Alkane Resources has hired experienced miner David Woodall to help bring its large, long-stalled Dubbo speciality metals project into production.

$530m market cap Alkane Resources (ASX:ALK) is stretching itself pretty thin, in a good way.

The cornerstone, low cost Tomingley gold operation in NSW just got a lot bigger thanks to recent near mine discoveries like Roswell and San Antonio.

There’s its very high profile Boda discovery at the North Molong Porphyry project – a true companymaker which has turned the region upside down.

Numerous explorers are now fossicking around looking for Boda 2.0.

Finally, there’s the long-stalled Dubbo speciality metals project, which Alkane began working on back in the 90s.

The Dubbo project has a very large in-ground resource of zirconium, hafnium, niobium, tantalum, yttrium and rare earths.

Alkane calls it “the most advanced polymetallic project of its kind outside China”.

All major government approvals are in place and the ~$800m project is awaiting financing to proceed to construction.

Basically, Alkane has sat on the large ‘shovel ready’ rare earths project waiting for prices and sentiment to improve; which they have.

READ: Heavy rare earths prices are due some hefty gains in 2020, says Lynas

In October, Alkane said it was looking to spin out this long-stalled project into an ASX-listed vehicle called Australian Strategic Materials to give this asset the investor attention it deserves.

Today, the appointment of experienced mining exec David Woodall as managing director is the next step towards that goal.

Across a 30-year career Woodall has been accountable for operations at one of Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) largest mines and implemented processes across mines in PNG, Indonesia, and Cote d’Ivoire that delivered over $600m in cost savings and efficiency improvements, the company says.

A decision on the demerger is expected in the first half of 2020.

The stock — which is up 370 per cent over the past 12 months — moved about 7 per cent higher in morning trade.


In other ASX tech metals news:

Explorer Mali Lithium (ASX:MLL) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a company called CIM to transport spodumene concentrate 1000km from the Goulamina lithium project in Mali to the port of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire.

MOUs aren’t usually legally binding by the way, it’s just a signal that the two parties are now working towards a more formal contract.

CIM operates a big truck fleet which already transports cement products from Abidjan to the Malian capital of Bamako regularly.

The trucks mostly return to Abidjan empty, Mali Lithium says, passing along the sealed highway that runs within 10km of the Goulamina project site.

“The company is building a strong network of partnerships in West Africa in the lead-up to the publication of the Goulamina definitive feasibility study (DFS) and this MOU with CIM is another good example,” Mali Lithium managing director Chris Evans says.

READ: The Explorers — Chris Evans on pitfalls, project development and that 100m tonne Mali resource


Advanced high purity alumina play Alpha HPA (ASX:A4N) has also inked an MOU with Orica Australia for ‘reagent’ supply and by-product offtake.

Alpha’s Gladstone-based HPA First project requires two key chemical reagents, which are recycled inside the production process and then sold back to the supplier.

The company says pricing over an indicative 20-year term “compares favourably” with pre-feasibility study pricing assumptions.

READ: High purity alumina demand is far larger than analysts predicted


Gold-focused tiddler Metalicity (ASX:MCT) is selling a 1 per cent net smelter return (NSR) lithium royalty for $200,000 to fund exploration at the Kookynie gold project in WA.

This royalty — which would give the holder a small slice of revenues from any future production — was retained from the sale of lithium tenements to major miner SQM.

The cash will come in handy. Metalicity had just $255,000 in the bank at the end of the December quarter, with estimated outflows for the March quarter of $220,000.


Blackearth Minerals’ (ASX:BEM) graphite is suitable for lithium ion batteries, independent testing shows.

These test results are an important part of the end-user qualification process and ultimately offtake agreements, Blackearth managing director Tom Revy says.

“BlackEarth is currently continuing offtake discussions and look forward to updating the market further,” he says.

READ: Demand for Madagascan large flake graphite is red-hot