• Australian Silica Quartz-Devex JV drilling targets next door to Chalice’s Julimar discovery
  • Drill results pending from Lachlan Star’s Koolan JV, also near Julimar
  • Junior explorer Akora flies as iron ore prices hit 8-month highs
  • Norwest Minerals all cashed up to drill copper, rare earths targets

Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Monday March 6.



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The busy WA explorer is a Chalice nearology play, amongst other things.

Last week, ASQ’s 50-50 JV partner at the Julimar project, DevEx (ASX:DEX), started drilling some greenfields targets between Chalice Mining’s  (ASX:CHN) Julimar discovery and Caspin Resources’ (ASX:CPN) Yarawindah Brook project.

Meanwhile, preliminary target generation work at ASQ’s wholly owned Koolyanobbing project has been completed, identifying numerous gold, nickel and copper targets for follow-up.

A Scoping Study on the more advanced 11.6Mt Albany White Hill silica sand project in southern WA is also progressing.

“Preliminary assessment of metallurgy and process plant design, environmental assessment, water supply, the sand market and port access has given the company confidence that these aspects of the project are achievable within the expected economic and regulatory constraints,” ASQ says.

The $17m capped company is up 25% year-to-date. It had $3.9m in the bank at the end of the December quarter, plus a couple of rural properties valued at $2.26m.

READ: Could 2023 finally be the year for ASX sand stocks?



Another CHN nearologist.

In June 2020 the former shell paid ~$350,000 for 75% of the ‘Koolan’ project near the regionally defining Julimar nickel-copper-PGE discovery near Perth in WA.

It was a savvy purchase. Liontown (ASX:LTRspin-out Minerals 260 (ASX:MI6) has since farmed into Koolan, recently earning an initial 30% interest by spending $1.5m on exploration.

MI6 can acquire up to 51% in Koojan by spending $4m total on exploration within five years.

MI6 is now drilling right next door at the ‘Mynt’ prospect to follow up promising recent hits like 21m @ 1.3% Cu and 0.4g/t Au from 119m and 11m @ 1.5% Cu and 0.6g/t Au from 118m.

Mi6 had originally planned to wait until all assays had been received from the previous program, but pushed the button early due to “the potential for the prospect to host a significant mineralised system and the likely early commencement of cropping activities”.

Results are pending for 14 holes at Mynt.  Assays are also pending for another 26 holes drilled elsewhere on Moora and the adjacent Koojan JV area as part of a recently completed 82-hole/12,959m RC program designed to test multiple targets.

$18m capped LSA is up 30% year-to-date. It had $4m in the bank at the end of December.



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Iron ore prices hit 8-month highs Friday as China continues to ramp up the restart of the world #2 economy.

The longer term outlook is also good 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”.

A recently completed scoping study was light on detail but did show Bekisopa “to have high potential for further study due to its high grades, low impurities, positive processing characteristics and robust economics”.

“We are very pleased to have completed the Scoping Study for Bekisopa,” AKO managing director Paul Bibby said in November.

“The Study confirms viable pathways to production with robust project economics and provides knowledge that positions AKORA to move to a Pre-Feasibility Study, subject to funding, on the Bekisopa DSO in 2023.”

The $12m capped minnow is down 55% over the past 12 months and ~10% year to date. It had less than $1m in the bank at the end of December.



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In August 2021, ALM inked a deal with Canterbury Resources (ASX:CBY) to earn up to 70% of the 143Mt Briggs porphyry copper project in Queensland by spending up to $15.25m on exploration over nine years.

ALM is currently drilling to test exploration targets (an estimated 195Mt – 360Mt at 0.2% to 0.35% Cu) at the Northern and Central Porphyry areas.

In late February, the explorer reported a second, 536.5m deep hole into Northern Porphyry had intersected “multiple mineralized porphyritic intrusions”.

It is ~150m away from hole one, which pulled up almost continuous copper mineralisation from surface (441.5m @ 0.21% copper from 8m down-hole depth to end-of-hole).

This hole ended in mineralisation grading 0.34% copper over the bottom 3.5m.

The six-hole, 3000m drilling campaign continues, with next assays expected in early Q2, 2023.

Porphyry mines are huge, responsible for ~60 per cent of the world’s copper, most of its molybdenum, and significant amounts of gold and silver.

Their easy-mining large volumes make up for the low grades, typically between 0.2% to 1% copper equivalent.

$15m capped ALM is up 40% year-to-date. It had $2.2m in the bank at the end of December.

READ: Explainer — Why are so many explorers chasing a porphyry payday?



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$11m capped explorer NWM has a large rare earths-lithium-copper project called ‘Arunta West’ ~90km away from WA1 Resources’ (ASX:WA1)  company-changing niobium-REE discovery.

Late February the company announced multiple near surface 1000ppm clay REE hits in maiden drilling along a 3km soil anomaly.

Of the 20-hole RC program, four were drilled into the sediments with all returning intersections grading +1,000 ppm TREO.

This failed to get investors excited for some reason, but NWM believes this could be “a very large REE project”, with all clearances in place for a 22-hole follow-up drilling program starting April-May.

Metallurgical test work and the calculation of a maiden REE resource estimate will following the second round of drilling.

NWM will also punch more holes into its promising Bail copper project, where maiden drilling last year hit a highlight 52m @ 1.4% Cu from 0m inc. 12m @ 4.4% Cu from 4m.

The focus will be the undrilled ‘Deep South’ where sampling identified seven copper-gold bearing quartz veins extending at surface for over 2.5km, with the 30 rock chips collected averaging 20% copper and 1% gold.

NWM is down 30% year-to-date. It had ~$3m in the bank following a recent cap raise.