining plans.

Galena MD Tony James noted: “The updated Abra MRE reflects substantial work achieved at Abra over the last 12-months, greatly improving the understanding of the deposit.

“The Resource update work also confirms that mining and processing grades seen during Abra’s commissioning and ramp-up, which is dominated by mine development, are not representative of the total MRE at Abra.

“As mining areas open up, grades through the mill continue to improve, particularly as we move away from the upper northern margin near the Abra Fault.”



Raiden Resources has been a beneficiary, by way of the “nearology” narrative, of Azure Mineral’s monster lithium hit last week from its emerging tier 1 discovery in the Pilbara.

As well as Errawarra Resources (ASX:ERW) and Greentech Metals (ASX:GRE), Raiden Resources is an Azure neighbour and is conducting early-stage ground recon and pegmatite sampling programs.

Meanwhile, RDN has some further price-pushing news…

Arrow Minerals (ASX:AMD) has announce it’s entered into a binding option and earn-in agreement with Raiden for the sale of Arrow’s lithium-caesiumtantalum (Li-Cs-Ta) mineral rights in tenements E47/3476 & E47/3478  located in the Pilbara, WA.

Adding context, Arrow’s MD Hugh Bresser said: “The agreement provides Arrow with a mechanism to realise long-term value from residual mineral rights associated on these tenements whilst also gaining exposure to broader exploration activities conducted by Raiden.

“Arrow will continue to focus on delivering long-term value for shareholders through its focus on West Africa and through the advancement of the Simandou North Iron Project in Guinea.”



(Up on no news)

KNB is still trading off its Friday good news – its official approval to get stuck into maiden drilling operations at the Bellagio gold prospect about 160km north-east of Broken Hill in NSW.

We’re not seeing any fresh info or much chatter about it on Twitter/X at this time, so… some reprised information from last week for you:

Its aircore drilling program scheduled to commence this month is designed to test beneath multiple high-grade gold samples from outcropping quartz veins, including 39.4g/t gold and 22.5g/t gold rock chips, and a robust gold in soil anomaly with a maximum result of 33ppb Au.

Managing Director, Dan Power, said: “The long-awaited final approvals for Bellagio open the door for the first ever drilling program to test outcropping quartz veins which have returned some spectacular gold results to date.

KNB has a drilling contractor in mind and is set to get cracking on the prospect in coming weeks.



At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Variscan Mines, Raiden Resources and Azure Minerals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.