Pioneer Resources Drilling Cobalt Targets at Golden Ridge

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Pioneer Resources (ASX: PIO) has started a program of reverse circulation (RC) drilling at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Golden Ridge cobalt project, located on the Blair Dome in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields.

Pioneer Resources will carry out approximately 30 RC holes for 2,000 metres, however the company indicated additional holes may be drilled should field observations be positive.

The drill samples will be used for bench-scale test work which will focus on the hydrometallurgical extraction of cobalt.

“The drilling program will take approximately two weeks to complete and assays are expected to be to hand by the end of January 2018,” Pioneer Resources said in its ASX announcement.

Pioneer said composite samples of cobalt mineralisation encountered by the drilling will be used for first pass extraction test work.

The company noted the current number of alternative metallurgical processes being developed to treat cobalt and nickel laterite ores.

The targets have been determined from a historical summary of cobalt results Pioneer has established from drill holes completed since 1978, including the GRB-series RAB holes and GRA-series aircore holes it drilled between 2004 and 2015.

“A detailed review of the Golden Ridge drilling database specifically looking for cobalt mineralisation within the project has identified multiple, broad, high-grade zones of high-grade cobalt mineralisation,” Pioneer said.

“To date, the study has identified 11 separate prospects with significant cobalt deposited in the weathered rock mantle (lateritic cobalt).

“The tenor of cobalt values are at least the equivalent of other cobalt-laterites in the Kalgoorlie mineral district.

“The ‘reconnaissance’ drilling completed between 1978 and 2015 demonstrates the presence of widespread cobalt mineralisation, and each target has significant exploration upside to identify extensions to the indicated mineralisation deposits as cobalt-specific drilling proceeds.”



Intermin Resources Announces Evolution Drilling at Binduli

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Intermin Resources (ASX: IRC) announced commencement of reverse circulation (RC) drilling at the Binduli JV gold project, located just outside of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Western Australia.

Intermin Resources said its Joint Venture partner Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN) has kicked off the 4,000 metre drilling program, comprising up to 39 angled RC holes to test for gold mineralisation within extensional veins related to shearing along contacts between brittle porphyritic intrusions with the White Flag intermediate volcanic sediments.

At the Coot and Crake prospects, 26 RC holes will be drilled to test for new mineralisation for approximately two kilometres north along strike from previously identified mineralisation.

At the Honey Eater prospect, four kilometres southwest of the company’s 100 per cent-owned Teal gold mine, 13 RC holes are planned to test new targets along strike from historic drill intercepts.

Intermin recently completed a re-interpretation of regional geophysical data, from which it has identified numerous high magnetic anomalies it has interpreted as felsic porphyry units that have intruded the White Flag volcanic sediments.

The company considers the prospect to be a highly prospective structural setting as it occurs at the intersection of an extensive northwest-southeast trending shear zone and a crosscutting late stage fault.

“It is extremely pleasing to see the latest drilling program underway testing the higher priority drill targets in the prospective Binduli region of the WA Goldfields,” Intermin Resources managing director Jon Price said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Very little modern exploration has been undertaken in this area and we look forward to working with the team at Evolution to unlock the potential of these projects for mutual benefit.”



Gold Road Resources Inks Gold Forward Sales Facility

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR) signed margin Gold Forward Sales with two major banks for up to 200,000 ounces of Australian dollar denominated forward sales.

Gold Road Resources explained the Hedging Facilities equate to 100,000 ounces of gold with each bank.

Gold Road has already locked in forward sales contracts for 25,000 ounces at an average forward price of $1,705 under the Hedging Facilities.

These latest Hedging Facilities are unsecured but require cash backing if the mark-to-market increases beyond $25 million with any bank and are due to expire at 30 June 2018, unless the parties agree to extend.

The company indicated, that part of a “prudent management of financial risks”, it is currently reviewing options for standby revolving credit or working capital facilities, which would also include discretionary gold hedging facilities.

Gold Road indicated the end of March 2018 quarter as a target for the finalisation of any Standby Facilities.

It stated its intention is to merge these early hedges into the Standby Facility, and to roll the delivery dates of the hedged ounces to meet forecast gold production dates.

“Construction at Gruyere is well under way to meet the forecast first gold production in 2019,” Gold Road Resources managing director Ian Murray said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“With the gold price currently 14 per cent above the modelled Gruyere Feasibility Study gold price of $1,500 per ounce, we believe it is prudent to lock in a small portion of our forecasted production.

“The combination of these higher gold prices and the Standby Facilities lowers our risk and ensures we have flexibility in an environment which can be volatile.”



Azure Minerals Returns Positive Metallurgical Results from Oposura

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Azure Minerals (ASX: AZS) reported positive results from preliminary metallurgical testwork carried out on sulphide mineralisation from the company’s Oposura project, located in the northern Mexican state of Sonora.

Azure Minerals explained the metallurgical testwork is being undertaken in parallel with an accelerated resource drill-out program for Oposura, where the company currently has three diamond rigs operating with the aim of delivering a maiden mineral resource estimate in March-April 2018.

Azure completed a series of flotation tests on a composite sample comprising sulphide mineralisation and waste rock taken from historical underground workings at Oposura.

The head grade of the composite sample was 7.2 per cent zinc, 5.9 per cent lead, 0.2 per cent copper and 43.9 grams per tonne silver, which the company considers to be similar to the grade of the overall mineralised horizon at Oposura.

The final test in this program comprised a full dual circuit lead-silver and zinc flotation test, replicating a typical dual circuit flotation plant utilised to treat lead, zinc and silver ores in order to produce separate lead-silver and zinc sulphide concentrates.

The results of the last test in the series for a lead-silver concentrate, demonstrated that a lead concentrate grade of between 53 per cent and 58 per cent could be achieved at lead recoveries respectively of between 82 per cent and 78 per cent.

The silver grade in the lead concentrate varied between 330g/t silver and 360g/t silver.

The test showed a zinc concentrate grade of between 52 per cent and 60 per cent could be achieved at zinc recoveries respectively of between 71 per cent and 68 per cent.

The company declared these to be very encouraging results for a preliminary testwork program.

“Metallurgical factors are always critical when evaluating project viability, and the earlier that this is achieved, the better,” Azure Minerals managing director Tony Rovira said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“This high-level study was undertaken to ensure that the zinc, lead and silver mineralisation at Oposura could be extracted and concentrated into an easily saleable product.

“These very favourable results allow us to continue progressing development studies with confidence.”


St George Mining Trumpets Thick Nickel Copper Intersection At Stricklands

THE DRILL SERGEANT: St George Mining (ASX: SGQ) reported a nice, big thick intersection of nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation at the company’s Mt Alexander project in Western Australia.

St George Mining reported drill hole MAD71, undertaken at the Stricklands prospect, intersected 17 metres of nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation from 37.5m downhole comprising massive, matrix, stringer, brecciated and disseminated nickel sulphides.

The intersection included massive nickel-copper sulphides comprising a total of 10.1m of the overall intersection.

St George explained that MAD71 mineralisation is open to the north and west.

The hole was drilled within a large SAMSON EM anomaly, which largely remains untested.

A downhole EM (DHEM) survey will be completed in MAD71 later this week, after which further drilling at Stricklands will be prioritised following review of the survey data.

“The results in MAD71 are outstanding with thick widths of high grade mineralisation at shallow depths,” St George Mining executive chairman John Prineas said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“This is very favourable for the economics of a potential mining operation at Mt Alexander.

“We have already established recurrent high-grade mineralisation over a 3.5 kilometres strike length in the Cathedrals Belt.

‘Now, with the exceptional intersection in MAD71, the confidence in the resource potential at Mt Alexander continues to build.”

St George completed a fixed loop EM (FLEM) survey earlier this year that identified the large EM anomaly at the Stricklands prospect.

The EM anomaly was tested previously by drill hole MAD49, which intersected a 42.5m thick ultramafic unit returning:

18.86m at 0.42 per cent nickel, 0.16 per cent copper, 0.02 per cent cobalt and 0.36 grams per tonne total PGEs from 31.8m; and

3.36m at 2.09 per cent nickel, 1.18 per cent copper, 0.09 per cent cobalt and 1.82g/t total PGEs from 50.66m.

MAD71 was drilled 15m to the north of MAD49 to test the continuity of the mineralised ultramafic and the potential for further nickel-copper mineralisation.

The hole displayed over 10 cumulative metres of massive nickel-copper sulphides with hand held XRF readings averaging 5.5 per cent nickel and 2.1 per cent copper.

St George indicated a conclusive determination of the nickel, copper, cobalt and PGE values of the sulphide mineralisation will be confirmed when laboratory assays are available.

The company considers the thickness of the cumulative ultramafic and the volume of nickel-copper sulphides returned to date to be supportive of further mineralisation being intercepted to the west and north of MAD71, where the strong associated SAMSON EM anomaly remains untested.





Stavely Minerals’ Confidence in Thursday’s Gossan Strengthens

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Stavely Minerals (ASX: SVY) released technical information, which it claims provides strong independent support for potential of a world-class porphyry copper-gold deposit at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Stavely copper project in western Victoria.

Stavely Minerals has recently completed RC and diamond drilling it says has not only produced impressive copper-gold assays, but has also provided further strong indications for a potential discovery.

The company said technical data collected from recent drilling at the Thursday’s Gossan porphyry copper-gold prospect has surpassed previously released copper and gold grades, leading the company to consider it may have a reasonable copper-gold discovery opportunity.

Results of recent drilling have been interpreted to be structurally controlled ‘leakage’ from a mineralised alkalic copper-gold porphyry at depth.

Independent datasets have highlighted a copper-gold porphyry target zone located beneath recent drilling.

These include: Short-wavelength absorption features for white micas highlight the shortest wavelengths in the hangingwall to the ‘leakage’ structure, indicating proximity to a porphyry source; and the occurrence of ‘acid-sulphate’ alteration minerals, including pyrophyllite and alunite together with observed vuggy silica textures the company considers characteristic of a high-level position in the mineralised system for the drilling to date.

“We have now amassed a significant body of independent technical work – augmented by independent technical experts who are individual leaders in the field of porphyry exploration – which provides strong support for the discovery potential and the targeting approach we have adopted at Thursday’s Gossan,” Stavely Minerals managing director Chris Cairns said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We hope that by providing open access to the underlying experts’ reports and providing a downloadable 3D model with various switchable layers that can be interrogated and rotated, we can better share the reasons why we are so excited about the discovery opportunity ahead of us.

“To put it simply, we want everyone to be able to see what we are seeing.”

Stavely Minerals already has the next phase of follow-up diamond drilling at Thursday’s Gossan underway, with the first hole completed and the second in-progress.

The company has a total of up to eight holes planned as part of the current program, with drilling set to continue for the next few months.


Emmerson Resources Drilling in NSW and NT

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Emmerson Resources (ASX: ERM) recently completed a geophysical survey at the company’s Kadungle project in New South Wales.

Emmerson Resources informed the market it will be drilling on this project shortly, as well as at its Tennant Creek project in the Northern Territory.

Emmerson explained the Kadungle drilling is funded from a recent $2 million capital raising while the drilling at Tennant Creek is funded by the company’s partner, Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN) as part of a $15 million earn-in and JV where Emmerson is the manager and operator.

Emmerson completed an IP geophysical survey and alteration mapping at the Mt Leadley prospect within the Kadungle project, which it says confirms potential for shallow gold and deeper copper-gold mineralisation.

The activities have demonstrated the IP anomalies to be apparent across five consecutive lines, over one kilometre and within a previously identified zone of magnetite destruction.

Emmerson explained this was the first systematic exploration it has conducted on this project and although there has been previous but limited drilling, the company’s recent work has extended the project’s shallow gold and deeper copper-gold potential, as most of the anomalies remain untested.

At Tennant Creek a drilling campaign is currently underway focusing on extending previously discovered, high-grade copper and gold at the Gecko-Goanna project.

A previous deep co-funded drill hole by Emmerson/Evolution and the NT Geological survey intersected:

7 metres at 5.98 per cent copper, including 3m at 10.4 per cent copper from 123m down the hole.

A further zone of 3m at 4.75 per cent copper, including 1m at 10.6 per cent copper from 162m remains open in all directions and will be tested by eight RC drill holes.

In addition, a down plunge diamond hole at Goanna will test for deeper extensions beneath the previously intersected, high-grade copper and gold.

“The recent systematic exploration over the Kadungle project has produced further indications of a large shallow epithermal gold and deeper porphyry copper-gold system,” Emmerson Resources managing director Rob Bills said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Pleasingly the scale of the alteration and mineralisation over approximately two kilometres has been confirmed by the recent geophysical surveys and significantly, the better geophysical targets remain untested.

“Drilling will commence in late November and is focussed on establishing the extent and grade of both shallow epithermal gold and deeper porphyry copper-gold.”


Talisman Mining Completes RC Program At Sinclair Nickel Project

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Talisman Mining (ASX: TLM) completed a five-hole RC drill program at the company’s 100 per cent- owned Sinclair nickel project in Western Australia.

Talisman Mining explained the drilling was carried out to follow-up recent highly encouraging results at the Schmitz Well South and Delphi North prospects.

Four holes were undertaken at the Schmitz Well South prospect along strike and downdip from recent air-core (AC) drilling results at Schmitz Well South, which had returned:

1 metre at 0.68 per cent nickel from 27m down-hole; and

5m at 0.5 per cent nickel from 50m down-hole.

Although all four holes of the latest RC drilling program intersected a consistent, thick sequence of high-magnesian ultramafic rocks including minor disseminated sulphides, they did not return any significant nickel intersections.

“Talisman interprets the results to represent a possible channel flow environment with the potential to host accumulations of nickel sulphides,” Talisman Mining said in its ASX announcement.

“The thick ultramafic sequence overlies a basaltic footwall unit similar to that seen at the Sinclair Mine and other locations along the ultramafic belt.”

The fifth hole of the recent drilling program was carried out on the Delphi North prospect with the aim of providing the company with further understanding of the interpreted massive and disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation near high conductance electromagnetic (EM) conductors it had identified in previous drilling.

The company reported the drill hole intersected the lower edge of previously modelled EM conductors and encountered massive and disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation on the basal contact.

Assays results included:

2m at 1.95 per cent nickel from 198m down-hole, including 1m at 2.97 per cent nickel from 199m down-hole.

Talisman said the results from this hole had continued to highlight the potential for additional sulphide mineralisation at Delphi North where previous RC and diamond drilling has returned encouraging results.

“Talisman will continue to evaluate the potential of the Delphi North prospect to host economic nickel sulphide mineralisation and to develop exploration programs across the wider Sinclair nickel project as part of it’s staged, cost effective exploration strategy,” the company said.





Western Australian Lithium Miners in right Spot at Right Time

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: The Western Australian lithium industry has always been healthy and according to Tianqi Lithium Australia general manager Phil Thick it’s going to get healthier.

Presenting to the first day crowd at the Low Emissions and Technology Minerals Conference in Perth, Thick reminded the audience of WA lithium’s current global standing.

“Until last year a third of the world’s lithium came out of Western Australia,” he said.

“All of that lithium came out of one mine – the Talisman mine at Greenbushes.

“So, we already have a dominant position in the world.”

Thick informed the room that over the past year or so there has been, in Western Australia, other miners that have commenced exporting both raw spodumene rock and spodumene concentrate.

“If we add up the announced, potential production of all of the West Australian ASX-listed companies it comes to somewhere between three and four million tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate,” he said.

“If we convert all of that into lithium carbonate equivalent – it is about two and a half times what the world is currently using.”

Thick tossed up a couple of disclaimers, including the time frame that it will take these projects to get into production and their combined ability to meet the growing global demand, which he expects to grow considerably over the next couple of years.

He mentioned there were already a small number of WA lithium miners that are making noises regarding moving into the downstream processing realm.

“We could do what we do very well in Western Australia, which is to dig the rocks out of the ground and send it all to China for them to process and add value,” he said.

“That is what has happened to date with all the lithium that comes out of Greenbushes.

“Or, we could move further down the stream, and it wold be great to have three or four companies in this state all processing their spodumene rock into something that is of significantly higher value.”

Thick’s company, Tianqi Lithium Australia is already doing this, at its refinery in Kwinana, which is the site of BHP Nickel West’s proposed expansion.

He said that over the course of the two-day conference delegates could expect to hear plenty of discussion about the emerging Electric Vehicle market and the effect it has had on the lithium market, especially in the past 12 months.

“Twelve months ago, there was a lot of speculation and there wasn’t much fact built into what lithium demand was going to do over the next ten years,” he said.

“In the past six months, just about every significant car manufacturer outside of China has come forward with some pretty hard numbers around what they are going to be doing between now and 2025, in terms of electric vehicle manufacture.”

Given there were around one million EVs on global roads last year, which equates to approximately one per cent of the world car footprint, China’s announcement that intends producing EVs doubling that number pumping out two million on its own by 2020, the global analytical outlook for lithium is, understandably, bullish.

Thick said we could expect a 15 per cent lift in year on year growth in lithium sales between now and 2025.

“There is plenty of lithium resources around the world, and Western Australia hasa more than its fair share of it,” he said.“But the next big gap, over the next five years, will be in lithium processing.

“There are a number of projects…that are underway at the moment, but the sum of everything underway at the moment, will go nowhere near meeting the global demand for lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate over the next few years.”

Cobalt Making Its Move On The Technology Circuit

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Although talk of lithium dominated the Low Emissions and Technology Minerals Conference in Perth, space opened for its lesser cousin, cobalt to take centre stage.

Addressing the conference’s second day audience, CSA Global director Aaron Green said that the trappings of modern life – iphones, ipads, computers, and the soon to be ubiquitous electric vehicles – were bringing cobalt into the spotlight.

“We live in a revolutionary period as we as a planet strive to reduce our carbon emissions and control pollution levels,” Green said.

“In recent years we have seen incredible interest in technology minerals – firstly graphite, and more recently lithium – now the market has realised that cobalt is one of those commodities that will power the next century.”

Lithium’s place in the battery world was assured when technological types decided to name the power packs lithium-ion batteries.

In recent times nickel has enjoyed a moment of glory thanks to Elon Musk identifying its part in the technology, but cobalt too has of late begun to pull focus.

“The importance of cobalt has led the US government to label it a strategic metal and the EU to include it on their lest of critical metals,” Green said.

Historically, the price, production and costs of cobalt has been linked to copper and nickel markets as the commodity is a by-product of the mining of these more traditional metals.

Globally, just two per cent of cobalt production occurs independent of nickel and copper mining.

Most of this is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which raises strong possibilities of geopolitical risk destabilising global supplies.

Ninety-eight per cent of 2016 global cobalt mine production was derived as a secondary by-product from either nickel or copper mining.

Fifty-four per cent of 2016 global cobalt mine production was derived from copper mining in the DRC.

“Historically, nickel and copper economics have dictated cobalt supply and price,” Green said.

“Cobalt has been produced as a by-product with mine recoveries not attuned to maximise cobalt extraction.”

Between 2010 and 2016, a cobalt supply surplus was created by new nickel and copper projects coming online, resulting in refined production exceeding demand.

This led to a period of depressed cobalt prices, in line with nickel and copper prices, and a slow down in world economies.

“Since mid-to-late 2016 we have seen a significant decoupling of the cobalt price from nickel and copper,’ Green explained.

“This has been due to the emergence of electric vehicles and lithium-ion battery demand.

“The cobalt price more than doubled in this period and has risen by, approximately, seventy per cent since January this year.”

Just as the lithium spokespeople before him, Green emphasised the effect the rising demand of the electric vehicle market has had on the commodity’s rise.

“Electric vehicles have been the major driver of recent cobalt demand,” he said.

“A growing number of major jurisdictions are introducing legislation for minimum numbers of electric vehicles, including China and Europe.

“China is now pushing forward with an aggressive zero emission program, targeting eight per cent by 2018 and twelve per cent by 2020.”