Thundelarra Stakes Exploration Discovery Claims

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Thundelarra (ASX: THX) CEO Tony Lofthouse gave delegates at the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle something to think about. By Jack Baker

“We’re a gold explorer,” Lofthouse informed the crowd.

“We’re finding native, visible, fresh, free gold in fresh rock at 200-odd metres vertical extending below the existing operations…it’s not little stuff that’s coming out the near surface.

“This is real rock, real gold in the rock and it means there’s a primary deposit there and that’s what’s significant for us.

“We have money in the game and it’s not freebies that have been handed out…it’s hard earned cash in the company which is why we’re convinced that what we have is worth pursuing.”

The crux of the presentation was what the company believes to be a major discovery in the Garden Gully site.

Lofthouse said results of drilling of the Lydia and Crown Prince sites at Garden Gully show near-surface material he thinks they can get to.

He said that while some deposits may be deep; they are showing that below the existing workings they are still seeing a high grade perpetuated below the historical work.

He also noted that Garden Gully was situated close to the established Andy Well and Bluebird gold plants, with the ability to arrange toll treatment operations for quick monetisation.

“If we can do that we can start self-funding further exploration to establish the potential that exists unquestionably at depth at this deposit,” he said.

One thing that Lofthouse found interesting was observation of gold within arsenopyrite.

While its presence complicates mineralisation, he noted that it was rare you get any deposit of size without some structural complexity.

“We own our interests and our destiny 100 per cent and the bits that we don’t own are freebies for us,” he said.

“They don’t have any drain on any of our capital, either intellectual or financial.”





Alloy Resources Believes Buyback puts Gold Project in Better Place

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Speaking at the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, Alloy Resources (ASX: AYR) Executive Chairman Andrew Viner was optimistic the company is ready to start moving forward after an extended down period. By Jack Baker

“What we’ve tried to do with Alloy is get quality projects,” he told the conference audience.

“We’ve got projects adjacent to major world-class mining centres, we’ve got large land holdings, really good geology, established mineralisation and in all cases are underexplored.

“We’re looking for gold which remains fabulous, particularly in Australia.

“We’ve got a very exciting new high-grade discovery that’s happened next door.

“We’ve got multiple exploration targets that are ready to go with no impediments apart from lots of rain.”

Alloy Resources managed to buyback 11 per cent of its Horse Well Joint Venture from partner Doray Minerals (ASX: DRM) for $500,000 in order to attain a 51 per cent majority stake and retake control of the project in January, which Viner believes could become one of Australia’s premier gold mines.

The venture involves 1000 square kilometres of greenstone belt just 50 kilometres north of Northern Star’s 220,000 ounce per annum Jundee gold mine in the Wiluna district.

The company had been relatively dormant for the past 16 months during a lack of funding.

“There was no risk capital, the bad old days, unlike today,” Viner explained.

“We couldn’t find the funding and had to farm it out.”

Speaking later to The Resources Roadhouse, Viner said now that Alloy has the project back it can return to mining highly graded prospects that were too small for Doray to look at.

“Doray was looking for a big standalone…trying to find a million ounce, two-million-ounce deposit,” he said.

“We can go back to these highly graded prospects that have always been there that are perfect for Alloy.”

He also mentioned that with the project returned to the company’s management it could deal with larger players that were less likely to speak with a competitor in Doray.

“We can talk to Northern Star now,” Viner declared.

“The main thing for us is to create value that is going to get our share price up, play the game, maybe we end up being a target for Northern Star…we can do that, Doray couldn’t really do that.”

Viner pointed out that Doray possessing a clawback option in the case of a major discovery isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“If that happens I’d be quite happy being free carried at 49 per cent, he said.

“Ee made sure that if there’s smaller discoveries we can develop them.

“There’s no impediment to us finding and developing smaller deposits.”

Viner said the Celia shear going through the middle of the greenstone belt was a major focus for the company.

“The Celia Shear actually has 300,000 ounces, it’s a bit deep and there’s quite a lot of depletion through there, but there’s a lot of gold,” he said.

“You combine that with our Horse Well deposits and you’ve already got yourself a mineralised structure with 380,000 ounces on it.”

The recent discovery of the Coralie Jean prospect was a cause of excitement for Viner.

“Lo and behold a little company called Overland Resources made a discovery late last year…it’s located in an exploration license that we completely surround,” Viner said.

“Fifty-five samples have averaged 17.3 grams of gold per tonne, it goes over 400 metres, an absolutely brilliant prospect-type discovery.”

Viner also touched on the company’s large cobalt and gold endowment near Broken Hill.

“Of course, cobalt is a very high demand metal for battery technology…you might have heard of Cobalt Blue, they have an absolutely huge deposit, 50,000 tonnes of cobalt,” he said.

“It really has a very good chance of being a major cobalt development in Australia, fortuitously Alloy landed with a 100 per cent-owned very large block of land right in the middle with the same geology and some signs of mineralisation.

“I didn’t really get a chance to stress that we have a great chance of finding something,

“Because the two players either side of us are at pre-feasibility stage, I’m really exploring to find more high-grade feed for those things…I can definitely add value there as well.

“We’ve got a really hot exploration project there, I hope you can see that, we’ve got the board that can do it.

“We’re in gold, we’re in cobalt: great places to be, we’ve got seriously strategic projects, we’ve got really big targets, we’re well funded, we’ve got a lot of support and there’s going to be a lot of activity over the coming year.”





2018 RIU Explorers Conference Day Two

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: The Resources Roadhouse continues its coverage of the 2018 RIU Explorers Conference.


Australian Mines: Potential Prime Cobalt Player

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Addressing a crowd of potential investors at the 2018 RIU Explorers Conference, Australian Mines (ASX: AUZ) managing director Benjamin Bell declared the company’s status as the most advanced cobalt-nickel-scandium producer in Australia. By Jack Baker

Australian Mines announced on Monday that it has entered into a $5 billion off-take agreement with Korean company, SK Innovation.

The contract, for up to 13 years, is for SK to purchase 100 per cent of the product from Australian Mines’ Sconi plant in Queensland, totalling roughly $400 million worth of cobalt-nickel per year.

Part of the agreement is for SK to provide funding and to potentially take a 20 per cent stake at a 30 per cent premium.

Bell emphasised that the arrangement was more than a simple off-take relationship.

“The reason why we did this deal with SK, we’ve spoken to a number of companies, car battery manufacturers and the like,” he told the full auditorium.

“It’s not just a buyer seller relationship, it’s a partnership.

“They’ll help build the plant, come onto our board and take the product…it de-risks the project, it means it gets built.

“This is the only one in the country that shows a clear path into production.”

Bell admitted that many cobalt nickel companies have forecast growth in battery-metal demand based on the promise of the electric car but emphasised that Australian Mines is already there.

“Our cobalt-nickel is specifically going into that car,” he said.

“This is not a picture of a conceptual car…it’s going straight into Mercedes-Benz via the SK plant in Hungary.”

The company has constructed a demonstration plant in Perth for investors.

Capable of producing nickel and cobalt sulphate for sale, the plant is also capable of producing scandium oxide for other interested off-take parties.

Australian Mines has additional cobalt projects in the pipeline with the Sconi project essentially completed.

The second is in Flemington where it begins drilling next month with a third near Broken Hill.

Bell said the company would inevitably be compared to Clean TeQ (ASX: CLQ), Australia’s largest cobalt company, but iterated his belief in Australian Mines’ standing as the most advanced.

“In addition to getting ours in production probably first and being able to show a clear pathway to that, you’re also getting the upside for more than one project,” he stated.




Pilbara Minerals Wins 2018 Craig Oliver Award

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) has been awarded the Craig Oliver award on the second morning of the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle. By Jack Baker

The award is presented each year at the Explorers Conference in memory of Craig Oliver who was killed when the plane carrying board members of Sundance Resources (ASX: SDL) crashed in the Congo in 2010.

The award is given to the company that is considered to exemplify an all-round excellence in several fields over the past year, including exploration, mining, corporate, market results, environment and community.

Accepting the award, Pilbara Managing Director and CEO Ken Brinsden said it was an honour to be nominated and humbling to win amongst the other esteemed nominees, adding that companies needed to take a leap of faith necessary to succeed in the mining industry.

“Our industry only thrives when people are prepared to take risk, to spend money in the ground and to continue to build resource,” Brinsden said.

“That’s where Pilbara had a fantastic head start, we had our founding directors and, in particular John Young and Neil Biddle, spending money on the ground when it wasn’t sexy to be spending money in Lithium.

“It wouldn’t happen unless they made that original investment, taken that first risk and been prepared to back the quality in the project.”

The emerging Lithium and Tantalum producer is busy bringing its world-class, 100 per cent-owned Pilgangoora project into production as demand for battery metals to power electric vehicles surges.

Brendan Oliver, presenting the award on behalf of the Oliver family, said that Pilbara Minerals ticked every box that Craig Oliver strived for and it is moving forward in a way that all companies in the state and country should aspire to.

The other nominees included Gold Road Resources, Sandfire Resources, Syrah Resources and Xanadu Mines.


Genesis Minerals Upgrades Gold Deposit as Drilling Commences

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Genesis Minerals (ASX: GMD) announced that recent drilling of the company’s Ulysses gold deposit has shown a 55 per cent increase in contained ounces and a 31 per cent increase in average grade. By Jack Baker

Genesis Minerals declared the total Ulysses Mineral Deposit now stands at 321,000 ounces of contained gold from 3.3 million tonnes at 3 grams per tonne gold.

The company described the results of its recent drilling program completed over the second half of 2017 as highly successful.

Genesis said the results had confirmed and extended a number of high-grade gold zones estimated at 1.2 million tonnes at 5.5g/t gold for 215,000 ounces.

“The significant gold endowment within these plunging high-grade shoots clearly has the potential to form the core of a significant long-term underground mining operation,” Genesis Minerals managing director Michael Fowler said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Importantly, we now have a clear understanding of the geometry and controls on the mineralisation, which has allowed our exploration team to focus on the next phase of drilling, set to begin shortly.

“Ulysses is demonstrating all the attributes that we see in many gold systems in the Eastern and North-eastern Goldfields. Put simply, it continues to grow and improve at depth the more we drill.

“We are very excited about the potential to build a very significant gold inventory at Ulysses and we are looking forward to seeing the results from the next round of drilling, which commences later this week.”

The company is commencing 4000 metres of further resource expansion drilling to test potential depth extensions to the Ulysses resource and believe that strong potential exists in the hanging wall to the north of the Ulysses shear.

At the RIU Explorers conference in Fremantle, Fowler elaborated on what the next stage aimed to achieve for the company.

“What we’re looking to do is just expand the current resource between the 100 and 200 reduced level, it’s really just expanding,” he told The Resources Roadhouse.

“We’re really comfortable with what we’ve got in the top 200 metres and we expect it to continue at depth without any issues.

“We’ve done a lot of geological modelling and that shows that mineralisation will extend at depth and there’s no geological reason why that’s not the case.

“We’re pretty confident in being able to significantly expand the resource in the next round of drilling.”



Pioneer Resources Claims Discovery of Microcline in Deposit Overburden

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Pioneer Resources (ASX: PIO) announced the discovery of a potassium feldspar (microcline) deposit. By Jack Baker

Pioneer Resources claimed the discovery from results of two diamond core holes drilled in the company’s 100 per cent-owned Sinclair Zone caesium deposit in Western Australia.

Pioneer discovered the microcline dominating the caesium deposit’s overburden while moving towards open pit operations for extracting the constrained and high value mineral pollucite.

“The point of the drilling was to quantify very precisely the pollucite, that’s the high value product,” Pioneer Resources managing director David Crook told The Resources Roadhouse on the sidelines at the RIU Explorers Conference.

“Geologically that looks like it’s behaving itself and we’re gaining a lot more knowledge of the pegmatite that coexists with it and the microcline is just a bonus.

“Prior to us realising it was microcline we thought the overburden was waste. That was what we were going to mine and now all of that is a saleable product.”

Pioneer said the deposit was discovered using the low-iron sample preparation technique required for the microcline analysis.

Of the 82 samples submitted from the 2 drill holes, 61 have returned analyses consistent with a published A-grade Microcline specification.

The company also believed it was noteworthy that microcline has been recorded in over 30 drill holes of the Sinclair Zone pit but had yet to be analysed using the low-iron sample preparation technique.

Pioneer’s core focus is to advance the Sinclair Zone Caesium deposit towards development.

Crook said the company aims to proceed with open-pit mining operations to extract the product in mid-2018.





Kin Mining Chairman Acknowledges Turmoil

CONFERENCE CALLER: Pitching the investment case for Kin Mining (ASX: KIN) at the 2018 RIU Explorers conference in Fremantle, chairman Trevor Dixon briefly alluded to the company’s recent struggles. By Jack Baker

“Kin Mining is currently going through some growing pains with its business and a lot of you may want to know about that,” was all he said on the recent resignation of the company’s former managing director Don Harper.

The Kin Mining board of directors accepted Harper’s resignation and on Tuesday announced a restructure of the board on the company’s website.

“The company is pleased to announce the appointment to the Board of Mr Brian Dawes as non-executive director,” it said in its ASX announcement.

“The company is also seeking to appoint an independent chairperson, and managing director as part of the restructure and is currently in discussions with suitably qualified applicants and subject to due process; the terms and conditions of these appointments will be advised in due course.”

Dixon will continue as chairman in the interim until a new chairperson and managing director can be appointed.





NSX Pitches its Case as an Exchange Alternative

ON THE ROAD: On the opening day of the RIU Explorers Conference, National Stock Exchange (NSX) CEO and managing director Ann Bowering gave her reasoning on why the assembled companies should list with the alternative securities market. By Jack Baker

The NSX believes it can compete with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and among global markets.

NSX recently closed offices in Newcastle and Melbourne and, under a new management team, opened its current head office in Sydney with the purpose of engaging with stakeholders and to demonstrate its role and relevance.

Currently trading more than 80 securities totalling over $4.5 billion via participating brokers that include Patersons, State One, Morgans and Macquarie, the NXS has updated its old direct access model and stocks can now be exchanged over an IRIS terminal the same you would with ASX.

“Our strategy is very clear,” Bowering told the large first day audience.

“Build a globally competitive exchange with a vibrant liquid and diverse debt and equity market competing head to head with ASX to attract the best listings in our market.”

Bowering believes the transparency and access of the NSX make it a viable alternative.

She stated that the NSX team works very closely with companies, giving the best chance of a successful listing and opportunity for a higher profile.

A key point of difference between the two exchanges is minimum spread requirements of 50 shareholders, targeted at allowing companies to access capital earlier, with lower cost and without the need to invest in excessive distribution.

She said their status as a dedicated listing and trading venue for equities gave them an advantage: “That’s what we eat, sleep, live and breathe.”

Bowering gave assurances that the corporate governance expectations and prospectus requirements of disclosure are the same no matter what exchange they are listed on.

“It goes to the heart of market integrity and investor confidence which underpins liquidity,” she said.

Australia has had a single stock market for the last 30 years, being the only advanced global market without a second exchange.

Bowering said the fact that the ASX top 200 has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years showed inefficiency in the allocation of capital.

“On a global basis Australia has the fourth largest pool of investible funds and many fund managers look offshore to allocate their new capital,” she continued.

“It is important that the ASX has competition to facilitate innovation and broaden investment opportunities in the marketplace.”

Bowering said the ASX has made it clear who their target is: companies with a market capitalisation of $50 million to $500 million in the technology sector who come from foreign markets.

Alternatively, the sweet spot of the NSX was described as companies at IPO with market capitalisation ranging from $3 million to $50 million with proven growth potential and investment stories that resonate with potential backers.

Bowering declared that the NXS has put immediate focus on feeling out the resources sector of Western Australia.

“That’s why we’re here in WA,” she said.

“Because we know where Australia grows…we think there’s an opportunity in this sector.”





Vertical Events Visits Vancouver

CONFERENCE CALLER: Investment conference specialists, Vertical Events manager Doug Bowie reports on the company’s annual trek to Vancouver in January to attend the Vancouver Resources Investment Conference (VRIC).

VRIC is run by Cambridge House International and Vertical Events have been the agent for this conference since 2009.

The VRIC has been running since 1997 and this year attracted over 8500 delegates (mostly investors), 330 Exhibitors, and 60 speakers.

Of these exhibitors there were eight Australian companies exhibiting with two companies giving corporate presentations and two company CEOs appearing as experts on panels.

The Exhibiting Companies were:

Azure Minerals Ltd                         (ASX: AZS)
Blackstone Resources Ltd             (ASX: BSX)
Heron Resources Ltd                     (ASX: HRR)
Polar – X Ltd                                   (ASX: PXX)
S2 Resources Ltd                            (ASX: S2R)
Transatlantic Mining Ltd
White Rock Minerals Ltd             (ASX: WRM)
Xanadu Mining Ltd                        (ASX: XAM)

Held on a Sunday and Monday, the VRIC started early on the Sunday morning with three of the most well-known newsletter writers (Frank Holmes, Rick Rule, and Marin Katusa) facing off with their best company predictions to an audience of over 800 people whilst at least another 200 people were still in line waiting to get in to the conference.

Gold was still and clearly, the major commodity represented in the Exhibition area with copper, uranium and lithium quite a fair way back in numbers but still well represented.

In line with tradition, Sunday at the VRIC is very much retail investment focussed with casual dress the order of the day.

It closed with a debate on Cryptocurrency vs Gold which filled the main auditorium.

In between there were plenty of keynote presentations, company presentations, and panel sessions.

Tony Rovira of Azure Minerals presented on its Mexican operations and left a very positive impact on all the investors that attended.

Wayne Taylor of Heron Resources followed and gave an informative presentation on the company’s Woodlawn project.

Meanwhile in Auditorium one: Matt Gill’s White Rock Minerals were part of the Alaskan panel entitled ‘Alaska: North to Opportunity’.

Overall Day One was highly successful and everyone was kept entertained by the presentations or by the NFL playoffs that were televised at about four exhibition booths at the conference.

Day Two came and the suits were out in force.

Brokers and funds from the BC area as well as the United States and Toronto were in abundance and looking for bargains.

Part of the value options were seen in the Cobalt Panel where Scott Williamson of Blackstone Minerals provided a great overview of its cobalt project in British Columbia.

Overall, the companies that travelled for the conference were all happy with the VRIC.

“For a first-timer to the VRIC, I did find the format and location ideal,” White Rock Minerals managing director and CEO Matt Gill said.

“With not too many parallel sessions, I was able to attend those I wished to, and still leave room to man my booth and wander the exhibition hall to meet and network with other companies and suppliers.

“With White Rock’s globally significant zinc VMS project in Alaska, and plans to be on the ground this season, the VRIC was held at an ideal time and location for us.

“With over 300 companies and some 8,500 attendees, it provided great exposure and the chance to meet many all in the one location.”

The conference wound up at about 5pm that day and all Monday the Vancouver Round Up run by the AMEBC was in the Exhibition hall next door.

This is another 6000 plus delegate event that looks at the technology and geology behind many projects in Canada and the Americas.

Australian companies featured in the core shed were Solgold on the first two days and Xanadu Minerals and Blackstone Minerals on the final 2 days.

Over the past few years, the week in Vancouver has got bigger and better with many other events evolving including the Metals Investor Forum on the Friday and Saturday before the VRIC featuring over 20 companies and 1000 investors and an event in Whistler later in the week as well.

The general feeling is that the resources industry is alive and well in Canada, but unusually, lagging a little behind Australia due to the confusion in the investment market supplied by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and Cannabis stocks.

Australian markets have been less exposed to these markets giving the resources market better access to capital and a bigger spotlight.

Long may that continue.