Venture Minerals Approved for Thor Drilling

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Venture Minerals (ASX: VMS) has been granted approval to drill at the company’s Thor VMS (Volcanogenic Massive Sulfides) prospect in Western Australia.

Venture Minerals said it had designated Thor as a ‘priority VMS drill target’ due to its scale, geochemical and geophysical signature and its proximity to a VMS style, massive sulfide body containing copper, lead and zinc that had previously been identified at the neighbouring Kingsley prospect by Teck.

Venture’s Thor-focussed maiden drill program is to initially consist of three drill holes and has received co-funding from the Western Australian State Government.

Besides Thor, Venture has identified a further five priority VMS targets extending over a combined strike of 10 kilometres.

Two of these targets are coincident geochemical and EM anomalies like Thor while the other three targets contain anomalous copper and zinc values and exhibit a very similar geochemical response to the main Thor anomaly.

The company has recently secured the northern extension of the Thor target with up to an additional 14 strike kilometres of prospective VMS host unit within the new tenement application.

“Knowing that VMS deposits often occur within a cluster, positions the company well to replicate the success by Teck but at a much greater scale and not just once but with the added option to make repeated discoveries,” Venture Minerals managing director Andrew Radonjic said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.





Draig Resources Hits Further High-Grade Gold Results at Tribune

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Draig Resources reported further exploration results from the company’s Tribune gold discovery in Western Australia.

Draig Resource’s recent drilling focused on preparing for a maiden resource estimate and the commencement of work to follow up DHEM target plates from the first pass exploration holes.

The recent work has identified new high-grade ore shoots, from which the company has upgraded the overall exploration potential of the strike extension.

Recently received results included:

4.4 metres at 13.5 grams per tonne gold from 306m downhole (NEW SHOOT POSITION identified from DHEM);

4.2m at 3.6g/t gold 313m downhole (NEW SHOOT POSITION identified from DHEM);

9.5m at 5g/t gold from 324.5m downhole, including 2.6m at 12.7g/t gold from 326.5m (NEW SHOOT POSITION identified from DHEM);

4.1m at 6g/t gold from 92.5m downhole;

2.3m at 8.2g/t gold from 53.7m and 0.3m at 31.8g/t gold from 64.9m and 2m at 9.3g/t gold from 92m downhole; and

2m at 6.7 g/t gold 198m downhole.

Draig also carried out scout drilling 160 metres to the north of the current drill grid with two holes completed, both of which encountered Tribune style shearing and veins.

Results for these holes are pending, and while the intersections don’t contain sulphide mineralisation of note, follow up DHEM has indicated a number of highly conductive plates as off hole conductors.

This has resulted in several shallow and high priority drill targets which the company anticipates testing in coming weeks.

“This recent drilling and DHEM has indicated the high-grade mineralisation at Tribune is still very much open in every direction and we continue to be impressed with the robustness of the drill intersections,” Draig Resources executive director Steve Parsons said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The Western Corridor is shaping up to be a very significant discovery for the company.

“We look forward to updating the market on the results of the next phase of step-out and EM drilling at Tribune, deeper drilling, preliminary metallurgical testwork and the maiden resource estimate over the coming months.”

Draig explained it is currently updating the geological model at Tribune with the latest drilling and is completing the next phase of the DHEM surveying with further drilling expected to resume with an RC rig and two DD rigs in the coming weeks targeting extensions of known high grade gold mineralisation and infilling the shallow portion of the discovery ready for future economic extraction study work.

“The company sees significant potential of the Western Corridor to host additional mineralised Lodes highlighted by historical DHEM data,” Parsons continued.

“The company will be commencing a co-funded deep EIS hole as part of a deeper drilling program to target repeat mineralisation behind the Western Shear and below the historic Bellevue underground mine workings.”





Global Geoscience Completes Rhyolite Ridge PFS Phase 1

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) has completed the first phase of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Global Geoscience said the critical trade-off studies it conducted for the PFS had demonstrated a clear path forward for the project while highlighting the potential for Rhyolite Ridge to be a major, low-cost producer of lithium and boron in an environmentally sustainable manner that uses self-generated, zero-carbon power and minimises both water usage and surface disturbance.

Trade-off studies completed as Phase 1 of the PFS included Vat Leaching resulting in this being the preferred leaching method.

The study found it provides a more controlled leach environment with higher concentrations of lithium and boron into the pregnant leach solution (PLS).

Less evaporation of the PLS is required because of the higher initial concentrations, resulting in fewer mechanical evaporators and lower power consumption.

The upshot is materially lower capital and operating costs compared to alternative leaching techniques.

Global Geoscience claims Rhyolite Ridge as a global front-runner to become the first mine to recover lithium using the proven and well understood vat leaching method.

An on-site acid plant has been selected as the source of sulphuric acid providing substantially lower sulphuric acid cost estimated at $20 to 30 per tonne including credit for steam and power generation used in the operation.

“Sulphuric acid is an important economic driver for the project, and the combination of vat leaching together with an on-site acid plant will substantially lower the cost of acid, thus reducing the overall operating costs,” Global Geoscience managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“An acid plant will produce large amounts of steam that can be used for heating in the processing plant and for generation of electricity via steam-driven turbines with excess power available for selling into the grid.

“Steam produced from the acid plant negates the high input costs normally associated with mechanical evaporation.

“Vat leaching, coupled with mechanical evaporation, produces the most concentrated pregnant leach solution with consistent composition, thus simplifying downstream processing.

“With the critical trade-off analysis completed, the PFS is on track to be completed in mid-2018 with the outcomes scheduled to be released in Q3 2018.”




Saturn Metals Defines Higher Grades at Apollo Hill

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Saturn Metals (ASX: STN) reported encouraging near-surface drill intersections from recent RC drilling undertaken at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Apollo Hill gold project, near Leonora in the Western Australian goldfields.

Saturn Metals explained the drilling focused along higher grade structural zones or shoots (Armstrong and Eagle Shoots) within the main Apollo Hill deposit, which has a 0.5 million-ounce JORC 2012-compliant inferred gold resource of 17.2 million tonnes at 0.9 grams per tonne gold.

The company said the results improved the geological continuity of those higher-grade zones within the resource, highlighting the potential to increase the overall grade of the known mineralised system.

Better results returned in the latest batch of assays included:

12 metres at 2.8 grams per tonne gold from 4m, including 3m at 8.8g/t gold from 13m within 31m at 1.12g/t gold from 1m;

11m at 2.5g/t gold from 1m, including 8m at 3.3g/t gold from 16m;

20m at 2.5g/t gold from 52m, and 11m at 2.28g/t gold from 84m within 100m at 1.01g/t gold from 7m; and

16m at 2.75g/t gold from 8m;

The drilling also extended the Armstrong and Eagle Shoots practically to surface and demonstrated the down-plunge continuity of the Armstrong Shoot, which remains open at depth with current drilling hitting only to 180m vertical depth.

By drilling in alternate directions, Saturn has found it is able to better visualise and target these shoots, which it has determined to be characterised by zones of increased vein density, alteration and deformation.

The company has identified and modelled several similar shoots that require further drill testing.

“We continue to be extremely pleased with the results at Apollo Hill,” Saturn Metals managing director Ian Bamborough said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The new data has provided further evidence of the higher-grade architecture within the large Apollo Hill gold system.

“We look forward to having a good look at the mineralised system in diamond core when drilling commences shortly.

“All results will be incorporated into our next resource estimation, which is planned for mid to late 2018.”





Azure Minerals Commences Oposura Resource Estimate

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Azure Minerals (ASX: AZS) received the final assay results from a resource drill-out program undertaken on the East Zone at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Oposura zinc-lead-silver project in Mexico.

Azure Minerals said that having completed the drilling and subsequent results it has started the mineral resource estimate for the Oposura project.

Assays received from final East Zone resource drill holes, include:

12.25 metres at 16.3 per cent zinc plus lead (Zn+Pb) (12.4 per cent zinc and 3.9 per cent lead)

3.2m at 20.9 per cent Zn+Pb (13 per cent zinc and 8 per cent lead);

2.95m at 17.9 per cent Zn+Pb (10.3 per cent zinc and 7.7 per cent lead); and

2.50m at 27.2 per cent Zn+Pb (24.8 per cent zinc and 2.4 per cent lead).

Azure has previously noted, high-grade mineralisation located immediately adjacent to existing underground development of Tunnel D at the project, which is approximately 2m wide and 2.5m high.

The company believes this tunnel could easily be stripped to accommodate modern mechanised mining equipment and that pre-production mine capital costs under this scenario would also be very low.

The latest results have confirmed a large zone of thick, high-grade mineralisation, with an overall average grade approaching 20 per cent combined Zn+Pb adjacent to and extending north and south of the existing underground exploratory mine workings of Tunnel D.

“It is pleasing that the assay results from the final drilling into the East Zone at Oposura identified additional high-grade mineralisation close to the existing underground mine tunnels,” Azure Minerals managing director Tony Rovira said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The extra drilling that the company undertook into the East Zone has also significantly improved our understanding of the geometry of the deposit, enabling more detailed mine planning to be undertaken.

“These results provide the company with scheduling optionality for early stage open pit and/or underground mining.”




Lithium Australia Claims Medcalf Lithium Discovery

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) declared identification of lithium pegmatite swarms at Medcalf, part of the company’s Lake Johnson project in the lithium-prospective Yilgarn Block of Western Australia.

The region is host to other major lithium deposits such as Earl Grey (Kidman Resources and SQM) Mt Marion (NeoMetals, Gangfeng and Mineral Resources) and Mt Cattlin (Galaxy).

Lithium Australia noted all of these deposits, as well as Medcalf and Lithium Australia’s nearby Mt Day prospect, have similar geological features whereas the pegmatites emanate from nearby fertile granites and are injected into adjacent greenstones.

Lithium Australia made the Medcalf discovery via an initial geological reconnaissance program it conducted after interpretation of aerial photographs highlighted the potential for multiple pegmatites in 2017.

Outcropping pegmatites were identified at Medcalf during subsequent field inspections in April 2018 and subsequent geological mapping, and sampling confirmed some of these pegmatites as LCT (lithium, caesium, tantalum) types.

Pegmatite swarms containing spodumene mineralisation outcrop in a zone of some 100 metres by 50 metres in area, within a larger area of pegmatites of 250m wide by 500 metres long.

The company acknowledged that the initial rock-chip samples are prospective with grades ranging from 3.07 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) up to 4.78 per cent Li2O and one spodumene only specimen sample grading 7.15 per cent Li2O.

LIT completed a field inspection that identified a pegmatite swarm centred upon the highest hill in the area, where at least five pegmatites were located, and all containing spodumene.

The company described the prospect area to have moderate to low topographic relief and potential exists for additional pegmatites under cover with the main target area it visited containing pegmatites presenting as a dyke swarm comprised of numerous pegmatites in a zone about 250m wide and at least 500m long.

Outcrops of individual pegmatites range from about 2m to 10m in width and 50m to 150m in length. The pegmatites appear to dip at moderate to steep angles towards the southwest and appear to have true-thicknesses of about 5m and are relatively close together with only a few metres separating individual pegmatites.

“The occurrence of LCT pegmatites adjacent to granites at Medcalf has regional geological significance,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The pegmatites occur in the same greenstone sequence that abuts the same granite complex at Lithium Australia’s Mt Day prospect, 45 kilometres to the north-east.

“Both locations have significant lithium mineralisation and there is good potential for locating further LCT pegmatites below cover, within the Lake Johnson project area.”





Musgrave Minerals Encouraged by Cue Project Regional Drilling

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Musgrave Minerals (ASX: MGV) reported the first results from drilling underway at the company’s Cue gold project in the Murchison region of Western Australia.

Musgrave Minerals has the results for the first 35 drill holes of the current 110 drill hole program that is testing 10 new high priority gold targets at the project.

The 10 high priority targets occur along a 20-kilometre-long prospective gold corridor that hosts the project’s Break of Day and Lena gold resources.

Break of Day:
868,000 tonnes at 7.15 grams per tonne gold for 199,000 ounces of gold.

2.682 million tonnes at 1.77g/t gold for 153,000 ounces of gold.

Musgrave identified the new targets by way of a recently completed regional gravity survey with existing aeromagnetic data, historical broad spaced aircore drilling and surface geochemistry.

The first batch of assays from the aircore/RC drilling program at Cue returned strong results from two new targets: Break of Day North and Lake Austin North.

Musgrave said the results highlight possible northern extension to the Break of Day mineralisation.

At Break of Day North hole 18MORC010 intersected 1 metre at 8.3g/t gold from only 4m depth, 200m north of the current resource.

Musgrave explained the intersection brings focus to 300m of previously untested strike potential for the Break of Day high-grade gold system.

Follow-up drilling is planned in the current program.

Results from the first drill holes at the Lake Austin North have identified a large regolith hosted gold halo, including:

21m at 0.78g/t gold from 118m to end of hole, including 6m at 2.2g/t gold from 118m;

24m at 0.54g/t gold from 98m, including 6m at 1.9g/t gold from 98m;

54m at 0.22g/t gold from 70m; and

18m at 0.20g/t gold from 94m.

These wide zones of near-surface gold mineralisation extend over one kilometre in length.

Musgrave considers they may be indicative of a higher-grade gold source in fresh rock.

Mineralisation is still open, and drilling is continuing at Lake Austin North to target the source of the gold halos.

“These initial results are extremely encouraging and have identified a potential extension to the high-grade gold mineralisation at Break of Day and a large regolith gold halo at Lake Austin North,” Musgrave Minerals managing director Rob Waugh said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Both areas are potentially significant with the Break of Day north intersection only 200 metres from the northern edge of the current high-grade gold resource and the Lake Austin North target confirming significant thicknesses of regolith gold mineralisation over a large area in a structurally favourable position and on a favourable lithological contact.

“The project hosts a very prospective greenstone belt in a well-endowed region with good infrastructure and numerous operating gold plants.

“The focus of this drilling is to discover another high-grade Great Fingal-style gold deposit.

“We look forward to completing the remainder of the drill program and reporting further results that will follow.”





AMEC Champions Local Battery Metal Industry Development

COMMODITY CAPERS: The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies has taken a front foot approach to encouraging State and Federal government participation in development of the Western Australia lithium industry.

The lobby group hopes its proactive stance on the issue will inspire State and Federal governments of all persuasions to do the same, rather than be reactive, while the global demand for lithium as a vital element of the global electric vehicle revolution is in a relatively embryonic stage.

AMEC pointed out that Western Australia mines 60 per cent of the world’s lithium and produces all the other minerals necessary to construct batteries, which it considers to be a genuine industry opportunity for Australia, and for Western Australia.

AMEC has released a follow-up report to its Future Smart Strategies Report from earlier this year saying that WA could become a leader in the downstream processing of battery minerals, which it believes could be worth $2 trillion by 2025.

In its The Path Forward: Supporting the development of a lithium and battery mineral industry in Australia report, AMEC has outlined the next steps it believes the State and Federal Government should be taking to make the most of this battery mineral processing and manufacturing potential.

“There is a two-year window for industry and both tiers of Government to act, this plan steps through what needs to be done to get further down the value chain,” AMEC chief executive officer Warren Pearce said.

“There is a clear need for both tiers of Government to provide leadership in the development of a domestic battery industry.

“A clear signal from Government has to be sent to attract investment to Australia.

“There must be a willingness to clearly plan and coordinate where a battery industry would be located, and deliberate efforts made to entice international companies to come and set up in Australia.”

The AMEC report outlines the importance of attracting an international battery producer to Western Australia to firmly establish Australia’s position in the global battery supply chain.

Currently technology and intellectual property for processing high-grade lithium hydroxide, and undertake further battery cathode development, is held by a tight enclave of companies based within the Asia region, primarily in Japan, South Korea, China, with others scattered around the European Union and the United States.

They also have well-established markets for their products that are generally earmarked for the burgeoning electric vehicle, computer screen, and phone manufacturing sectors.

“The necessary battery materials need to be readily accessible to make the decision to invest in Western Australia attractive,” the report says.

“This makes a concentrated single hub preferable, as it will help provide critical mass.

“While not all the precursors need to be domestically produced, there are obvious advantages if the majority are.

“A preliminary focus of engagement must be on ensuring Australia attracts the companies developing precursor materials.

“The next step is attracting the international companies that combine the precursor materials, make cathodes and eventually assemble batteries.

“A strategic approach is needed.

“We cannot wait for these countries and companies to come to us.

“We cannot expect them to understand the opportunities available in Australia; we must make the case.”

The argument hasn’t been lost on Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston.

Addressing the recent Paydirt Latin America Down Under Conference in Perth, Johnston highlighted the growing opportunities coming out of the emerging battery materials sector for both Western Australia and, due to the subject matter of the conference, South America.

Johnston said there was a genuine opportunity for WA to reap the rewards of the growing scale of the battery materials industry.

“We have the resources in the ground, we have the capacities and the technologies, and we believe with careful partnership between government and investors we can get a genuine long-term processing industry,” he told the conference.

“And indeed, given those in the successful industries in Argentina and Chile and elsewhere, there’s many things we can learn from our friends in Latin America so that we are all successful in this new industry.”

Johnston said one advantage held by Australia, and WA especially, was the greater expectations the discussion was placing on the establishment for local supply chains.

“The fact that we have very high standards in WA is now a competitive advantage for operators in this state,” he said.

“We can go to end users of materials and make the point that we can guarantee the environmental impact and social impact of projects in WA that may not be able to be done in other jurisdictions.

“It is our relationships with indigenous people, our high environmental standards, our health and safety standards, and our work and labour standards.

“These are all now competitive advantages in these types of supply chains.”

It’s not as if this is suddenly a new thing.

The AMEC report acknowledged the number of battery minerals and processing research activities and projects already underway

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Perth is preparing a detailed report for consideration by the Federal Government that outlines the advantages of developing a ‘lithium valley’ in Australia.

The Silicon Valley reference is cute, but it the report is serious in outlining the development of a focussed lithium processing and battery minerals hub.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia commissioned a Business Case looking at investment in Western Australia for lithium and battery minerals aimed at determining the economics of developing a lithium battery industry in Australia.

The WA State Government, WA Universities and industry have combined to support a bid for a New Energy Industry Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) bid for Energy Minerals to support ongoing research into the potential of battery minerals development and processing and will further enhance the long-term development and attractiveness of the industry.

“Each breakthrough in technology and innovation could drive Australia further down the cost curve, further down the value chain, or both,” the AMEC report concluded.

“State and Federal Government backing of the New Energy Industry CRC bid will support initial academic and industry funding to grow a domestic research capacity to support a battery minerals industry in Australia.”


The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC)




Corazon Mining Produces Battery-Grade Cobalt at Mt Gilmore

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Corazon Mining (ASX: CZN) has completed metallurgical testwork at the company’s Mount Gilmore cobalt-copper-gold project in New South Wales.

Corazon Mining said the Phase 3 metallurgical testwork at the Mount Gilmore project delivered a high-grade cobalt concentrate with the potential to supply the emerging global battery technology sector.

The company explained the Phase 3 metallurgical testwork focused on defining down-stream concentrate processing options, the results from which demonstrated exceptional recovery rates of cobalt, copper and gold from drill samples from the Cobalt Ridge deposit, using conventional processing routes.

Conventional flotation testwork delivered a high-grade cobalt-copper-gold concentrate – of up to 7.38 per cent cobalt – from high-grade Cobalt Ridge samples, as well as excellent concentrate grades from lower low-grade samples.

Corazon said the combination of high-grade concentrates and very high recoveries delivered in the testwork provides it with the opportunity to potentially either produce a high-value bulk concentrate for direct sale, or to develop an in-house down-stream processing plant.

“The mineralisation at Cobalt Ridge has several beneficial characteristics,” Corazon Mining said in its ASX announcement.

“A key advantage for the processing is the sulphide mineralisation, which allows for a smaller sulphide/metal concentrate to be produced prior to down-stream processing.

“This would likely significantly reduce the capital and operating costs of a down-stream plant, compared to having to process a bulk feed.

“The company has continued to undertake systematic testwork programs on mineralisation from the Mt Gilmore project in parallel with its ongoing exploration activities.

“The testwork programs are designed to confirm the suitability of the project’s mineralisation to produce a high-quality product(s) for use in the battery technology sector.”





Venture Minerals Raising $2.5 Million

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Venture Minerals (ASX: VMS) declared it has received commitments to raise $2.5 million in a two-tranche placement.

Venture Minerals said the issue of 85.1 million shares at three cents per share had received strong demand from new and existing Australian and international investors.

The placement will take form in two tranches.

In Tranche 1 around 60.48 million ordinary shares will be issued to raise total gross proceeds of approximately $1.8 million.

This is expected to be completed by 25 May 2018.

Under Tranche 2 around 24.65 million ordinary shares will be issued to raise total gross proceeds of approximately $739,585.

These shares will be issued subject to shareholder approval at a General Meeting to be held late June 2018

In its ASX announcement, Venture Minerals said the proceeds of the raising will fund future drilling and exploration programs with the focus on the company’s Western Australian projects, including the Thor copper-lead-zinc prospect, the Odin nickel prospect and the Pingaring nickel-cobalt project, in addition to work on the company’s other assets and to fund ongoing working capital commitments.