Battery Recyclers Spinout Critical Metal Assets

COMMODITY CAPERS: Two Australian companies, Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT), and Neometals (ASX: NMT), both of which are making advancements in the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, are spinning out battery metal assets to maintain exposure to raw materials.

If the human race operated like a scout troop, it could be mooted that the badge most of us would like to earn, and then wear with much pride, would be that of the ‘Enthusiastic Recycler’.

People, generally, are eager to push their recycling credentials, ensuring their weekly rubbish collection is sorted into correct bins that enable those further up the recycling chain to separate tin cans from newspapers.

The surge in electronic device use and the demand for the advancement of same over the past twenty years has been documented by us and others over and over again in recent times.

What has also been reported throughout this time is the demand for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) due to their being a major source of portable power.

Again, we have been inundated by boffins from all sides, warning us of the environmental concern LIBs offer, especially since that globally only around nine per cent of spent batteries are recycled, with Australia maintaining its inability to keep pace with global environmental trends by recycling just three per cent, to keep them out of landfill, or more importantly, to recover valuable metals.

“Used batteries have been a problem for decades from a household and industrial waste perspective,” Chris Bolt recently wrote on the web page.

“While battery technology has changed a lot, even the most advanced rechargeable lithium ion batteries may still contain materials that could be considered hazardous.

“Most people just associate environmental pollution with these types of batteries, but there are other risks you need to be aware of.

“During the end-of-life stage of any modern electronic device, poor handling, storage, and disposal could increase the risk of fire or poisoning.

“Fortunately, lithium ion battery recycling is starting to become a widespread practice (even though it can be difficult to do so).”

Lithium Australia has hung its shingle on supplying ethically and sustainably sourced materials to the battery industry worldwide through the development of disruptive extraction technologies.

The company is operating on its belief that discarded electronic/battery waste may ultimately prove the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly source of critical metals.

LIT aspires to ‘close the loop’ on the energy metal cycle via its principal business units, which comprise its SiLeach® technology that converts mine waste to battery chemicals; and its subsidiary company VSPC Ltd that is an Australian-based company that has developed and patented processes for the cost-effective manufacture of high-purity, nano-scale materials for the lithium-ion battery market.

Neometals has also developed a proprietary sustainable process that recovers critical metals from cell production scrap and end-of-life LIBs.

Neometals has developed a processing flowsheet that targets recovery of more than 90 per cent of all battery materials from LIBs that might otherwise hit land fill.

This recycling process targets recovery of materials from consumer electronic batteries (devices with lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) cathodes), and nickel‐rich electric vehicle and stationary storage battery chemistries (lithium‐nickel-manganese‐cobalt (NMC) cathodes).

Through its recycling joint venture (Primobius GmbH) with German Company SMS group, Neometals aims to make revenue from provision of recycling services, licensing and sale of recovered cobalt, nickel, lithium, copper, iron, aluminium, manganese into saleable products.

This week, both companies informed the progress of the demerger/spinout/sale – call it what you will – of assets to aspiring IPOs.

Lithium Australia brought the market up to speed regarding its sale and Joint-Venture terms with ASX-aspirant Charger Metals.

With its listing expected on July 8, Charger Metals has exercised an option to acquire a 70 per cent interest in Lithium Australia’s Coates, Lake Johnston and Bynoe projects.

The Coates project is in the Western Yilgarn nickel/copper/platinum group elements belt, close to the recent Julimar discovery of Chalice Mining (ASX: CHN) in Western Australia, to which the JV believes the Coates project exhibits very similar geology.

The second endeavour is the Lake Johnston project, near Southern Cross, again in WA, which is considered prospective for lithium, gold and nickel and has outcropping lithium (spodumene) pegmatites.

Thirdly is the Bynoe project, near Darwin in the Northern Territory, which the JV has declared prospective for lithium and gold and close to recent discoveries of both commodities.

“Lithium Australia retains significant exposure to raw materials through its equity in Charger, as well as its free-carried project interests,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said.

“The latter potentially provide access to raw materials that the Lithium Australia group of companies can further process.

“Charger Metals’ specialised expertise will expedite a focused exploration effort, leaving Lithium Australia to concentrate on its core business: the ethical and sustainable supply of energy metals to the battery industry and the development of a circular battery economy.

“We eagerly await exploration outcomes at the Coates, Bynoe and Lake Johnston projects.”

Neometals’ rational is similar to that of its battery recycling chum declaring the anticipated listing of Widgie Nickel will enable development of the Mt Edwards nickel field allowing it to focus on its core battery materials projects.

The Mt Edwards project is near the small township of Widgiemooltha, south of Kalgoorlie and west of Kambalda in Western Australia.

The project spans approximately 50km of strike length across the Widgiemooltha Dome, which is a world class nickel sulphide camp that hosts more than seven historical nickel mines with a new mine, Mincor Resources’ Cassini operation, recently commencing production.

Neometals proclaimed its intention to demerge the Mt Edwards nickel project into a dedicated nickel exploration and development company on the back of a week of announcements that saw the company increase the global Mt Edwards project Mineral Resources to 10.215 million tonnes at 1.6 per cent nickel for 162,510 tonnes of contained nickel across 11 deposits.

“The demerger and return of our Mt Edwards asset offers existing Neometals shareholders the opportunity to realise the inherent long-term value of this exciting development story in a discrete, nickel focussed corporate vehicle,” Neometals managing director Chris Reed said.

“Widgie Nickel has a number of very exciting deposits located on the Widgiemooltha Dome, a world class nickel sulphide camp that has hosted more than seven historical nickel mines and hosts Australia’s newest high-grade nickel mine being developed less than a kilometre from our southern tenure.

“These assets are highly deserving of their own time and attention, and the recent metallurgical results from just one of the deposits that revealed high grade palladium reporting to concentrate demonstrates just some of what can be achieved with a dedicated focus.

“Widgie Nickel is strongly leveraged to both the world economic recovery and the electrification of transport which will drive increasing product demand from both the traditional steel and lithium battery sectors.

“The Neometals Board considers it is the best outcome for shareholders that a new, independent entity is established to devote the technical, human and financial resources that the Mt Edwards Project deserves.

“We are excited by what Widgie Nickel can achieve with the assets.

“A capital reduction and in-specie distribution to Neometals shareholders will provide a direct level of participation in a new nickel-focussed business, while Neometals remains focused on the Lithium-ion Battery Recycling JV (Primobius GmbH), the Scandinavian Vanadium Recovery Project and the Barrambie Titanium Project.”









Alto Metals Highlights Continuation of Vanguard Mineralisation

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Alto Metals (ASX: AME) has further highlighted the continuity of gold mineralisation at the Vanguard prospect within the company’s Sandstone gold project in Western Australia.

Alto Metals reported results from the latest four metre composite samples taken from wide-spaced step-out RC drilling at Vanguard, defined over 800m strike, that included:

28 metres at 1.5 grams per tonne gold from 132m, including 4m at 4.3g/t gold from 152m;

8m at 1.8g/t gold from 144m, including 4m at 2.9g/t gold from 144m;

4m at 2g/t gold from 64m; and

4m at 1.4g/t gold from 40m.

The company believes these latest results not only highlight the continuity of gold mineralisation at Vanguard, but also present a likelihood of further resource growth with multiple intercepts encountered outside the current resource.

“Vanguard is rapidly emerging as a very exciting prospect,” Alto Metals managing director Matthew Bowles said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“Drilling has now defined mineralisation, together with Vanguard North, over a two kilometre north-west, south-east trend that remains open.

“We are confident that further drilling will demonstrate the growth potential not only at Vanguard but also regionally, along the much larger 20 kilometres corridor of differentiated dolerite that also hosts the Indomitable and Havilah deposits.

“Drilling is continuing at the Lords Corridor, where we now have two RC rigs and one diamond rig following up on the recently announced high-grade results targeting extensions of known mineralisation.

“A number of four metre and one metre assay results are still pending and these will further assist with our ongoing exploration targeting and future resource work.

“It is a very busy time on site with lot of activity as we continue to advance the project.”








Dreadnought Resources Intersects Sulphides in First Texas Hole

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Dreadnought Resources (ASX: DRE) announced the intersection of sulphides by way of diamond drilling at the Texas target, part of the company’s Tarraji-Yampi project in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Dreadnought Resources reported drill hole TXDD001 intersected dominantly pyrrhotite with minor pyrite and chalcopyrite from 56.75 to 57.55 metres hosted within the Ruins Dolerite.

The drill hole was positioned to test the shallow southern extent of a modelled EM plate.

Diamond core has been dispatched for sampling with assay results expected in August 2021.

Drilling of TXDD002, located approx. 150m to the northeast of TXDD001, will test the EM plate further down plunge with a planned hole depth of 180m.

It is expected that this hole will be completed in mid-July.

The company is currently preparing for a RC drilling program at Fuso and Paul’s Find copper-gold, Orion nickel-copper-PGE and Chianti-Rufina copper-zinc-silver targets drilling scheduled to commence in early July 2021.

“Confirmation of sulphides within the Ruins Dolerite is an exciting outcome for the first drill hole at Texas and significantly enhances the prospectivity of Texas as well as the recently defined EM plates at Orion,”

“This is a great start to our exploration program in the Kimberley and we look forward to progressing the diamond and RC drilling programs.”








Golden Mile Resources Defines Drill Targets at Yuinmery

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Golden Mile Resources (ASX: G88) reported on a recently completed soil sampling campaign undertaken on the company’s Yuinmery project within the Murchison Region of Western Australia.

The Yuinmery project covers prospective portions of the Youanmi Complex, located approximately 500 kilometres north-east of Perth.

Golden Mile resources collected 451 samples it claims to have confirmed a broad zone of surface gold anomalism associated with the Elephant Reef and Ladies Patch prospects, each of which extend over more than 800 metres adjacent to the regional Yuinmery Shear Zone.

The sampling also defined the new Grey Beard prospect south of Ladies Patch covering an area more than one square kilometre with up to 300ppb gold in soils with no previous drilling.

Limited historical drilling has previously highlighted the prospectivity of the Yuinmery Shear Zone, albeit generally shallow with no follow up RC or diamond drilling reported.

Golden Mile indicated it is planning ground-based work to rapidly advance exploration on these targets at Yuinmery, including further infill soil sampling, aircore drilling traverses and deeper RC to follow up historical intersections.

“These newly identified targets are in addition to samples confirming the broad zone of gold anomalism at the Elephant Reef and Ladies Patch prospects which are adjacent to a major controlling structure in an exploration hot spot,” Golden Mile Resources managing director James Merrillees said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“Golden Mile has long held the view that Yuinmery is an outstanding early-stage exploration play and we are now working up a program to advance these targets which highlight the opportunity for a significant gold discovery.”








Musgrave Minerals and Evolution Mining Encounter High-Grade Gold at Cue JV

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Musgrave Minerals (ASX: MGV) reported assay results from recently completed diamond drilling undertaken on the company’s Cue Joint Venture with Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN) over Lake Austin in Western Australia’s Murchison district.

Musgrave Minerals declared the results to have identified strong basement gold mineralisation at the West Island prospect with gold intersections encountered over a 400 metres strike length below a strong regolith gold anomaly under Lake Austin.

The mineralisation is hosted within a differentiated dolerite unit, similar to that hosting the high-grade Great Fingall and Golden Crown deposits 25 kilometres to the north of West Island at Cue.

The first four diamond drill holes at West Island testing part of a 7km long aircore anomaly, all intersected gold mineralisation, including:

11.5 metres at 3.2 grams per tonne gold from 245m, including 3m at 10.6g/t gold from 247.5m;

11m at 3.6g/t gold from 272m, including 5m at 5.5g/t gold from 276m;

5m at 2.7g/t gold from 169m; and

0.4m at 23.5g/t gold from 144.7m.

“This is a great early result from diamond drilling and a strong endorsement of the joint venture program on Lake Austin,” Musgrave Minerals managing director Rob Waugh said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“We are looking forward to the re-commencement of diamond drilling in July to further test the extent and grade of the gold system at West Island.

“Evolution’s ongoing commitment is a strong affirmation of the upside potential of the project.”








Matador Mining Completes $16 Million Placement to Fund Cape Ray Gold Project Drilling

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Matador Mining (ASX: MZZ) announced the completion of a raising that delivered proceeds of $16 million.

The funds were raised from the placement of 28.5 million shares at a price of 56 cents per share, which was a 28 per cent premium to the last closing price of Matador shares on 24 June 2021 of 44 cents per share.

Matador explained it was able to issue the New Shares at a premium, as they were issued under the Canadian flow-through share scheme, which provides tax incentives to eligible investors for expenditures that qualify as flow through mining expenditures under the country’s Income Tax Act.

The company indicated the funds raised will enable the company to expand and accelerate exploration activities at the Cape Ray gold project in Newfoundland, Canada.

This increased program is to include expanding diamond drilling from 20,000 metres up to 45,000 metres, increasing the power auger drilling capacity from three to five rigs and increasing the Heli-mag program to 80 kilometres of strike from 40 kilometres.

“I would like to thank both new and existing shareholders for their strong support in this Placement,” Matador Mining executive chairman Ian Murray said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“To have such strong demand highlights the market support for our exploration strategy to systematically test the potential of our Cape Ray Gold Project, in Newfoundland, Canada.

“These additional funds now mean that we can materially accelerate our work program, with the aim of advancing the timing of new discoveries.

“Being able to achieve this is a great result for all shareholders as we reduce dilution whilst also raising additional funds.”








Chalice Minerals Defines ‘Julimar lookalike’ EM Target at Venture Mineral’s South West Nickel-Copper-PGE Project

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Venture Minerals (ASX: VMS) informed the market that its Joint Venture partner Chalice Mining (ASX: CHN) has generated new EM anomalies from the early stages of a ground based moving loop EM (MLEM) and fixed loop EM program at the company’s South West nickel-copper-PGE project in Western Australia.

Venture explained that Chalice defined the new anomalies over selected areas of the Julimar lookalike magnetic feature (Thor Target) as well as other interpreted mafic-ultramafic intrusions.

The current program is part of the first stage of a JV earn-in, under which Chalice may earn up to 70 per cent by spending $3.7 million on exploration over four years.

The new EM anomalies are considered to be of similar strength conductors to those that yielded wide palladium intervals during the early drilling phase of the Julimar nickel-copper-PGE discovery.

In addition, one of the new EM anomalies is within 10 metres of a previously drilled hole TOR04 that intersected 86 metres of disseminated sulphides with anomalous levels of PGE mineralisation, which the JV believes makes this EM conductor of particular interest.

“Venture is extremely encouraged by the success of the early work done by our JV partners Chalice Mining on our South West Project,” Venture Minerals managing director Andrew Radonjic said in the companies’ ASX announcement.

“The ground EM program, though only one third complete, has already yielded new EM anomalies with one sitting adjacent to a previously drilled hole containing significant disseminated sulphides with elevated PGE levels.

“The majority of the Thor ‘Julimar lookalike’ Target that already hosts several airborne EM anomalies is yet to be tested by Chalice’s EM program and the company (Venture) looks forward to results from this work and potential follow up drill testing in the near future.”











Miramar Resources Drills Upgrade to Gidji Project

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Miramar Resources (ASX: M2R) reported results from recently completed aircore drilling at the company’s 80 per cent-owned Gidji JV project near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Miramar Resources said the new assay results, from 1 metre re-splits of the Phase 2 aircore drilling campaign, have upgraded the prospectivity of the Gidji project, with all four targets now containing multiple aircore holes with results over one gram per tonne gold.

At the Marylebone target, three consecutive aircore holes on one drill section have now returned results greater than 1.5g/t gold, including a high-grade result of:

2 metres at 7.7g/t gold, including 1m at 13.57g/t gold.

At the Piccadilly target, hole GJAC251 returned a thick zone of supergene gold and arsenic anomalism immediately adjacent to hole GJAC058, which ended in 4.53g/t gold.

Other results included:


3m at 1.94g/t gold from 44-47m, including 1m at 5.21g/t gold;


1m at 1.17g/t gold from 46-47m;

3m at 1.22g/t gold from 54-57m, including 1m at 2.82g/t gold; and

1m at 1.78g/t gold from 49-50m.

“After two phases of relatively wide-spaced aircore drilling across the granted tenements, all four targets have developed into coherent gold anomalies with associated pathfinder anomalism indicating a potential relationship to primary mineralisation,” Miramar Resources executive chairman Allan Kelly said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“Notably, most significant gold results to date have come from sample intervals at depths of greater than 50 metres vertically below surface, whilst the average depth of historic drilling across the Gidji project is only about 40 metres.”

Miramar’s next stage in exploration at Gidji will involve systematic deeper drill testing of the targets with the aim of outlining bedrock gold mineralisation.

The company is currently waiting on assay results from RC and Phase 3 aircore programs recently completed at Gidji.









Calidus Resources Drilling Blue Spec to Increase Warrawoona Production Rate

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Calidus Resources (ASX: CAI) reported the start of diamond drilling at the high-grade Blue Spec deposit at the company’s Warrawoona gold project in Western Australia.

Calidus Resources said the drilling was part of its development strategy for Warrawoona with Blue Spec to be integral to the growth of the project’s forecast production rate, with the deposit being located within trucking distance of the project.

The company believes Blue Spec to hold potential to increase production to a peak of 139,000 ounces per annum compared with the 105,000 ounces per annum contained in the Warrawoona Feasibility Study released in March this year.

“This new drilling program is an important step in our growth strategy,” Calidus Resources managing director Dave Reeves said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“Blue Spec has the potential to underpin a significant increase in the production rate at Warrawoona while enabling us to leverage off infrastructure which will already be in place.

“This will in turn further strengthen the overall economics and financial returns.

“Our strategy is to finalise the Blue Spec feasibility study so we can bring it into the production plan as soon as practical once operations at Warrawoona have been bedded down.”








Zenith Minerals Defines New Develin Creek Drill Targets

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) reported the identification of four new drill targets at the company’s Develin Creek copper-zinc massive sulphide project in Queensland.

Zenith Minerals identified the new targets via induced polarisation (IP) geophysical surveys carried out at the Snook and Wilsons copper-zinc prospects.

The targets include two new high-quality drill targets identified at Snook (S1 & S2) located 30km south of the existing resource area and beneath and adjacent to recent Zenith drilling that has intersected massive copper-zinc sulphides.

Two other high conviction targets were located beneath shallow soil cover and along strike of surface gossans at the Wilsons prospects (W1 & W2).

The company now has a total of eight copper-zinc targets ready for drill testing, these include the four IP targets at Snook and Wilsons and four additional targets located close to the existing Sulphide City JORC massive copper-zinc sulphide deposits that had been defined by reinterpretation of geology, geochemistry and airborne electromagnetic survey (EM) data.

“Develin Creek is a large-scale VMS style copper – base metals system with a pre-existing JORC Resource at the northern end of the property (Sulphide City),” Zenith Minerals chairman Peter Bird said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“The property extends for some 50 kilometres south of this Resource.

“The eight geophysical anomalies mentioned in this release span the total lease area.

“The anomalies at Snook appear to be located below the early-stage shallow drilling and like the others defined require drill evaluation.

“VMS styles systems can be discrete but high grade and hence of great value.

“We see this advancement as a very positive step forward to allow us to build the copper inventory.”