Copper explorers in Queensland and the Northern Territory will be pleased to know there are still plenty of places to find the red metal.

Government scientists revealed last week that “potential hot spots with elevated levels of copper have been discovered” in an area on the Queensland-Northern Territory border.

The new discovery lies between the areas’ two major resource hubs – Tennant Creek in the NT and Mt Isa in Queensland.

“The region between them is a vast prospective exploration frontier that has been largely unexplored,” federal mining minister Matt Canavan said.

“Surface soil samples were collected at 776 sites in this region and analysed for their metal content. The data reveals new potential for elements such as copper, zinc and nickel.”

Copper is a crucial material in building and construction but its use in electric cars and charging infrastructure is increasingly driving demand.

Within ten years total copper consumption in all types of electric vehicles could account for 5 per cent of the global market.

>> Scroll down for a list of ASX copper small caps and their one-year share price performance

Nickel juniors are also enjoying increased investor attention after the price of the steel-making and battery commodity recently hit four-year highs.

The ASX small caps that could benefit

Here are some players who have projects near the Queensland and Northern Territory border — compiled by leading ASX data provider MakCorp. Read more about MakCorp here.

Mt Isa

Aeon Metals (ASX:AML), which has a market cap of about $214 million, is largely focused on its Walford Creek copper and cobalt project that is located further north in Queensland near the border with the Northern Territory.

However, the company also has interests in the Constance Range and the Isa North, West and South copper projects, which are all located in the Mt Isa region.

Much larger copper producer Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR), which is worth around $1.3 billion, has a large exploration landholding of 2400 sq km in the eastern succession of the Mt Isa region.

Sandfire’s projects in the region include the Altia Project – a joint venture with Minotaur Exploration (ASX:MEP) to earn up to 80 per cent, as well as the wholly owned Breena Plains, Cannington West, Black Rock and Kennedy Highway projects.

Cloncurry

Canada’s Copper Mountain Mining (ASX:C6C), recently picked up the Eva copper and gold project in Cloncurry by taking over Altona Mining.

Copper Mountain, which is now listed on the ASX at a value of $56 million, says it has the largest mineral tenure position in the northwest Queensland region with an area of 3970 sq km.

Cloncurry is home to several large mines including Swiss heavyweight Glencore’s Mount Isa and Ernest Henry copper mines.

Tennant Creek

On the Northern Territory side is Blaze International (ASX:BLZ), which counts well-known mining personalities Tolga Kumova and Klaus Eckhof as its strategic advisors.

Blaze, which has a market cap of $11 million, can earn an 80 per cent interest in the Barkly copper and gold project located around 30km east of the town of Tennant Creek.

Emmerson Resources (ASX:ERM), meanwhile, is exploring and producing in Tennant Creek.

While the $37 million company has started small-scale production from its Edna Beryl gold mine, the broader Tennant Creek project is also very prospective for copper.

In April, Emmerson revealed it had uncovered grades of up to 11.4 per cent copper at its Jasper Hills prospect. Over 1.5 per cent copper is generally considered high-grade.

Copper part of the EV revolution

While copper is used in building and construction, it is also used in electric car batteries, solar panels and mobile phones.

Copper demand from the growing electric vehicle market is set to jump from 185,000 tonnes currently to around 1.1 million tonnes by 2025.

Within 10 years total copper consumption in all types of electric vehicles could account for 5 per cent of the global market.

There is also a supply deficit looming with existing mines at full capacity, declining grades and a shortage of new projects coming into production.

Here is a list of ASX small caps with exposure to copper — and their share price performance over the past year:

ASX code Company One- year price change Price May 11, 2018 Price May 11, 2017 Market Cap
CDU CUDECO (suspended) 91.1568627451 23.5 0.255 92.7M
KRC KING RIVER COPPE 17 0.09 0.005 103.1M
GWR GWR GROUP 5.06060606061 0.2 0.033 51.8M
VRX VENTNOR RESOURCES (suspended) 3.78571428571 0.067 0.014 --
TAR TARUGA GOLD 3.70588235294 0.24 0.051 27.6M
TNO TANDO RESOURCES (listed Aug 2017) 3.65 0.93 0.2 32.9M
RIE RIEDEL RESOURCES 3.11764705882 0.07 0.017 30.1M
ODM ODIN METALS 2.83333333333 0.23 0.06 36.9M
BPL BROKEN HILL PROS 2.71428571429 0.13 0.035 19.9M
AIS AERIS RESOURCES 2.55555555556 0.16 0.045 44.8M
AL8 ALDERAN RESOURCE (Jun 2017) 2.25 0.65 0.2 75.7M
PEX PEEL MINING 2.07692307692 0.6 0.195 110.4M
RXM REX MINERALS 1.98245614035 0.17 0.057 38.6M
BBX BBX MINERALS 1.91666666667 0.21 0.072 74.2M
AQD AUSQUEST 1.72727272727 0.03 0.011 15.2M
SVY STAVELY MINERALS 1.52173913043 0.29 0.115 43.3M
ARE ARGONAUT RESOURC 1.5 0.02 0.008 34.2M
STM SUNSTONE METALS 1.30769230769 0.03 0.013 36.5M
MZM MONTEZUMA MINING 1.15384615385 0.28 0.13 24.2M
LSR LODESTAR MINERAL 1 0.02 0.01 16.7M
NML NAVARRE MINERALS 0.891891891892 0.07 0.037 22.4M
AUQ ALARA RESOURCES 0.875 0.03 0.016 14.5M
ORN ORION MINERALS 0.739130434783 0.04 0.023 50.3M
SCI SILVER CITY MINE 0.739130434783 0.04 0.023 9.8M
AVB AVANCO RESOURCES 0.7 0.17 0.1 417.8M
ELT ELEMENTOS 0.666666666667 0.01 0.006 9.0M
IGO INDEPENDENCE GRP 0.582802547771 4.97 3.14 2.9B
OZL OZ MINERALS 0.567526555387 10.33 6.59 3.1B
HIG HIGHLANDS PAC 0.5 0.09 0.06 81.7M
HNR HANNANS 0.428571428571 0.02 0.014 31.6M
WKT WALKABOUT RESOUR 0.428571428571 0.1 0.07 22.3M
SFR SANDFIRE RESOURC 0.424870466321 8.25 5.79 1.3B
RIO RIO TINTO 0.407854984894 83.88 59.58 133.5B
BHP BHP BILLITON 0.405084745763 33.16 23.6 167.8B
MLX METALS X 0.392592592593 0.94 0.675 541.6M
RVR RED RIVER RESOUR 0.35 0.27 0.2 134.7M
NZC NZURI COPPER 0.347826086957 0.31 0.23 77.0M
SUM SUMATRA COPP-CDI 0.333333333333 0.02 0.015 68.3M
FEL FE 0.304347826087 0.03 0.023 11.9M
HGO HILLGROVE RESOUR 0.285714285714 0.09 0.07 50.6M
FND FINDERS RESOURCE 0.257142857143 0.22 0.175 173.5M
AIV ACTIVEX 0.25 0.15 0.12 26.6M
RLC REEDYAGOON 0.25 0.02 0.016 7.2M
AVQ AXIOM MINING 0.2 0.15 0.125 62.0M
BOA BOADICEA RESOURC 0.15 0.23 0.2 11.9M
AZY ANTIPA MINERALS 0.111111111111 0.02 0.018 17.6M
AUC AUSGOLD 0.111111111111 0.03 0.027 19.0M
ARD ARGENT MINERALS 0.0714285714286 0.03 0.028 12.0M
CSE COPPER STRIKE 0.0666666666667 0.24 0.225 25.6M
GPR GEOPACIFIC RESOU 0.0526315789474 0.04 0.038 66.7M
TMX TERRAIN MINERALS 0 0.01 0.01 4.5M
KGL KGL RESOURCES 0 0.38 0.38 91.1M
SVM SOVEREIGN METALS 0 0.11 0.11 29.1M
HCH HOT CHILI 0 0.03 0.03 21.0M
SGQ ST GEORGE MINING 0 0.14 0.14 36.2M
CVV CARAVEL MINERALS -0.0277777777778 0.07 0.072 10.4M
MEP MINOTAUR EXPLORA -0.041095890411 0.07 0.073 17.7M
XAM XANADU MINES -0.2 0.16 0.2 106.0M
PNN PEPINNINIITHIU -0.2 0.02 0.025 12.1M
TLM TALISMAN MINING -0.236363636364 0.21 0.275 39.9M
BYH BRYAH RESOURCES (listed Oct 2017) -0.25 0.15 0.2 8.5M
MOD MOD RESOURCES -0.259259259259 0.04 0.054 94.9M
RDM RED METAL -0.272727272727 0.12 0.165 25.2M
SRI SIPA RESOURCES -0.285714285714 0.01 0.014 8.8M
KLH KALIA -0.285714285714 0.01 0.014 18.3M
PNX PNX METALS -0.333333333333 0.01 0.015 12.0M
MGV MUSGRAVE MINERAL -0.333333333333 0.06 0.09 17.0M
RTG RTG MINING-CDI -0.333333333333 0.12 0.18 23.1M
GTE GREAT WESTERN EX -0.333333333333 0.01 0.015 12.0M
SMD SYNDICATED METAL -0.411764705882 0.01 0.017 5.1M
BOC BOUGAINVILLE COP -0.425 0.23 0.4 84.2M
SUH SOUTHERN HEMISPH -0.450549450549 0.05 0.091 4.3M
BUX BUXTON RESOURCES -0.481481481481 0.14 0.27 14.4M
AMG AUSMEX MINING GR -0.5 0.04 0.08 16.6M
COY COPPERMOLY -0.545454545455 0.01 0.022 15.2M
CZN CORAZON MINING -0.565217391304 0.01 0.023 12.7M
FNT FRONTIER RESOURC -0.6 0.01 0.025 1.3M
HDY HARDEY RESOURCES -0.62962962963 0.01 0.027 8.0M
CRB CARBINE RESOURCE -0.647058823529 0.03 0.085 5.6M
HAV HAVILAH RESOURCE -0.649737302977 0.2 0.571 41.5M
RCP REDBANK COPPER -0.666666666667 0.02 0.06 2.8M
TAS TASMAN RESOURCES -0.675675675676 0.06 0.185 25.4M
IVR INVESTIGATOR RES -0.722222222222 0.01 0.036 8.9M

 

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