Tungsten and lithium play Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM) is off to a running start on its first day on the ASX with drilling already underway at its Khao Soon tungsten project in Thailand.

The company listed on the ASX after raising $4.28m through an initial public offering priced at 20c per share.

Shares in the company closed down 2.5 per cent to 19.5c on its first day of trade.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used primarily for the exploration and evaluation of its assets, which consist of Khao San along with the Bang Now and Reung Kiet lithium projects in southern Thailand within the South East Asian Tin-Tungsten belt.

Besides containing some of the largest historical tin producing districts in the world, this belt also hosts specialty metals such as tungsten, tantalum, niobium, rare earths and kaolin clay.

The company also holds the Minter tungsten project in New South Wales’ Lachlan Fold Belt.

Pan Asia is focused primarily on its Thai assets, with managing director Paul Lock noting that that balance sheet requirements are expected to be much less demanding due to the low-cost environments and proximity to advanced industrial centres in Thailand and Malaysia.

The company also flagged that it was continuing to develop its target generation program that could see it acquire additional assets that fit its criteria, which includes those with the potential to be positioned at the lower third of the cost curve.

This fulfills its business model of developing its key assets while building a pipeline of future project opportunities.


Thai tungsten play

Khao Soon is a historical tungsten producer and is one of the company’s two key assets that it has been exploring since 2014.

Work to date has produced a drill supported exploration target of between 15 million and 29 million tonnes at 0.2 per cent to 0.4 per cent tungsten, though it noted that this was conceptual in nature.

Drilling is currently underway to test induced polarisation targets associated with strong tungsten in soil anomalies that are proximal to tungsten mineralisation in laterite and local tungsten mineralisation in bedrock.

Pan Asia’s ultimate aim is to convert its exploration target into a resource.


Other Thai projects

The company also plans to start drilling in the coming months at the Reung Kiet and Bang Now projects.

The Reung Kiet lithium project, which is the company’s other key asset, is situated in a region of previous large-scale tin mining.

Exploration by the company has discovered lepidolite (lithium-rich mica) occurring in pegmatites over a combined strike length of 2.5km.

Soil, rock-chip and trench sampling have generally defined consistent high grades across good widths while initial diamond drilling has also resulted in some encouraging intersections.

Several prospects are planned for immediate drilling while initial metallurgical test work results are very positive.

Bang Now is also a historical mining area where lepidolite-rich pegmatites were mined for tin.

Exploration is at a very early stage with work to date defining potential for a lithium-rich pegmatite dyke swarm around 2km long and 400m wide, with individual dykes up to 2m wide.

Rock chip sampling indicates consistent high lithium grades within numerous narrow dykes.

Further mapping and sampling are required prior to drill targeting.


Australian tungsten play

Past explorers at Minter have defined broad areas of elevated tungsten in soil sampling and mostly shallow follow-up drilling.

However, more recent diamond drilling and mapping indicate that all previous drilling has been very poorly oriented to adequately test the mineralisation.

Pan Asia plans to conduct appropriately directed drilling to address this issue.

The company added that while the project did not directly fit its strategy, it represented a potential source of tungsten concentrate to feed future South East Asia-based downstream processing operations.