NTM Gold Encounters Further High-Grades to Increase Hub Strike

THE DRILL SERGEANT: NTM Gold (ASX: NTM) increased the mineralised strike at the Hub prospect within the company’s 100 per cent-owned Redcliffe gold project near Leonora in Western Australia.

Middle Island Kicks Off Major Sandstone Drilling Campaign

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Middle Island Resources (ASX: MDI) has commenced the first in a planned series of drilling programs to be undertaken at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Sandstone gold project in Western Australia.

Matsa Resources Releases Final Red October First Round Drill Results

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Matsa Resources (ASX: MAT) announced results from the final three holes of grade-control drilling undertaken at the company’s Red October gold mine in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.

Galan Lithium Returns ‘Remarkable’ Lithium Results From Hombre Muerto

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN) added to previous news with the announcement of another exceptional lithium assay result from the company’s Hombre Muerto lithium brine project in Argentina.




Cassini Resources Discovers New Mineralised Prospect at Yarawindah

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Cassini Resources (ASX: CZI) has been encouraged by early drilling results from the company’s 80 per cent-owned Yarawindah Brook project located northeast of Perth near New Norcia in Western Australia.

Saturn Metals Drills Major Step Out Result at Apollo Hill

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Saturn Metals (ASX: STN) released results from a Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling campaign undertaken at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Apollo Hill gold project in Western Australia.

Lithium Australia Patent Applications Published by WIPO

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia has had two patent applications published by The International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Impact Minerals Identifies Porphyry Copper-Gold Prospects

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Impact Minerals (ASX: IPT) has identified four undrilled priority prospects for porphyry copper-gold deposits at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Commonwealth project in the copper-gold Lachlan Fold Belt in New South Wales.




Northern Minerals Samples Encouraging Copper Results at John Galt

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) achieved high-grade copper assays following a selective rock chip sampling program at the company’s 100 per cent-owned John Galt project, Kununurra in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Musgrave Minerals Continues to Line Up Gold Hits at Cue

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Musgrave Minerals (ASX: MGV) reported further high-grade gold results from reverse circulation (RC) drilling at the company’s Cue gold project in the Murchison district of Western Australia.

Galan Lithium Confirms Pata Pila Lithium Grades

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN) announce further lithium assay results from recent sampling performed at the Pata Pila tenement within the company’s Hombre Muerto lithium brine project in Argentina.




Breaker Resources Launches Bombora Drill Campaign

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Breaker Resources (ASX: BRB) has commenced a major reverse circulation (RC) and diamond drilling program designed to grow the one million-ounce Bombora Resource within the company’s Lake Roe gold project, east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Ausgold Commences RC Drilling at Katanning

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Ausgold Limited (ASX: AUC) is spending its recently-raised $2.4 million on an exploration drilling program at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Katanning gold project in Western Australia.

Auroch Minerals Historic Review Highlights Nickel Potential

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Auroch Minerals (ASX: AOU) completed a review of historic data that it claims has confirmed thick high-grade massive nickel sulphide mineralisation at the company’s recently-acquired Leinster project in Western Australia.

Marenica Energy Widens Koppies 2 Palaeochannel

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Marenica Energy (ASX: MEY) has completed a Phase 3 reverse circulation (RC) drilling program to extend the width of the palaeochannel on the company’s Koppies tenement in Namibia, Africa.

Renascor Resources to Raise $1.4 Million to Advance Siviour Development

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Renascor Resources (ASX: RNU) has received firm commitments to raise $1.4 million to fund the advancement of the company’s Siviour graphite project near the coast of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

Lithium Australia and Neometals Leading the Australian LIB Recycling Pack

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: There is little doubt that the world is currently in the thrall of the lithium-ion battery (LIB).

They help us survive the modern struggles that we encounter on a daily basis, such as maintaining a charge on our mobile phones or computer-related devices, thus keeping us contacted with the rest of the world and our family members in the next room.

They are, presently, our greatest source of portable power.

They are also, ironically, creating an environmental nightmare.

Analysts who like to make themselves important have made some big predictions in recent years, especially in regard to the market penetration of LIBs, particularly in the electric vehicle (EV) sector.

Through all the noise in this space, it has generally filtered through that it is likely that the availability of spent batteries will rise to more than seven million tonnes annually over the next 20 years.

Diligently, we sort our household rubbish each week, or fortnight, depending on the generosity of your local council, into different levels of importance, filling any number of bins to assuage our collective waste related guilt.

On a global basis, however, only around nine per cent of spent LIBs are recycled to keep them out of landfill and recover valuable metals.

In Australia, which is supposedly one of the recycling powerhouses, the recycling rate is embarrassing, some would say woeful, coming in at less than three per cent.

What this all means is that the world is missing out on a great opportunity – that being the large quantity of batteries discarded globally actually represents a potentially significant resource.

Australia is a long way behind the countries that are presently leading the battery recycling wars.

Belgium, South Korea, China and Canada recycle the most batteries, with the metals they contain generally recovered by smelting – or as it is referred to by those in the know – pyrometallurgical processing.

Pyrometallurgical processing of spent LIBs can efficiently recover nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese from LIBs, but not the lithium or graphite.

Research and development into the science by Western Australia-based battery recycling company, Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) realised that a potential alternative to the downsides associated with pyrometallurgical processing is to take a hydrometallurgical approach.

Lithium Australia is developing a hydrometallurgical technique that recovers all metals, including lithium, from spent LIBs.

Lithium Australia has openly declared that its corporate intentions include shoring up an ethical and sustainable supply of energy metals to the battery industry, thus enhancing energy security in the process.

The company is eager to create a circular battery economy and has highlighted the recycling of old lithium-ion batteries to new is intrinsic to this plan.

In October 2019, Lithium Australia announced it had increased its equity in Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd (EA) to 23.9 per cent.

Envirostream is the only company in Australia with the integrated capacity to collect, sort, shred and separate all the components of spent LIBs.

Another string to Lithium Australia’s LIB bow is it 100 per cent-owned subsidiary company, VSPC Ltd that has developed advanced processes for manufacturing lithium-ferro-phosphate (LFP) cathode powders at its R&D and pilot plant facility in Brisbane, Queensland.

The cathode powders produced by VSPC possess simple nanotechnology that produces superior battery cathodes, provides control of composition and particle size in a precise manner and highly reliable quality control with low production costs.

Recent evaluation of VSPC’s Gen 4 LFP cathode material was undertaken at Chinese battery producer DLG Battery Co., Ltd. That saw the materials assessed in a commercial 18650 battery-cell format under a range of electrochemical and temperature conditions and subjected to long-term cycle testing.

The testing concluded that VSPC’s LFP material met DLG’s stringent specifications for use in LIB cells for both power and energy applications.

VSPC also received positive feedback from Japanese battery-cell producers, which are evaluating its LFP products at laboratory scale with the electrochemical performance of VSPC’s LFP material meeting the rigorous Japanese requirements.

“This year has seen a significant shift in the Chinese battery markets, with greater demand for LFP for use in short-range electric vehicle and energy-storage applications,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said.

“The test results from battery producers in China and Japan show clearly that the performance of VSPC cathode powders is comparable to other materials currently supplied for the production of LFP LIBs.

“We look forward to furthering our partnerships within the battery industry and, ultimately, supplying products that meet not only VSPC’s stringent quality specifications but those of its international customers.”

Lithium Australia anticipates the market for LFP to grow strongly in the next 10 years, due to its particular suitability for energy storage and certain types of transportation, which includes being a replacement for lead-acid batteries in various automotive applications and as back-up for power supplies.

Another Western Australian company that was an early battery recycling proponent is Neometals (ASX: NMT).

Neometals has been also carrying out LIB Pilot test-work, however its focus is the recovery of very high-purity (+99.9%) nickel-sulphate solution from the hydrometallurgical processing stage of its patent pending recycling technology.

The latest tests produced nickel recovery from shredded battery feed into nickel product that exceeded 98 per cent.

The Pilot test-work being is being undertaken on behalf of Neometals by SGS Canada Inc.

The work represents part of the pre-development activities for a proposed commercial LIB recycling venture targeting greater than 90 per cent recovery of LIB materials from electric vehicle and consumer electronics production scrap and end-of-life cells.

Neometals shredded and processed 2.3 tonnes of spent commercial LIBs during the initial Feed Preparation Stage of the Pilot test-work.

A total of 980 kilograms of mixed cathode and anode materials, known as Black Powder, fed the subsequent hydrometallurgical processing stage, from which chemical products are recovered and refined into high-purity cathode intermediate materials.

The Hydrometallurgical Processing stage leaches the Black Powder and sequentially recovers cathode materials, which are refined to generate high-purity chemical products for potential sale directly into the battery supply chain.

As the Pilot test-work program draws towards completion, it does so having recovered a suite of materials, including copper, manganese, cobalt and nickel-sulphates.

“The Pilot test-work continues to deliver very encouraging results that support the Neometals desire to sell high-purity cathode materials back into the battery supply chain,” Neometals managing director Chris Reed said.

“With provenance, ethical supply and material scarcity concerns, a sustainable, secure supply chain will be key for leaders in energy storage.

“Eco-friendly recycling will play that vital role and our development timing aligns well with global forecast cell capacity against the projected supply deficit in traditional mine-sourced battery minerals.”

Neometals said the purity and the recovery rates of the nickel product materially had exceeded its expectations, enabling it to tick off another milestone in the confirmation of the technical feasibility of the company’s proprietary process.

The company explained that the recovery of cobalt and nickel are key drivers of the project economics adding that the Pilot purity/recovery data strongly supports the validity of previous economic evaluations.

Neometals expects to hit its remains on schedule for completing the bulk of the Pilot stage by December 2019.

It is also expected that the recovery of lithium will be due to commence prior to year-end and be concluded in January 2020 along with outcomes from final purification and crystallisation to produce ultra-high purity, cathode materials.

Successful completion of the Pilot and confirmation of the mass-energy balances are the key technical considerations for SMS Group’s due diligence for a 50:50 joint venture decision.






St George Mining Encounters More Step-Out Results at Mt Alexander

THE DRILL SERGEANT: St George Mining (ASX: SGQ) released more results from ongoing exploration programs underway at the company’s Mt Alexander project in the north-eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.

St George is concentrating on shallow, high-grade nickel-copper sulphides it has discovered at the Cathedrals Belt to date, which it believes to be associated with mafic-ultramafic intrusions interpreted to have passed upwards from the Earth’s mantle through structures located in the northern margin of the Belt.

Deeper drilling to track the mineralised intrusive units down-plunge of the shallow deposits has intersected these units in their interpreted down-dip extension.

Subsequent downhole EM (DHEM) surveys the company has underway in these deeper holes have now identified multiple off-hole EM conductors, which St George consider to be excellent targets for the discovery of further nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation.

“These new EM targets from the deeper holes indicate that the large, high-grade mineral system at the Cathedrals Belt is ‘live’ at depth,” St George Mining executive chairman John Prineas said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“With all EM conductors drilled in the Cathedrals Belt confirmed as nickel-copper sulphides, the new EM conductors present a tremendous opportunity to make further discoveries and to confirm the continuation of mineralisation down-plunge.

“We are seeing increasing potential for significant mineralisation at depth, and are excited to be escalating our drill program to more intensely test this priority target area.”

MAD168 is the latest deep stratigraphic hole St George has completed at the Cathedrals Belt.

The hole was drilled to a downhole depth of 301 metres where it intersected 6.5m of nickel-copper sulphides from 227.1m downhole.

The sulphides were intersected in the interpreted down-dip continuation of the Investigators ultramafic unit.

MAD168 is a large 95m step-out to the north of the previously known mineralisation in MAD123 that St George claims has confirmed a large extension of the down-plunge strike of high-grade mineralisation at Investigators.

The breccia and stringer sulphides intersected by MAD168 suggest remobilisation from a larger and proximal source of massive nickel-copper sulphides.

This interpretation is given additional weight by the high chalcopyrite content of the sulphides in MAD168, a further indicator of proximal remobilised mineralisation.




Golden Rim Resources Accelerates Kouri Exploration

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Golden Rim Resources (ASX: GMR) is making exploration campaign progress at the company’s Kouri gold project in Burkina Faso.

Cygnus Gold and Gold Road JV Operating Smoothly

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Cygnus Gold (ASX: CY5) has been kept busy of late at the company’s Joint Ventures with Gold Road Projects, a wholly-owned subsidiary of gold producer Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR).

Comet Resources Identifies Priority Graphite Targets

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Comet Resources (ASX: CRL) has had an aerial electromagnetic survey (EM) carried out over the company’s Springdale graphite project in southern West Australia.

AMEC’s Overtures Result in WA Government Lithium Sector Review

IN THE LOBBY: The Western Australian lithium sector received a recent boost in the form of a supportive announcement from the State government.

AMEC’s Overtures Result in WA Government Lithium Sector Review

IN THE LOBBY: The Western Australian lithium sector received a recent boost in the form of a supportive announcement from the State government.

The WA government announced lithium royalty amendments to encourage downstream processing, a raft of changes it said would provide much needed support to the state’s battery materials sector.

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston announced a regulatory review would be undertaken that would include a high level of input from industry players, indicating that the McGowan Government will introduce a new royalty arrangement for lithium producers that will encourage downstream processing and manufacturing.

“The McGowan Government is committed to supporting Western Australia’s battery materials industry,” Johnston said.

“Updating the royalty arrangements provides a fairer system for all lithium producers and will enable Western Australia to move up the battery value chain beyond mining and processing.

“This will create more jobs and encourage innovation in meeting the needs of the growing demand for electric vehicles and battery storage systems.

“Western Australia is increasingly becoming an internationally attractive destination for downstream processing and manufacturing of lithium and other battery minerals.”

The Department declared that a five per cent feedstock royalty rate for lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate, where those are the first products sold and the feedstock is spodumene concentrate, will be introduced as soon as practicable.

The government believes this new royalty arrangement clears up any uncertainty regarding lithium royalties, compared to the previous regulations.

The new lithium feedstock royalty rate, introduced via amendment to Mining Regulations 1981, is hoped to ensure all lithium producers are treated equally, in turn encouraging further downstream processing of lithium in Western Australia.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) was one of the first to react to the announcement and it was not surprising that it was in a positive vien.

AMEC said it was a good result for the sector and was a response it was hoping to see from its suggestion to the government to introduce appropriate incentives to encourage development throughout the supply chain in the body’s Lithium Industry in Australia Report published with Future Smart Strategies in January 2018.

“Today’s royalty rate announcement helps Western Australia compete internationally to lock its place in the global lithium value chain,” AMEC CEO Warren Pearce said.

“Defining the royalty provides certainty for companies investing in Western Australia and will support the financing of projects and further investment.

“Western Australia has a phenomenal geological opportunity, particularly in battery minerals, but needs to make sure the regulatory settings are right so companies will choose to invest here.

“Today’s announcement increases certainty and Western Australia’s investment attractiveness for lithium downstream processing.”






Galan Lithium Confirms High Grades in Argentina

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN) informed the market on progress of its current drilling program underway at the company’s Western Basin projects, located on the Hombre Muerto salar in Argentina.


St George Mining Confirms Nickel-Copper Sulphide Discovery

THE DRILL SERGEANT: St George Mining (ASX: SGQ) announced that laboratory assays have confirmed a healthy intersection of high-grade nickel-copper sulphides at the Radar prospect – the latest discovery at the company’s Mt Alexander project, located in the north-eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.


Musgrave Minerals Drills and Rock Chips High-Grade Gold at Cue

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Musgrave Minerals (ASX: MGV) reported on recent activity undertaken at the company’s Cue gold project in the Murchison district of Western Australia.


Musgrave Minerals Progressing Drilling at Lena Deposit

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Musgrave Minerals (ASX: MGV) is currently busy carrying out reverse circulation (RC) drilling on the Lena deposit at the company’s Cue project in Western Australia’s Murchison district.

The Lena deposit has an existing JORC 2012 resource of 2,682,000 tonnes at 1.77 grams per tonne gold for 153,000 ounces estimated at Lena Main to a maximum vertical depth of 160 metres.

The Lena deposit consists of several gold lodes, with Musgrave considering some to hold high-grade potential at depth.

Interpretation of historical drill data has identified a high-grade southerly plunging shoot on the main lode that remains open at depth below the current JORC resource.

The current drilling program will use a combination of RC (pre-collars) and diamond drilling to better define and infill this high-grade gold shoot below the existing resource.

The aim of the program is to improve the geological confidence in the continuity of the mineralisation by reducing the drill spacing to enable an upgrade of the Lena resource estimate.

Musgrave Minerals managing director Rob Waugh sat down with The Resources Roadhouse at the 2019 Diggers & Dealer Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie to provide an update on how the drilling was progressing.