Lithium Australia Readies to Pilot Test Spodumene Conversion Process

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) is ready to push the go button to pilot test the company’s LieNA® spodumene conversion process.

Lithium Australia’s self-developed LieNA® hydrometallurgical process differs to processes used by conventional converters, in that it requires no roasting, is capable of handling very fine spodumene particles and exhibits superior impurity rejection during the lithium recovery process.

In February the company received a grant under the Australian federal government’s CRC-P (Co-operative Research Centre Projects) initiative, to support the next stage of its $3.6 million research and development program for the recovery of lithium from spodumene using LieNA®.

Much of the preparatory work has now been completed, including collection of an initial test sample recovered from drill chips and bench-scale test work to characterise the flotation conditions required for pilot-plant production of concentrates from the drill chip sample, optimise caustic conversion conditions and confirm the final autoclave design specification.

“Lithium Australia’s LieNA® technology is the pinnacle for hydrometallurgical processing of spodumene, the principal hard-rock source of lithium,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“LieNA® is capable of recovering lithium from fine and/or contaminated spodumene that fails to meet the feed specifications of current converters.

“It also provides the highest levels of impurity rejection.

“It is these characteristics that set it apart.

“LieNA®, then, is designed to improve overall recovery and achieve better utilisation of existing resources: it’s about cost reduction, sustainability and maximising the benefit of our critical (and finite) resources.”









Red 5 Hits KOTH Milestones

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Red 5 Limited (ASX: RED) achieved two major milestones in the development of the company’s 2.4 million ounces King of the Hills (KOTH) gold project in Western Australia.

Red 5 has had its KOTH Mining Proposal approved by the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), being the final permit required for the restart of mining activities to proceed in 2022.

The company has also approved Phase 2 of the Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract, allowing EPC contractor, MACA Interquip (ASX: MLD), to ramp-up the mobilisation of its construction teams.

“The KOTH construction and development teams are continuing to achieve solid progress, with the overall project under budget and on track to deliver first gold production on schedule by mid-2022,” Red 5 managing director Mark Williams said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“The manufacture and delivery to Australia of all key long-lead items for the plant is also well on track, which will help to ensure that key construction and installation milestones can be achieved once construction of the plant moves into full swing in the second half of this year.

“We are very encouraged by the important milestones being achieved, and we are looking forward to the next step-up in activities during the June 2021 Quarter as the key elements of this new large, long-life Australian gold mine continue to take shape.”








AVZ Minerals Awards Manono FEED Study

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) has awarded a 12-week Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) contract in relation to the company’s Manono lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

AVZ Minerals charged Melbourne based engineering company, Mincore Pty Ltd to deliver key elements of the FEED study including to:

confirm the process flow sheet,
confirm all bulk material quantities to verify pricing, confirm selected equipment pricing,
finalisation of the execution schedule, and
provide ‘Issued for Construction’ early works drawings.

Mincore has offered to accept part payment for the FEED study in AVZ shares, which AVZ considers to demonstrate a strong vote of confidence in the viability of the Manono project.

“Progressing the design of the Manono project at this time is standard practice and has the benefit of bringing the technical design parameters to finality, thereby providing potential investors and financiers with comfort on the Manono project schedule, capital and opex costs,” AVZ managing director Nigel Ferguson said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“It will also save significant time moving forward, as the results of the FEED study will be delivered to the successful company that is awarded the process plant EPC contract.

“We are committed to progressing the Manono lithium and tin project in a timely manner and the award of this study is a big step on the pathway forward.”









Altech Chemicals to Commence German Battery Materials Coating Plant PFS

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC) by way of its 75 per cent-owned German subsidiary, Altech Industries Germany GmbH (AIG), is to commence a pre-feasibility study on the construction of a battery materials high purity alumina (HPA) coating plant in Saxony, Germany.

Altech Chemicals explained this follows the company’s strategy to focus on tailoring its high purity alumina into specialised products targeted at more efficient applications within the lithium-ion battery industry.

The AIG study will assess the commercial viability of constructing a battery materials coating plant at the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park in Saxony, Germany.

The coating plant would use Altech’s alumina coating technology to coat anode grade materials with HPA, which would be supplied to the rapidly growing European lithium-ion battery industry.

“It is contemplated that the coating plant’s HPA feedstock requirement would eventually be satisfied from Altech’s proposed Malaysian HPA plant,” Altech Chemicals said in its ASX announcemtn.

“The pre-feasibility work is set to commence in March 2021, and will be jointly funded by the AIG shareholders – Altech 75 per cent and Altech Advanced Materials AG 25 per cent.”








Encounter Resources Returns to 100% Ownership at Aileron

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Encounter Resources (ASX: ENR) has regained 100 per cent control of the Aileron IOCG-style copper-gold-rare earths project d in the West Arunta region of Western Australia.

Encounter Resources reported Newcrest Mining advised of its decision to withdraw from the Aileron joint venture and will hold no residual interest.

Newcrest completed one, 158m deep diamond drill hole (EAL001) into this unexplored belt that intersected hydrothermal hematite-altered mafic intrusions and granite with a distinctive IOCG geochemical signature under shallow cover (10m).

Assays include zones of anomalism in copper (up to 0.1% copper), gold (up to 48ppb gold) and molybdenum (up to 155ppm molybdenum).

Furthermore, highly elevated rare earth elements consistent with the targeted IOCG deposit model were identified including lanthanum up to 0.2 per cent and cerium up to 0.3 per cent.

“The first drill hole into a remote and unexplored 70 kilometres long belt, intersected zones of intense hydrothermal hematite alteration with a distinctive IOCG signature in a suite of elements including copper, gold, molybdenum and highly elevated rare earth elements,” Encounter Resources managing director Will Robinson said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“This hole has demonstrated the potential for near surface IOCG deposits in the West Arunta region under shallow cover.

“We are pleased to be back in control of Aileron and will immediately commence discussions with potential partners focused on the discovery of IOCG style copper-gold deposits, with enriched rare earth elements, in Western Australia.”








Cyprium Metals to Acquire Metals X WA Copper Assets

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Cyprium Metals (ASX: CYM) announced it is to acquire Metals X’s portfolio of Western Australian copper assets.

Cyprium Metals has entered into a Share Sale Agreement with Metals X to acquire the latter’s 100 per cent-owned entity Paterson Copper Pty Ltd, the owner of the Nifty copper mine, Maroochydore copper project and the Paterson Exploration Project, which includes a farm-in agreement with IGO Limited.

“This is a truly transformational transaction for Cyprium which provides us with an outstanding portfolio of copper projects,” Cyprium Metals executive director Barry Cahill said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“We have regularly ranked Nifty at the top of our Australia copper project acquisition target list and are delighted to have secured this as part of our quality suite of copper development projects.

“Nifty and Maroochydore are a perfect fit for the skill set of our management team, who have a track record of creating value and producing copper, as most recently demonstrated with Finders Resources at the Wetar copper project.

“With favourable market fundamentals for copper, the acquisition of this portfolio represents an outstanding opportunity to generate significant value by securing more than 1.1 million tonnes of contained copper at Nifty and Maroochydore, including significant infrastructure, as well as the extensive Paterson Exploration JV with IGO in the highly prospective Paterson Province.

“We are excited about the opportunity to execute our simplified development plan which consists of an open pit mining operation, feeding a heap leach and SX-EW processing flowsheet.

“Cash flows generated are intended to be utilised towards the development of the Maroochydore and Cyprium’s existing Murchison copper-gold projects.”

Cyprium has agreed to pay Metals X a total $60 million upon completion of the transaction, comprising an upfront cash payment of $24 million inclusive of the a$1 million deposit already paid, and convertible notes with a face value totalling $36 million.

Cyprium has received binding commitments to fund the transaction through a $90 million placement to professional and sophisticated investors.








Miramar Resources Adds Whaleshark EL to WA Portfolio

THE BOURSE WHISPER: Miramar Resources (ASX: M2R) has been granted Exploration Licence E08/3166, located 40 kilometres east of Onslow in Western Australia.

The EL contains the Whaleshark gold project that is characterised by a large folded Banded Iron Formation (BIF) complex intruded by granite and buried under approximately 100m of sediments of the northern Carnarvon Basin.

Previous exploration of the project area has been limited with a number of companies having undertaken previous exploration, providing Miramar with the belief the project may possess unrealised potential for the discovery of BIF-hosted gold and/or IOCG mineralisation.

Miramar has identified a number of key targets including a ‘pressure shadow’ to the southwest of the granite intrusion.

The company plans to conduct grid surface geochemical sampling using partial and/or selective leach analysis and, given the apparent relationship between the gold mineralisation and sulphides, examine possible options for further ground EM surveys.

Miramar will also look at the potential to conduct further gravity surveys to assist in the identification of potential IOCG targets.








Calidus Resources Consolidates Warrawoona Land Position

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Calidus Resources (ASX: CAI) has entered into a Farm-in Agreement with Nimble Resources, giving it the right to earn up to 90 per cent of a highly promising tenement (E46/1035) located about 75 kilometres from the company’s 1.5 million ounce Warrawoona gold project in Western Australia.

The tenement in question is located along strike of two geochemical trends identified on tenements immediately to the west.

“The farm-in agreement with Nimble provides Calidus with another low-cost opportunity to consolidate the company’s land position in a highly prospective region,” Calidus Resources managing director Dave Reeves said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“The Nimble ground provides Calidus with the potential to add greenfields projects to the Blue Spec satellite mining operation that will provide ore to the central Warrawoona processing facility.

“Many soil and rock-chip anomalies on the tenement have not been previously followed up with drilling.

“Fieldwork will start in earnest this calendar year.”

Under the terms of Farm-in, Calidus can at its election:

Stage 1: Earn a 25% interest with an initial minimum exploration expenditure of $75,000 within 1 year from the commencement date.

Stages 2-4: Earn a 50% interest (Stage 2 Earn In) with a further $125,000 of exploration expenditure within 2 years of the commencement date.

Stage 3: Earn a 75% interest (Stage 3 Earn In) with an additional $300,000 of exploration expenditure within 4 years of the commencement date.

Stage 4: Earn a 90% interest (Stage 4 Earn In) with a further $300,000 of exploration expenditure within 6 years of the commencement date.

Nimble will retain Alluvial Rights on the tenement.

Standard CPs apply including the extension of the term of the tenement until 2025.







Apollo Consolidated Acquires Further Rebecca Tenure

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Apollo Consolidated (ASX: AOP) has added ground to the company’s 100 per cent-owned one-million-ounce Lake Rebecca gold project east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Apollo Consolidated made the strategic purchase of an additional 1.35 square kilometres of unencumbered tenure around the 775,000 ounce Rebecca deposit to allow full operational and planning flexibility as the Company moves toward commercial studies.

The purchase brings an additional 400m to the east and 400m to the north of the Rebecca gold deposit, allowing more space for future pit design, pit infrastructure and hydrology.

The additional area will also be evaluated as part of ongoing exploration targeting and possible optimised pit extensions.

The area in question was previously part of the larger Bulletin Resources/Matsa Resources Lake Rebecca project.

The deal also involves a first right of refusal over adjoining granted exploration licences owned by Bulletin Resources and Matsa Resources.

Apollo is currently compiling all outstanding 2020 drilling results to feed into a re-estimation of Mineral Resources.








Matsa Resources Declares New Business Strategy

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Matsa Resources (ASX: MAT) woke up this morning with a brand-new lease on life and vision for the company’s Lake Carey gold project in Western Australia.

Matsa Resources has decided to grab the bull by the proverbials and delivered an outline for a new business strategy and strategic pathway centred on resource growth through a targeted exploration drive to support a proposed 100 per cent Matsa owned, 600,000 tonnes per annum treatment plant.

The Matsa Board believes that the strategy of becoming a mid-tier gold producer through exploration and construction of its own gold-ore treatment plant will create greater shareholder value and appeal.

As a result, the Board has announced its commitment to making the necessary changes to achieve this strategy.

“Since 2018, Matsa has demonstrated it has the capacity to successfully operate both open cut and underground mines,” Matsa Resources executive chairman Paul Poli said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“With that in mind, our recently completed CPC study into a 600,000 tonnes per annum facility presents a compelling case for Matsa to preserve resource tonnes for a Matsa owned treatment plant and commence an aggressive exploration program in order to substantially increase the company’s resources.

“We already have 515,000 ounces of gold resources and we fully intend to grow these through our planned exploration activities.

“We will be working through our plans at Red October in light of our recent highly successful drilling programs, and a Matsa owned treatment plant will enable us to work towards getting Fortitude and Devon into production with far more attractive project economics than were previously achievable.

“Our recent drilling at Red October, Devon, Olympic and Fortitude North, tells me that we have a great opportunity to significantly expand the company’s resources and reserves through a concentrated exploration effort.

“I am regularly reminded that our tenements in the Lake Carey area represents as some of the most attractive exploration space in the goldfields.

“We already have multiple walk up targets that are ready for drilling.

“At Red October, our geologists recently identified two new structural targets parallel to the ROSZ and Marlin lodes, each of which have the capacity to substantially alter the outlook for the mine.

“As a result of our confidence in exploration success at Red October we will need to wind down the ore production and change our focus to drilling and identifying those impressive targets and grow the reserves into a long term mine plan.

“Over the coming months our team expects to provide new targets from the seismic and SAM geophysics datasets and we will also add those to our drilling programs.

“At Devon, Olympic, Hill East and Fortitude North we are busy updating models and we’ve got some very strong gold anomalism in excess of seven kilometres along the Fortitude Fault and five kilometres long on the Bindah structural trends.

“This area remains largely unexplored and simply needs drilling and that’s what we’ll do.

“During the December quarter our geologists have worked up a comprehensive exploration and development pipeline which we intend to fully exploit.

“I’m very confident we have the tenement package and more importantly, the right people to deliver on this strategy.

“When all this is done and we have successfully executed our strategy, we will be a very different company.”