Venture Minerals Signals Go-ahead at Riley Iron Ore Mine

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Venture Minerals has committed to the recommencement of mining activities at the company’s Riley iron ore mine in Tasmania.

Venture Minerals made the announcement following completion of an updated Riley Iron Ore Mining Study with the associated Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) delivering strong returns from a low capex two-year project, that the company believes to be well positioned to capture the current higher iron ore price environment.

In addition to completing the study the company, having previously signed a Binding Terms Sheet for the Riley Iron Ore Mine off-take with Prosperity Steel, has now signed a full off-take agreement for the Riley product for 100 per cent of the first two years of iron ore production.

First shipment of ore from the Riley Mine is currently planned for the fourth quarter of 2019, however the company indicated it was continuing to work on additional strategies to further reduce operating costs on the project before the first ore shipment.

These cost optimisation programs will focus on enhancing ore transport solutions.

“This is an exciting phase for the company as it moves from explorer to producer,” Venture Minerals managing director Andrew Radonjic said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The Riley Iron Ore Mining Study demonstrates the delivery of an exceptional Internal Rate of Return in excess of 300 per cent is possible by leveraging the relatively small capex required to commence production.

“Venture has brought together an experienced team with a blend of local knowledge that has built, managed and operated iron ore and other similar sized projects, thereby de-risking the execution phase of the Riley project.

“The Riley Iron Ore Mine will create 80 to 100 jobs and will be a boost for the economy of the West Coast of Tasmania.

“We look forward to commencing production shortly.”







Cazaly Resources to Sell Parker Range Project to Mineral Resources

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Cazaly Resources (ASX: CAZ) received a binding Heads of Agreement (HoA) proposal from Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN to purchase the company’s Parker Range iron ore project.

Cazazly had already agreed commercial terms for the sale of its 100 per cent-owned subsidiary, Cazaly Iron Pty Ltd, which holds the tenements that comprise the project, to Gold Valley Iron Pty Ltd.

The agreement with Gold Valley allowed for an initial three-month due diligence exclusivity period, however Cazaly reserved the right to terminate the exclusivity period should it receive another proposal or offer from a third party which is more favourable to Cazaly and its shareholders.

The Mineral Resources deal fit that description.

The unsolicited HoA proposal from Mineral Resources involves a payment of $2 million cash upon completion of the sale; and a royalty of 50 cents for every dry metric tonne of iron ore extracted and removed from the project area the first 10 million dry metric tonnes.

“Cazaly has received a binding Heads of Agreement (HoA) proposal from Mineral Resources which the Board considers to be more favourable to Cazaly and its shareholders and therefore has terminated the exclusivity period with Gold Valley,” Cazaly Resources said in its ASX announcement.

“Following such termination Cazaly has agreed to commercial terms with Mineral Resources for the sale of the assets comprising the project.

“The agreement with Gold Valley remains in place whilst Cazaly evaluates the proposal and its next steps for the sale of the project.

“In the event that Cazaly terminates the agreement with Gold Valley a $250,000 break fee is payable by Cazaly.”







Black Rock Mining Completes $3M Raising

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Black Rock Mining (BKT: ASX) announced completion of a placement to raise $3 million by issuing approximately 42.9 million shares at seven cents per share.

Black Rock Mining indicated that the funds raised will go towards progressing project financing activities being supported by its debt advisors, Ironstone Partners, and completion of commercial and permitting activities for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Mahenge graphite project in Tanzania.

“We are delighted with the level of support we have received from our cornerstone investors and from our board,” Black Rock Mining CEO John de Vries said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“This placement of $3 million enables Black Rock to progress financing activities with a view to being construction ready for delivery of the Mahenge graphite project on resolution of the structure of the Tanzanian Government’s participation in the project.

“Our strategy thus far has been to focus on delivery of project development milestones.

“In achieving our development milestones we have progressed our financing objectives by de-risking the project and enhancing our market entry strategy.

“Simply put, the lower our risk profile, the better the financing outcome.

“With the completion of our technical work program, we can now confidently focus on completing our financing and commercial activities and completing documentation the structure of the Tanzanian Government participation in the project.

“We look forward to progressing the project to financing and execution.”





Black Rock Mining Testing Exceeds Industry Standard for Battery Anode Materials

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Black Rock Mining (ASX: BKT) completed a large-scale spheronising and purification trial at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Mahenge graphite project in Tanzania.

Black Rock Mining completed the testing using 400 kilograms of sub 80 mesh concentrate it had generated during its March 2019 Pilot Plant run.

The company said the trial demonstrated a yield to final product of 48 per cent and 53 per cent, and final purity of 99.98 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC) using commercial scale equipment in commercial processing and in dedicated research facilities.

The outcomes exceeded Chinese Industry Benchmark yields of 35 to 45 per cent and purity of 99.95 per cent while using standard equipment and techniques.

Black Rock has sent Spherical Purified Graphite (SPG) produced from the trials to interested parties for further testing.

“The best way to think of the bulk spheronising trial is that it is the equivalent of our pilot plant strategy, but in this case, done downstream,” Black Rock Mining CEO John de Vries said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The fundamental objectives of the pilot plant approach remain the same and that is to improve our attractiveness to financiers and investors by demonstrating and de-risking Mahenge’s superior performance in our potential customers’ business.

“In completing this round of work, we had two key objectives.

“Firstly, to ensure that the flow sheet developed for the Mahenge concentrator preserves the integrity of the flake and does not impair spheronising performance.

“Secondly, to demonstrate that offtake partners can achieve industry leading performance using our flake in their existing facilities.

“This underpins our price point and volumes in our pricing framework agreements.

“Conducting a large-scale spheronising trial using industry standard equipment allows us to assess how initial laboratory results obtained during the Pre-Feasibility Study in 2017…scale up in the industrial context that our customers operate in.

“For our customers to be able to replicate the best-in-class spheronising results, that are up to a 50 per cent improvement on current yields, while able to replicate results obtained in highly controlled laboratory conditions by skilled researchers, with no modifications to their processes, is simply stunning.

“Concentrate used for these trials was produced at the Chinese pilot plant where the design flowsheet intended for the Mahenge graphite project was demonstrated.

“The exceptional spheronising yields obtained in the trial show that the planned flowsheet does not damage our flake.

“This talks to the unique geological advantage of Mahenge graphite, and the diligence applied to design and trials to optimise and de-risk our flowsheet before construction.

“With the completion of this technical work, we can confidently focus on completing our financing discussions and documenting the shareholder agreement with the Tanzanian Government.”





Renascor Resources produces Positive Process Design Test Results

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Renascor Resources (ASX: RNU) announced results of recent process design tests undertaken at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Siviour graphite project in South Australia.

Renascor Resources said the test were carried out on Siviour graphite concentrates using the caustic roasting purification process, producing results the company declared has provided support for the proposed spherical graphite operation, as described in Renascor’s Siviour Spherical Graphite Pre-Feasibility Study that was released in February.

Renascor explained that Spherical Graphite must generally be purified to at least 99.95 per cent total carbon (TC) to be used in lithium-ion battery anodes.

Renascor’s previous Spherical Graphite purification programs included tests involving both caustic roasting, as well as hydrofluoric acid purification.

In both cases, Renascor produced +99.95 per cent TC, battery-grade anode material from Siviour graphite concentrates.

For the Spherical PFS, Renascor adopted a caustic roasting technique that combined Siviour graphite concentrates with a caustic solution and roasted them at low temperature before being leached with hydrochloric acid.

The tests produced +99.95 per cent TC, battery-grade anode material, with an average grade of 99.965 per cent TC.

The company considers the results of additional caustic roast test programs important for its strategy to produce purified Spherical Graphite by confirming that Siviour graphite concentrates are amenable to caustic roast purification to achieve +99.95 per cent TC, battery-grade graphite.

The recent tests also validated process design parameters adopted in the Spherical PFS and suggest potential operational costs savings through reduced roasting time and reagent consumption.

The recent test work also demonstrates that these results can be achieved through the more environmentally friendly caustic roasting process.

“The Spherical PFS demonstrated strong potential for Renascor to produce competitively-priced, purified spherical graphite for the growing market for lithium-ion battery anodes,” Renascor Resources managing director David Christensen said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The results today offer further confirmation that Siviour can achieve these competitive margins through the use of a more environmentally friendly caustic roasting purification process, which avoids the use of hydrofluoric acid.

“With nearly all natural flake spherical graphite used in lithium-ion batteries currently sourced from Chinese production facilities using hydrofluoric acid, these results demonstrate Siviour’s potential to offer strategic diversification of supply in a manner that is both cost-competitive and environmentally sensible.”





Piedmont Lithium Updates Scoping Study

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) reported results of an updated Scoping Study for the company’s vertically integrated lithium hydroxide chemical project located in North Carolina, USA.

The updated Scoping Study included a steady-state 22,700 tonnes per annum lithium hydroxide (LiOH) chemical plant supported by a mine/concentrator producing 160,000 tonnes per annum of six per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) spodumene concentrate.

By-products quartz, feldspar, and mica will provide credits to the cost of lithium production.

The Scoping Study features:

Integrated project to produce 22,700 tonnes per annum of LiOH;
25-year project life with two years of concentrate-only sales and 23 years of integrated operations plus more than 100 per cent increase in life-of-project LiOH production compared with prior studies;
First quartile operating costs, including lithium hydroxide cash costs of US$3,105 per tonne (AISC of US$3,565 per tonne) and spodumene concentrate cash costs of US$199 per tonne (AISC of US$238 per tonne);
Exceptional project economics of NPV of US$1.45 billion, after-tax IRR of 34 per cent, and steady-state annual average EBITDA of US$298 million;
Mine/Concentrator engineering and metallurgical testwork completed to PFS-level; and
Conventional technology selection in all project aspects.

The integrated Piedmont project is projected to have an average life of project all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of approximately $3,565 per tonne, including royalties and net of by-product credits, which the company claims should position it as the industry’s lowest-cost producer.

Piedmont believes the Scoping Study demonstrates the integrated project’s strong commercial potential, and now puts the company in a strong position to engage in discussions around future financing of the project, including with prospective strategic and off-take partners.

“We are very pleased with the results of the updated Scoping Study, which reflect the benefits of a 25-year mine life, a refined concentrator flow sheet and PFS-level engineering and metallurgy,” Piedmont Lithium president and CEO Keith D. Phillips said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The economic benefit of developing an integrated lithium chemical business in North Carolina, USA is clear, driven by the exceptional infrastructure and human resource advantages of our location, as well as the competitive royalty and tax regime offered in the United States.

“Recent corporate transactions (i.e. Wesfarmers/Kidman and Albemarle/Wodgina) have reinforced the wisdom of the company’s integrated business strategy.

“We will continue to progress our Mine/Concentrator through the permitting and feasibility processes, but we will now redouble our efforts on the strategic front by accelerating our lithium hydroxide testwork and intensifying the initial strategic discussions we have had with a broad array of potential strategic, offtake and financial partners.”






Salt Lake Potash Secures Lake Way Funding

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Salt Lake Potash (ASX: SO4) announced that project financing for Stage 1 of the company’s Lake Way project is to be funded by Taurus Funds Management.

Salt Lake Potash said Taurus Funds Management is to provide US$150 million project financing for the Lake Way project.

The company said this was an important step in progressing the development and financing of the Lake Way project.

The deal follows recent equity raises totalling $27.65 million and the staged project financing enables the company to complete the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS), conclude the acquisition of strategic tenements from Blackham Resources (ASX: BLK) and continue early construction works to advance the Lake Way project prior to the drawdown of the main Project Development Facility (PDF).

Salt Lake Potash has made steady progress developing the Lake Way project and has made substantial construction progress over the past few months.

The company claimed the project milestones it has achieved as being healthy for the wider SOP industry in Australia.

These include the completion of the first Commercial Scale on-lake evaporation pond and the commencement of the evaporation process with the dewatering of the super saturated brine from Williamson Pit.

The Stage 1 facility will enable the company to progress works into the second stage of construction being the continued expansion of the extensive on-lake evaporation pond and trench network.

“This is an exciting development for Salt Lake Potash and its stakeholders, providing a clear runway for the company to progress the construction of the Lake Way project,” Salt Lake Potash chief executive officer Tony Swiericzuk said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Salt Lake Potash is delighted to have entered into this long-term partnership with Taurus and we look forward to working with them through our Bankable Feasibility Study and as we continue the construction at Lake Way.

“Taurus’ commitment is a strong endorsement for the Lake Way project and the exceptional team that has been built.”





Genesis Minerals Welcomes Cornerstone Investment from Alkane Resources

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Genesis Minerals (ASX: GMD) secured a $6 million cornerstone investment by Australian gold producer Alkane Resources (ASX: ALK).

Genesis minerals said the Alkane investment was part of a $7.5 million capital raising initiative aimed at fast-tracking the next phase of resource and exploration drilling at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Ulysses gold project in Western Australia.

Genesis said the proceeds of the capital raising would strengthen its balance sheet and allow it to progress a multi-pronged exploration and development strategy at Ulysses including resource in-fill work, resource extension drilling and ongoing Feasibility Study work, while also pursuing other strategic acquisition and growth opportunities in the Leonora region.

“We are pleased to have secured a strategic partnership with a prominent and well-regarded Australian gold miner in Alkane to become our cornerstone shareholder through this landmark capital raising initiative,” Genesis Minerals managing director Michael Fowler said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The proceeds of this placement will de-risk our balance sheet and give us the flexibility to pursue an aggressive exploration, development and growth strategy in the Leonora region, underpinned by our existing high-grade Resource at the Ulysses gold project.

“We will pursue a multi-pronged strategy which includes in-fill drilling to de-risk the Resource and underpin ongoing Feasibility studies, extensional drilling to grow the Resource base and regional exploration to expand our overall Resource base.

“At the same time, we will have the capacity to pursue acquisition opportunities where these make sense, to expand our sphere of influence as an emerging gold company.

“We welcome Alkane as a new major shareholder and partner, with a wealth of knowledge and skills that is now available to Genesis.”




A New Name Reflects Portable Spectral Services Move Into International Marketplace

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: The name has changed but the quality of products and back-up service remains second to none as the company formerly known as Portable XRF Services is now going by the moniker of Portable Spectral Services.

Portable Spectral Services announced the change of name stating it reflects the growth it has achieved in recent times from the delivery of its services and instrumentation across an industrial spectrum.

The relaunch includes a new company Website and expansion into the Canadian market.

“The new name – Portable Spectral Services – comes at a key crossroads for our company,” Portable Spectral Services managing director Christabel Brand said.

“We aim for the new name to reflect the expansion of services, industries and additional instrumentation the company has begun to offer in the past year.”

“The name change echoes our current growth into the Canadian market, in addition to our ever-expanding range of business objectives.

“In conjunction to this rename, we have also launched a new website to reflect our evolution as a company.”

The change of name to Portable Spectral Services will be effective immediately, reflected in branding, emails, and information provided by the company.

Although everything seems new the company assures its loyal customer base that the essence of the company remains the same.

“The company continues to offer portable XRF related services, however, we have expanded into areas such as Raman, FTIR, micro-XRF and furthering opportunities with NIR,” explained business manager Lauren Steen.

“We are continuing to be committed to delivering dynamic services to our clients, with a dedicated approach to research and development for industry and academic application, both in Australia and Canada.”

The best way to learn about what the company has to offer is, of course, by clicking the link below to visit the new Portable Spectral Services website.


Lithium Australia Forms Partnership to Market LFP Lithium Batteries

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced it is forming a business partnership with Chinese battery producer DLG Battery Co. Ltd (DLG).

Lithium Australia said the partnership would be launching a new range of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in the Australian market, with a focus on industry-scale energy storage systems (ESS).

The company’s new marketing division will be known as Soluna Australia Pty Ltd and will provide technical support, customer service and, importantly, a range of lithium-iron-phosphate (often referred to as lithium-ferro-phosphate or LFP) battery options for greater safety and superior performance in ESS applications.

From a new Australian-based facility, Soluna Australia will supply and service a range of energy-storage products – from residential energy-storage through to industrial energy storage units.

Custom products for applications such as large-scale storage (including microgrids), will be provided to bespoke specifications.

Lithium Australia said that establishing an Australian warehousing and technical facility will provide greater certainty for ESS users currently relying on offshore suppliers.

The company noted that Australia leads the world in the installation of rooftop solar and domestic energy storage units and has also led the world in the installation of utility-scale ESS and the development of microgrids relying on battery storage for load levelling.

Remote hybrid-power applications can allow consumers the advantage of substituting diesel generating capacity with renewables, provided an efficient battery pack forms part of the installation.

Soluna Australia is assessing the potential for installing a number of hybrid power management systems for evaluation in the local energy market.

“Our partnership with DLG, a leading Chinese battery producer, provides an opportunity to establish our new division, Soluna Australia, as a leading Australian-based provider of LIBs and technical solutions to the fast-growing ESS market that sits in our own backyard,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“In addition, Lithium Australia is well on the way to meeting the requirements that will enable VSPC to commercialise its cathode materials and provide Australia with access to purpose-built LFP battery storage, the safest and most effective option for energy storage systems.”