ASX-listed explorer Venture Minerals jumped 50 per cent after revealing it had “quadrupled” its landholding around a recent nickel-cobalt discovery in Western Australia.

The shares climbed 53.9 per cent to a high of 6c before cooling to 5.4c by early afternoon.

Venture (ASX:VMS) has pegged additional exploration licences around and along strike from Golden Mile Resources’ Quicksilver nickel-cobalt discovery announced earlier in November.

Venture’s shares hit a 52-week high of 7.8c just a couple of weeks ago after the company announced it had secured the Pingaring project near the Quicksilver discovery.

The electric vehicle revolution is driving substantial interest in cobalt plays, and nickel has also been tipped to make a comeback.

Venture Minerals shares over the past month. Source:
Venture Minerals shares over the past month. Source:

Cobalt is used in making rechargeable batteries for electric cars and thermally resistant super alloys for industry and aircraft engines. Demand for electric car batteries is expected to drive demand for cobalt eight-fold by 2025.

Another potential catalyst for cobalt demand is the ethical issues surrounding mining of the commodity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which hosts around half of the world’s cobalt.

If consumers boycott the purchase of cobalt from places like the DRC then there will be a gap in supply that Australia could be well placed to fill.

“That affects the branding where companies are using sources that are not ethical, if you like,” technical director Andrew Radonjic told Stockhead.

“That’s an interesting play for cobalt because that will have a big impact. That puts places like Australia even further up the ladder in terms of cobalt production. So I think it’s a pretty big step change.”

Stainless steel accounts for 70 per cent of global nickel demand — though it is also used in electric car batteries.

The new licences expand Venture’s Pingaring project to over 800 sq km. The project lies just 4km along strike to the South East of the Quicksilver discovery and hosts 145km of ultramafic targets interpreted to be the same host unit as the Quicksilver deposit.

Venture now has a dominant land position within an “emerging new nickel-cobalt province in Western Australia”, the company told investors.

Once the licences have been granted, Venture plans to start a detailed surface mapping and sampling program to define priority drill targets.