Lithium Australia Increases Stake in Envirostream

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has increased its interest in Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd from 18.9 to 23.9 per cent.

Lithium Australia said the $100,000 investment greatly enhances its exposure to the process of collecting and separating spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), a fundamental precursor to the recycling of battery chemicals.

LIT has already, at laboratory scale, successfully recovered metals from separated batteries, used the lithium so retrieved to regenerate cathode materials and, from those materials, manufactured coin-cell LIBs, testing of which vindicated the company’s aim of closing the loop on the energy-metal cycle.

Lithium Australia explained that EA is the only company in Australia with the integrated capacity to collect, sort, shred and separate all the components of LIBs, including the lithium.

The company highlighted EA’s infrastructure, saying it is essential to developing an environmentally responsible solution to the mounting problems spent LIBs represent.

EA’s collection and physical processing/separation of spent battery components makes for a perfect fit with LIT’s recycling R&D.

Lithium Australia anticipates its expanded equity in EA, and acceleration of its R&D program will contribute to the restructuring of the recycling business to best amalgamate the capabilities of both entities.

In recycling spent LIBs, we hope to meet the ethical, social and governance standards the community has grown to expect,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The world’s capacity to deal with climate change is also bolstered by the resulting improvements in resource sustainability and reductions in the environmental footprint of portable power.

“Our further investment in recycling in general, and EA in particular, therefore represents a tremendous opportunity for the company.”





Meteoric Resources Welcomes Dr Paul Kitto Aboard

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Meteoric Resources NL (ASX: MEI) made its presence felt at the 2019 Brisbane Resources Roundup by announcing the appointment of Dr Paul Kitto as non‐executive technical director.

Meteoric Resources recognised Dr Kitto’s more than thirty years’ experience working within the mining industry, having served on a number of ASX Boards and having held senior level management positions around the world, including Australasia and Africa.

Dr Kitto is currently technical director for ASX-listed Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) and was most recently (2015‐2019) exploration manager, Africa for Newcrest Mining and prior to that, was CEO and managing director of Ampella Mining from 2008 until 2014, when Ampella was acquired by LSE/TSX-listed Centamin PLC.

Throughout his career, Dr Kitto has led or been part of exploration teams that have discovered numerous multi‐million-ounce gold deposits in Africa, Australia and Papua New Guinea providing him with extensive experience associated with a wide range of deposit types, predominantly associated with gold and base metal deposits.

In addition, Dr Kitto has considerable experience dealing with global equity capital markets, project finance together with mergers and acquisitions.

“I am thrilled to welcome Paul to the board of Meteoric Resources,” Meteoric Resources managing director Dr Andrew Tunks said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Paul is someone in the industry I have known, admired and respected for many years and his knowledge of the gold space is second to none.

“Paul will play a hugely significant role moving forward with Meteoric as we progress our exploration programs on the ground in Brazil at both the Juruena and Novo Astro gold projects and no doubt the company and shareholders alike will benefit from his significant global experience in developing world class gold deposits.”




Independence Group Teams up with Apollo Consolidated at Louisa Nickel Sulphide Project

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Independence Group (ASX: IGO) has entered a farm-in and joint venture with Apollo Consolidated Limited (ASX: AOP).

Apollo Consolidated announced the deal in relation to the company’s early-stage Louisa project located near Fitzroy Crossing in the West Australian Kimberley Province.

Independence is a highly-regarded nickel-copper sulphide producer and explorer that is actively exploring for nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation in the region.

Under the term sof the agreement, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Independence will spend initial expenditure of a minimum of $350,000 on the project within 24 months.

Once the initial expenditure has been reached the subsidiary may elect to continue to spend an additional $3 million within four years to earn a 75 per cent interest in the project, otherwise the subsidiary can withdraw at its election at any time provided the project tenement remains in good standing.

Apollo considers Independence Group’s interest to be a ringing endorsement of its conceptual targets in the emerging nickel-copper sulphide province.

“The entrance of Independence into the project is an endorsement of the potential for magmatic mineralisation styles in the area and will allow this potential to be rapidly evaluated by an active and highly respected nickel-copper sulphide exploration team,” Apollo Consolidated said in its ASX announcement.

Apollo said the arrangement allows it to prioritise exploration efforts at its gold discoveries at the Lake Rebecca gold project near Kalgoorlie.

Should a discovery be made at Louisa under the farm-in, Apollo retains the ability to participate as a 25 per cent partner, an equity position it believes could deliver value to shareholders.

Independence intends to apply its in-house geophysical team and state-of-the-art geophysical tools to the evaluation of the prospective mafic and ultramafic intrusions identified on the tenements.

Remote sensing work is scheduled to commence in the December 2019 Quarter, followed by field programs during the 2020 dry season.





Ardiden Inks Canadian Lithium MoU

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Ardiden Limited (ASX: ADV) has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its Canadian neighbour, lithium developer, Rock Tech Lithium Inc (TSX-V: RCK).

Ardiden announced the companies have agreed to combine efforts to work towards developing a lithium project that combines hard rock Spodumene mineral resources at Ardiden’s Seymour Lake and at Rock Tech’s Georgia Lake lithium projects in northwest Ontario.

“The projects have multiple beneficial synergies with the deposits being located proximal to railway, power supply and close to the regional mining and shipping centre at Thunder Bay,” Ardiden said in its ASX announcement.

Ardiden had previously declared its intentions to secure a partner or alliance for value extraction from the company’s 100 per cent-owned Seymour Lake project and to take advantage of the strategic advantages of this, and its other lithium holdings in Ontario.

The agreement will see Ardiden and Rock Tech develop a project to potentially supply spodumene concentrate at 6 to 7 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O), initially from a combination of the Seymour Lake and Georgia Lake projects.

Presently, within north-western Ontario, there are four other lithium projects, each in various stages of development in addition to the Ardiden and Rock Tech’s assets.

The two companies believe Seymour Lake and Georgia Lake are in an advantageous position with quality resources making the combination a logical outcome.

As such, Ardiden and Rock Tech have agreed to work together to gain a ‘First Mover’ advantage in this strategic North American region.

In March 2019, Ardiden announced an upgraded JORC 2012-compliant Mineral Resource at Seymour Lake of 4.83 million tonnes at 1.25 per cent Li2O and 186ppm tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5).

In June 2018, Rock Tech released an NI 43-101-compliant resource estimate that included 6.58 million tonnes Measured and Indicated resources.

Additionally, 6.72 million tonnes of Inferred resources were estimated within this area.





Sayona Mining Assembles Crack Team for Operation NAL

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) is getting serious about its bid for the North American Lithium Inc (NAL) operation, located in Québec, Canada.

Sayona Mining has put together a team of companies and advisers it considers to have the necessary skills needed to bring the NAL operation back into business following the commencement of the formal asset sale process for the lithium mine.

The NAL operation has a lithium mine and concentrator located in Abitibi near the mining district of Val d’Or, Québec and came to Sayona’s attention last year after spodumene production was halted in February 2019 and the company obtained protection from creditors in May.

Subsequently, on 16 September, the Québec Superior Court ended creditor protection and invited bids for the company’s assets.

Sayona has mustered a wealth of operational experience together with the engineering, environmental and financial capacity to ensure a successful turnaround of NAL, potentially restoring around 120 jobs, injecting new investment and boosting the province’s lithium strategy.

The team supporting Sayona in the bidding process includes Altura Mining, which will offer operational expertise and advice through common directorships.

Altura has experience in the realm having developed a world‐class hard rock spodumene (lithium) mine through to production, with its Western Australian mine fully operational just two years after breaking ground.

Engineering consultancy BBA, which is currently undertaking a revised Definitive Feasibility Study for Sayona’s Authier lithium project, also in Canada, is also on board.

Others on the team sheet include Centre Technologiques de Résidus Industriels (CTRI) – a leading technological solution provider, engineering service provider GCM Consultants, global engineering consultancy Hatch, New York‐based independent boutique investment bank Jett Capital Advisors, project cost control and management specialists Legico‐CHP, and international professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sayona believes this team would give NAL its best prospects for a successful turnaround, with the added advantage of combining the synergies from the Authier project.

“We’re hitting the ground running with a team supporting the bid that has a proven track record of delivering results, with expertise in producing spodumene in similar mining facilities, taking into consideration the complexity of such production,” Sayona Mining managing director Brett Lynch said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Importantly too, there is the unique advantage of combining lithium produced from our emerging Authier project with the lithium at the NAL site to achieve the required quality for the manufacturing of lithium batteries, as sought by the Québec Government.

“Overall, Sayona’s team offers the best combination of experienced global mining professionals that together with the necessary engineering expertise and financial backing will ensure industry best practice is achieved, delivering returns for investors, economic benefits for Québec and positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”





Sayona Mining Advances Revised Authier Lithium Project DFS

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) informed the market that a revised Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the company’s Authier lithium project in Québec, Canada is on track for release next month.

Sayona Mining said the DFS is currently being reviewed by an engineering consultancy and is based on a planned sustainable development approach of 2,600 tonnes per day production, a figure that it has determined will allow for an approximate mine life of 14 years and estimated annual average spodumene concentrate production of around 115,000 tonnes (6 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O)).

The company’s previous DFS released in 2018 showed the potential for a sustainable and profitable project.

In parallel with the DFS, Sayona has been progressing a revised Environmental Impact Study (EIS), as per the BAPE (bureau d’audiences publiques en environnement) process stipulated by the Québec Government.

The BAPE regulatory process entailsfurther community engagement, including the establishment of a project monitoring committee comprised of key stakeholders, including local municipalities, business groups, environmental organisations, First Nations representatives, community groups and other citizens.

Following a public consultation process (as per the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, or MELCC), Sayona has modified the EIS to reflect community feedback.

The company anticipates the revised EIS now likely will be submitted to the MELCC by year‐end, after which it will be submitted to the Public Hearings Office for further public hearings and review, ultimately leading to expected project approval under the BAPE in 2020.

Sayona has identified a bright future for the province’s lithium industry, given its proximity to U.S. battery markets and its advantages including access to low‐cost hydroelectric power, world‐class infrastructure including rail and road and skilled labour.

In the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Sayona Mining managing director Brett Lynch said Sayona’s investment in Québec and its plans to participate in the bidding process for the North American Lithium Inc (NAL) operation in the province the company announced in September, reflect its confidence in the province’s potential to be at the forefront of the lithium‐ion battery revolution.

“We are extremely positive concerning the outlook and will continue working closely with all stakeholders to ensure maximum community benefits from this key metal of the 21st century,” Lynch said.





Black Cat Syndicate Completes Raising to Fund Drilling

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Black Cat Syndicate (ASX: BC8) received firm placement commitments from professional and sophisticated investors to raise $5 million at 43 cents per share.

Black Cat Syndicate indicated the funds will be used for drilling programs across the company’s Bulong gold project in Western Australia.

The company anticipates drilling programs to commence in October to include extensional drilling on the new Myhree Southern Offset target, extensional drilling at Trump North, infill drilling aimed at upgrading the existing Resources at Myhree, and accelerated exploration drilling of Sub-audio Magnetic (SAM) targets in the Greater Woodline area, including Anomaly 38.

The company said the Myhree Feasibility Study will continue to a potential decision to mine, expected in the June 2020 quarter.

Individual study elements include metallurgical testwork, geotechnical studies, including diamond drilling, hydrogeological studies and general permitting.

SAM surveys have been completed to the north of Boundary and to the south of Myhree and the company has interpretation and target generation in these areas underway.

New targets near and along strike of existing Resources will be prioritised for drilling.

The new funding will also allow additional SAM surveys to be completed in early 2020 to extend coverage over a larger portion of the Bulong project.

“We are pleased to have sufficient funding to continue our exploration and Resource growth activities as well as complete our ongoing Feasibility Study which will lead to a potential decision to mine in the June 2020 quarter,” Black Cat Syndicate managing director Gareth Solly said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The placement was priced at a five per cent discount to our closing price on 30 September 2019.

“This is a strong endorsement of the results we have achieved and the inherent value investors see in Black Cat.

“We expect to have strong news flow over the balance of 2019.”





Lithium Australia Subsidiary Makes Cathode Material from Recycled Batteries

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary company, VSPC Ltd, used lithium phosphate (LP) from spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) to create high-quality cathode material.

The material was, in turn, used to make and test lithium-ferro-phosphate (LFP) batteries, a type of LIB.

Lithium Australia explained that Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) used company technology to recover LP with a purity of more than 99.9 per cent from mixed metal dust (MMD) obtained from recycled LIBs.

The MMD was then commercially recovered by Melbourne-based Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd, in which Lithium Australia holds 18 per cent equity.

Envirostream is the only company in Australia capable of sorting, shredding and separating all energy metals, including lithium, from spent LIBs.

Once ANSTO had recovered the LP, it was shipped to VSPC’s pilot plant in Brisbane, Australia, where VSPC proprietary nanotechnology was used to synthesise LFP cathode material from the LP, with 100 per cent recovery to final product achieved with precise control of composition and phase purity.

Using that LFP cathode material, VSPC created new, 2032 coin-cell LIBs and electrochemically tested them, exceeding VSPC’s internal standards.

Lithium Australia declared that the achievement demonstrated the technological fit between its recycling process and the VSPC process for producing cathode material for LFP batteries.

The company believes the entire production cycle (lithium from recycled batteries → LP → LFP cathode material → new LIBs) demonstrates the potential for improved efficiency and reduced manufacturing cost.

VSPC will now use a blend of newly created LFP material and LFP material synthesised from recycled lithium to make and test cathodes for larger, commercial-format (18650) battery cells.

Lithium Australia indicated it is currently in discussions with industry players in China and elsewhere to establish a supply chain for LFP cathode material produced from the recycling of spent LIBs, highlighting that growth projections for such material are strong, given its suitability for applications such as the replacement of automotive lead-acid batteries and for largescale energy storage, including the provision of back-up power supplies for 5G communications stations.

“The production of LIBs from recycled battery material represents a genuinely renewable pathway for the battery industry,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Recycling of this type meets the ethical, social and governance standards that the community expects.

“It also strengthens our capacity to deal with climate change by improving resource sustainability and reducing the environmental footprint of portable power.

“With demand for LIBs remaining strong, Lithium Australia is providing a supply chain solution that is independent of mainstream mineral producers, as well as producers of conventional battery chemicals.”






Consolidated Zinc Completes Plomosas Acquisition

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Consolidated Zinc (ASX: CZL) announced the completion of the acquisition of a 100 per cent interest in the subsidiary that holds the Plomosas Mine in Chihuahua State, Mexico.

Consolidated Zinc had previously announced, in September, an agreement with Retec Guaru S.A. de C.V, under which Consolidated Zinc would acquire the remaining 10 per cent interest in its already 90 per cent-owned subsidiary, Minera Latin American Zinc S.A.P.I de C.V. that holds the Plomosas Mine.

The purchase consideration for the acquisition of the Retec interest in MLAZ is a 1 per cent Net Smelter Return Royalty from the sale of minerals produced from Plomosas.

“The company is very pleased to have finalised the acquisition of a 100 per cent interest in Plomosas,” Consolidated Zinc managing director Brad Marwood said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Consolidated Zinc held 51 per cent equity only nine months ago, and through a series of acquisitions increased its interest to 90 per cent and now 100 per cent in a simplified corporate structure to add shareholder value.

“I would like to thank Retec, our partner in Plomosas, for working with the company throughout this process, and who also remains a committed long-term shareholder of Consolidated Zinc.”





Classic Minerals Appoints Industry Stalwart Klaus Eckhof

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Classic Minerals (ASX: CLZ) has welcomed Klaus Eckhof as a Corporate and Technical Advisor, effective immediately.

Classic Minerals said Eckhof will be advising the company on its Forrestania gold project generally with particular focus on its Kat Gap project.

Eckhof brings to the plate a wealth of experience having worked as a geologist for over 25 years developing mineral deposits around the globe, including Africa.

Eckhof’s chronology of employment is impressive, including time with Mount Edon Gold Mines Ltd as Business Development Manager before it was acquired by Canadian mining company Teck.

In 1994, he founded Spinifex Gold and Lafayette Mining, both of which developed gold and base metal deposits.

In late 2003, he founded Moto Goldmines, which acquired the Moto gold project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where he ran a team that delineated more than 20 million ounces of gold and delivered a feasibility study within four years from the commencement of exploration.

Moto Goldmines was subsequently acquired by Randgold Resources, who poured first gold in September 2013.

Eckhof was also formerly Executive Chairman of AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ), a mineral exploration company focused on developing the Manono project, located in the south of the DRC.

The Manono project boasts the largest JORC Measured and Indicated lithium hard rock resource globally.

Still in the DRC and Eckhof was instrumental in identifying the Bisie tin deposit, one of the largest tin deposits in the world, which was acquired by TSX-V listed Alphamin Resources Corp.

Classic Minerals said Eckhof’s appointment adds technical and international fund-raising expertise to the company as it seeks to expand its exploration programs at Forrestania and on the Kat Gap project in particular.

Eckhof will be responsible for marketing the company and its projects throughout North America and Europe.

“I am delighted that Klaus has accepted to join Classic Minerals as a trusted and capable advisor who brings a new and exciting vision to the Board and Management of Classic as Dean (Goodwin CEO) progresses with extensional drilling at Kat Gap,” Classic Minerals chairman John Lester said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We are privileged that Klaus with his integrity, dynamism and international network has agreed to guide, direct and enhance the vision of Classic Minerals Limited.”