Ariana Resources reveals progress in Salinbas JV discussions (AAU)

Friday saw Ariana Resources (LSE:AAU) reveal positive progress in joint venture (“JV”) discussions for its Salinbas project in Turkey.

The firm said that its proposed, as-yet-un-named partner for the asset has completed 600 metres of reverse circulation drilling at the asset to twin four holes previously drilled by Ariana. Following the receipt of assay results from the work, “good correlations” have been found between the two sets of holes. As such, the parties involved in the potential JV have completed an extension agreement that will enable due diligence work to be completed up to the end of next month.

Wholly-owned by Ariana, Salinbas is located in north-east Turkey where it spans three highly-prospective licence areas called Salinbas, Ardala, and Hizarliyayla.

The Salinbas deposit (which lies within both the Salinbas and Ardala licences) contains an Indicated and Inferred JORC resource of c.10Mt at an average grade of 2g/t gold and 10.2g/t silver for approximately 650,000oz and 3.2Moz of the metals respectively.

Ardala, meanwhile, hosts a porphyry system with an Inferred JORC resource of 16Mt. This grades 0.6g/t gold for 323,000oz of the precious metal while also containing domains with up to 0.2pc copper and 0.01pc molybdenum.

Finally, Hizarliyayla, the least advanced of the three licence areas, is an epithermal prospect with a c.3km2 alteration zone prospective for both gold and base-metal mineralisation.

Joint venture discussions for the project began last November when Ariana enter a non-binding memorandum of understanding for the project with a ‘major Turkish construction and engineering company’. The agreement – which prompted a 30% increase in Ariana’s share price – proposes the sale of a 17% stake in Salinbas to the unnamed partner for $5 million.  The third-party will then inject a further $8 million of equity into the asset via an earn-in arrangement and organise the bank finance to enable it to be brought into production. This would take its total position to 53%.

Alongside the Salinbas deal, the MoU also lays out some transactions for the Kiziltepe and Tavsan projects – currently held in a 50:50 JV called Red Rabbit between Ariana and Proccea Construction. Specifically, the partner would take on 53% of the JV in exchange for a $50 million payment that would be split between the Red Rabbit firms.

Ariana’s managing director Kerim Sener provided further details on these discussions in Friday’s release:

"We are pleased to confirm that the due diligence confirmatory drilling programme at Salinbas has been concluded and can now be factored into the independent review. The efforts of the independent due diligence team are currently focusing on the Kiziltepe mining operations and, in order to provide sufficient time for the completion of this work, the proposed JV parties have extended the exclusivity period to the end of March.

Meanwhile, the necessary definitive legal documentation is being prepared for review by the proposed JV parties from the second half of February. We look forward to working closely with the proposed JV parties in order to conclude the proposed agreement and advancing our project development plans for Salinbas in particular."

To download and read our recent, in-depth report on the Salinbas project – please click here

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

 

 

 

Power Metal moves to exploit “very extensive” Kisinka copper anomaly (POW)

The discovery of a vast seam of copper at the Kinsinka mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo has produced a welcome bump for Power Metal Resources (LSE:POW).

The AIM-listed explorer has been concentrating recent efforts on expanding its gold prospects at Alamo in Arizona, so developments at its 70%-owned copper and cobalt mine have flown under the radar somewhat. 

But chief executive Paul Johnson told the market on Wednesday morning that his company was now commissioning Congolese experts Minex Consulting to carry out detailed mapping of 24 pits across nine cross sections of the 6.8 kilometre target area where a large copper anomaly was discovered. Kisinka is located in the southern part of the Katangan copper belt, home to some of the world’s largest and highest-grade copper and cobalt deposits. 

Shares in the £2.3 million market cap firm were 6% higher at 0.4p in early Wednesday trading. Meanwhile, technical analysis of the share price shows it as a buy on the daily and weekly charts, as it sits above both the short-term 5-day EMA of 0.373p and medium-term 50-day EMA of 0.362p.

The news backs up statements chief executive Paul Johnson made in June 2019 that “the potential significance of this large anomalous zone makes this a high-priority prospect for the company”. Initial exploration started in 2018 had failed to pick up any significant signs of mineralisation. 

When Johnson took over as executive chairman in August 2019, the Kisinka project was the first work the company looked at in an effort to rationalise its portfolio. Our expectations were not high, and we were surprised and encouraged by the discovery,” he noted. 

He was also brought in, along with executive chairman Andrew Bell, to boost POW’s technical capability at board level. 

Johnson added that the next planned work at Kinsinka would be to use the rest of the rainy season to carry out less weather-dependent work in sampling and mapping, while preparing for potential future drilling.

While the spot price of copper dipped in the second half of January, the metal is still trading near five-year highs at $2.59 per lb.

Author: Tom Rodgers 

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

 

Thor Mining’s Mick Billing on what investors can expect at Kapunda, Molyhil, and more over the coming months (THR)

Thor Mining (LSE:THR) has started 2020 with a bang, delivering strong sampling results, resource estimates, and financing news across major assets in its portfolio. Here, the company’s chief executive Mick Billing walks us through the firm’s plans for the coming months, highlighting potential sources of newsflow that could prompt a re-rate in its share price.

Proof of concept at Kapunda

One of Thor’s critical areas of focus over coming months will be the Kapunda project it has exposure to through its investment in EnviroCopper Limited.

Based in South Australia, Kapunda is a historic copper mine that EnviroCopper is working to exploit through a low-cost, environmentally-friendly extraction technique called in-situ recovery (“ISR”). In layman’s terms, this involves dissolving minerals underground in a solution – a process called “leaching”- before extracting by pumping to the surface. From there, the process is identical to a heap leaching operation after the process of dissolving the metal in the heap.

2019 saw Thor and ECR make much progress at Kapunda, establishing proof of concept for the use of ISR to extract copper and gold and launching field pump tests to test the flow of fluid through its deposits. Meanwhile, in 2017, the Australian government announced an offer to provide the firms with A$2.9 million of research funding over 30 months to advance the project.

Site of recent hydro-geological drilling at Kapunda (Source: Thor Mining)

With Thor recent reporting that initial field pump results had shown “good potential connectivity” and “good copper values” from initial geochemical work, Billing says he expects full assays to be delivered imminently. Initial signs are positive, he adds:

“I expect assays to come in the next couple of weeks. Other testing will establish that there is connectivity in the deposit from one area to the next – something that is needed for ISR to work. Currently, there is every inference that that connectivity exists.”

Following this, Billing says the firms plan to launch field recovery trials later this year to establish whether copper and gold that has not yet been dissolved in the ground can be dissolved and extracted. As it stands, a small but significant amount of copper has already dissolved in the groundwater present at Kapunda naturally over time.

Should EnviroCopper be able to establish this, it will provide definitive evidence that what the firms have been able to do in the laboratory with historical core and with modelling can be done in the field economically. In this case, Billing says the project – alongside its sister asset Moonta – have the potential to be bigger than Thor’s Molyhil and Pilot Mountain properties combined.

We believe this copper business is potentially our best, we are very excited about establishing the economic vitality of ISR at Kapunda, and one of the nice things is that the bulk of this is being paid for by the Australian government by way of a grant."

Financing at Molyhil

Another key area of focus for Thor over coming months will be its wholly-owned Molyhil tungsten project and associated Bonya tenements. The firm manages and 40%-owns these latter deposits in a joint venture with Arafura Resources.

For some time now, Thor has told investors that discussions are ongoing with various potential partners who have expressed in financing Molyhil’s development. Billing says that, while these discussions will continue, a new dimension has now opened up when it comes to the asset’s financing.

The company is in discussions with several Australian Commonwealth government agencies mandated to provide financial assistance to undeveloped critical mineral projects. These agencies include Export Finance Australia, the Defence Export Facility, the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office and the North Australian Infrastructure Facility. With tungsten becoming an increasingly crucial critical mineral globally – prices have recovered in recent months - Billing is hopeful this initial interest will develop:

“Because tungsten is a critical mineral and because of the increased focus on critical minerals by the US and the partners of the US like Australia and Canada, there is potential for some financial assistance from some of these bodies. We have been working with a couple of them for several months and, while nothing can be guaranteed, there is an additional dimension to the financing of Molyhil compared with the story of several months ago. This does not replace the work we have been doing with several parties we have been working with, but adds to that work and complements it.”

Meanwhile, Billing says Thor will continue its work to develop Bonya after establishing tungsten and copper resource estimates for its White Violet and Samarkand deposits last month:

“There is permitting to do, drilling to upgrade the resources and a host of environmental work to complete. We are also seeking an agreement with the original landowners that will allow us to have the same rights at Bonya as we have secured at Molyhil. That is a work-in-progress but it is going through.”

Location of the Bonya tenements (Source: Thor Mining)

Pushing Pilbara forward

Finally, Billing expects Thor to follow up on a recently-completed field reconnaissance programme at its Pilbara goldfield tenements. Samples from 44 sites provided strong evidence of gold prospectivity along with anomalous nickel and chromium. Billing says the presence of these two latter metals was “unexpected” and warrants further exploration:

“We have gold in 15 of sites and nickel and chrome in another two. We are following up on the gold because the success and density of those hits mean it looks like much more than a couple of isolated specks, there could be significant quantities. Meanwhile, chrome is often an indicator metal for nickel , and ultramafic rocks are a known environment to host sulphide nickel deposits. We think there is potentially quite a strong nickel story out of this that will require following up.”

Thor’s share price has fallen by close to 30% since the beginning of the year, sitting at 0.298p at writing. With so much work ongoing in the company’s portfolio, it will be interesting to see whether a strong run of news can buck this trend and help the firm to return to the 1p plus territory at which it sat this time last year.

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

ECR Minerals soars to 2020 high after offloading Argentine operations to major Chinese player (ECR)

ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) leapt by more than a third to its highest share price since November 2019 on Wednesday after revealing the sale of its Argentine operations.

Th Australia-focused company – which was up 36% at 0.85p a share with a £2.8 million market cap at writing – offloaded its subsidiary Ochre Mining to Chinese firm Hanaq Argentina for an undisclosed sum. Ochre holds the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina, over which ECR will retain a 2% net smelter royalty on future production up to a maximum value of $2.7 million.

Hanaq is engaged in lithium, base, and precious metal exploration in Argentina and boasts a strong management team led by Juan Tang, responsible for the successful permitting of Peru’s Pampa de Pongo iron ore project.

ECR’s chief executive Craig Brown said the organisation was pleased to retain exposure to potential upside from SLM. He added that it believes that Hanaq has the “operational capabilities and access to Chinese investment capital necessary” to put SLM into production.

Critically, ECR said that the sale would allow it to focus on its core gold exploration activities in Australia. The company is the 100% owner of the Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool, and Timor gold exploration projects in central Victoria, where it is currently undertaking a considerable amount of exploration activity. Perhaps most notably, the company has completed a vast sampling programme over its Creswick asset that has confirmed the presence of nuggety gold mineralisation in an underlying feature called the Dimocks Main Shale.

ECR has also applied for the Windidda project in the country’s Yilgarn region, where it was recently granted four exploration licences.

Wednesday’s news comes just weeks after ECR revealed that it had been rewarded with a near £300,000 refund for its research and development work in Australia. Brown said the refund provided a “significant boost” to ECR’s cash position at a pivotal time – with gold prices enjoying an exceptionally strong run.

“The gold price remains strong and we believe there is considerable and growing interest in respect of Australian gold exploration, and we have also observed strong interest in the Victorian goldfields where we have an active exploration portfolio,” he added at the time. “Overall, the board believes the additional cash creates exciting opportunities for an entrepreneurial gold-focused company like ECR.”

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

Power Metal “perfectly poised” in Botswana as it reveals host of nickel drill targets (POW)

Power Metal Resources’ (LSE:POW) strong newsflow run continued on Wednesday when it announced that eight “compelling” drill targets had been established at the Botswana-based project into which it is earning.

The firm said Kalahari Key, the current owner of the Molopo Farms Complex (“MFC”) asset, followed up 11 conductor targets generated from airborne surveys last year with ground-based geophysics and modelling. The work not only recommended detailed drilling parameters and drill testing priorities for eight targets, but indicated that at least six of the highly-conductive bodies have the potential to be massive nickel sulphides.

The MFC project consists of many licences covering thousands of square kilometres in southern Botswana and is being targeted by Kalahari Key for prospective massive sulphide mineralisation. Power Metal has an 18.6% shareholding in Kahari Key and has elected to earn in to a 40% direct interest in the asset by way of spending $500,000 on exploration and target drilling this year. When this completes, the organisation will have an effective economic interest in the property of 50.96%.

Paul Johnson, Power Metal’s chief executive officer, said the presence of eight targets far outstrips both his own firm’s and Kalahari Key’s expectations for the MFC project.

"Back in May 2019 when POW entered the transaction the expectation of the Kalahari Key team was to identify 2 or 3 key targets from the ground geophysics work.  Instead we now have 8 high profile drill targets which is a considerable uplift,” he said. “Kalahari Key have always stated their main strategic objective was to target nickel-PGM-bearing massive sulphide deposits similar to the Voisey's Bay nickel deposit. As POW's key strategic objective is to make a large-scale metal discovery our interests are aligned and now we find ourselves in an interesting position.”

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Power Metal said that an environmental plan for the proposed drilling programme at MFC has been completed with favourable results and has been submitted to Botswana’s government. Power Metal also said that third-party interest in the asset has continued, with Kalahari Key continuing to “engage with interested parties”. Meanwhile, the firm said Johnson has joined Kalahari Key’s board and an operational committee has been formed between the MFC partners following Power Metal’s decision to exercise its project option in December.

Johnson added that, following recent progress, he believes that Power Metal and its shareholders are “perfectly poised” in Botswana, adding:

Subject to local approvals we have the high-profile drill targets, and the cash at bank to instigate a drill programme asap.  Local liaison with drill contractors continues and measures are being implemented that will allow commencement of drilling at the earliest opportunity.”

Wednesday’s update comes just one day after Power Metal confirmed the presence of gold nuggets at its newly-acquired Alamo asset in Arizona, USA.

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance