copper

  • ‘This is the perfect place for us to be’- African Battery’s Paul Johnson on his plans to propel freshly refinanced firm forward (ABM)

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) has been on something of a roller coaster ride over the last few months. After its shares were suspended at the end of 2018, in the face of financial uncertainty, a successful refinancing programme allowed the company to return to trading in February with no debt and a healthy cash runway. Alongside this newfound financial security, the organisation has also undergone a significant management restructuring that has seen industry veterans Paul Johnson and Andrew Bell both become executive directors.

    As it stands, African Battery’s shares sit at 0.4p to give the business a modest valuation of just £1.33m. In this two-part interview, Johnson talks us through Bell and his plans to build on this base by using the firm’s strong core offering to create value for both new and existing shareholders.

    New beginnings

    African Battery’s significant transition began in December last year with the suspension of its shares pending clarification of its financial position. In an accompanying statement, the company revealed that it had been unable to secure equity finance with its largest shareholders despite ‘protracted discussions’.

    Following this considerable setback, the firm took a significant step forward at the end of January when it revealed a restructuring and refinancing package. This was centred around a £1m fundraise at 0.5p per share with two-year warrants attached. This would enable it to pay off all of its material creditors, leaving it debt free with a cash runway of at least 12 months. 

    Critically, the arrangement also proposed that African Battery’s then-CEO Roger Murphy and executive director Matt Wood would step down from the firm’s board. Meanwhile, well-known AIM figures Andrew Bell and Paul Johnson would both join as executive directors and take part in the placing. Johnson is an experienced public company director who has previously served as chief executive of Metal Tiger, Metal NRG, and China Africa Resources. He has also been chairman of ECR Minerals and non-executive director of Greatland Gold, Papua Mining, and Thor Mining. Bell, meanwhile, has worked in the natural resources sector since the 1970s and is perhaps most recognised as chairman of Red Rock Resources and non-executive director of Jupiter Mines.

    Johnson tells us that he and Bell’s engagement with African Battery arose from their long-standing interest in its operations. As a result of this awareness, the pair were keen to look at ways of fixing the firm’s financial situation as soon as they heard of its suspension:

    ‘African Battery has always had a healthy amount of interesting news flow,’ Johnson tells us. ‘When it announced that it had suspended, it seemed obvious to us to look into what problems existed and whether they were fixable. These days, AIM operating companies with some cash, no debt, and some potential forward momentum in operations can be highly valuable. We pretty quickly concluded that we could resolve the company’s issues, and felt that this represented a great opportunity.’

    Johnson says he also feels that current market conditions represent an opportune moment to get exposure to battery metals. Indeed, once obscure materials like copper, cobalt, nickel, lithium, and manganese are now being hailed as the ‘new precious metals’ due to their use in the next generation of batteries. These have many applications, but their most notable us is arguably in electric vehicles (EVs).

    Alongside supply-side limitations, many expect the anticipated, global shift towards EVs over coming years to lead to an explosion in the price of elements associated with their construction. For example, the market for cobalt alone is expected to double over the next four years and quadruple by 2028 due to an unsteady supply pipeline for the metal and its use in around three-quarters of EV batteries.

    ‘You just have to look at all the facts about battery metals like forward supply/demand dynamics and underlying factors that would drive demand to see an opportunity,’ Johnson explains. ‘There has not been growth in mining, exploration, project development, and new mines for these metals, and that is affecting supply. Meanwhile, as everyone knows, battery metal demand is increasing dramatically and is expected to continue rising.

    This is really an unusual situation. We have actually got supply and demand factors that could hit prices positively at the same time. For example, do I think copper is going to stay at its current, depressed price forever? I doubt it. Likewise, nickel looks to be on a significant, overall, rising trend. I think we are set for an excellent growth period and this is the perfect place for us to be.’

    Operational review

    Several weeks after the refinancing was announced, Johnson and Bell’s proposals were passed by shareholders, prompting the pair’s appointment and the restoration of trading in African Battery’s shares. Since joining, the two executive directors have been busy completing a thorough strategic and operational review of the business.

    On the financial side, this has seen them cut corporate costs to minimal levels and amend boardroom pay to ensure directors’ salaries are transparent and reflect both performance and African Battery’s cash position. Elsewhere, in early March, the business announced that it has now paid all material creditor balances through cash or share settlement. As such, it no longer has ‘material debt’ and substantial working capital.

    Meanwhile, on the operational side, the pair are also conducting a review of each of African Battery’s existing project interests. To date, the company has committed to proceeding its 70pc-owned and operated Kisinka copper-cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This decision followed a visit by Bell in February, which included meeting with project vendors and local technical advisers.

    The company is now liaising with its geological team to prepare a next-stage exploration programme for Kisinka. This will be optimised using previous exploration data, and modifications have been made to earlier plans to maximise cost efficiency. Meanwhile, the organisation has now made all outstanding project payments to Kisinka’s vendor and completed all the changes required to comply with the DRC’s new Mining Act.

    After reviewing historical data, African Battery has also committed to continuing its work in Cameroon. Through its subsidiary Cobalt Blue Holdings, the company holds four nickel cobalt licences in the country either adjacent to or within 50km of the Nkamouna/Mada project. This is the most significant undeveloped cobalt resource outside the DRC and has a NI 43-101 compliant resource of 323Mt at average grades of 0.21pc cobalt, 0.61pc nickel, and 1.25pc manganese. Cobalt Blue also holds two licence applications at Ntam Est and N'Gaoundere.

    African Battery is now devising a forward work programme for Cobalt Blue’s assets that will prioritise the highest-profile targets as determined from work undertaken and reviewed to date. In an announcement, Johnson said the business would like to begin its work as soon as possible so it complete before heavy rains expected after June.

    Bell and Johnson are now completing a review of African Battery’s final interest in Côte d’Ivoire. Through its subsidiary Regent Resources Interests, the business can earn into 70pc of the Lizetta II chrome, nickel, cobalt exploration licence in the country. An independent assessment of the project, which is based near the country’s commercial capital, has confirmed its potential to host cobalt, nickel, and chrome mineralisation of economic potential. It has also proposed an initial field programme consisting of historical data compilation, geological mapping, geophysical surveys, trenching, and RC drilling.

    Johnson tells us that he and Bell are using a three-stage process to review African Battery’s existing portfolio:

    ‘The first stage of this process is to look at each project and its potential. Here, we want to work out if the asset can, on its own basis, engage the market, create value, and be a decent addition to African Battery’s portfolio. Then, if we do decide to proceed with a project, we will announce this to the market,’ he says. ‘Following this, the second stage is to review how best to take the project forward. We look at where we can spend the money in a way that creates the most value for shareholders. This could be on something like an exploration programme or a development programme. Once we have worked out the best approach possible, we will then announce this to the market. Finally, the third stage is to get on with the planned work and start taking the project forward.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy

    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. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

  • ‘There are a number of attractive opportunities out there in stable jurisdictions’- African Battery’s Paul Johnson on his plans for freshly refinanced firm’s future (ABM)

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) has been on something of a roller coaster ride over the last few months. After its shares were suspended at the end of 2018, in the face of financial uncertainty, a successful refinancing programme allowed the company to return to trading in February with no debt and a healthy cash runway. Alongside this newfound financial security, the organisation has also undergone a significant management restructuring that has seen Paul Johnson and Andrew Bell both become executive directors. 

    In the first part of our interview with Johnson, the AIM veteran discussed Bell and his reasons for approaching African Battery and their plans for the outfit’s existing portfolio. Here, he discusses the pair’s recent deal with AIM-listed Katoro gold and their plans to make the most of today’s ‘very poor’ funding climate for early-stage resource opportunities as they line up African Battery’s future.

    Haneti opportunity

    Johnson and Bell revealed African Battery’s first foray into new territory under their leadership last month, announcing an investment and option agreement with Katoro Gold (LSE:KAT). Under the contract, African Battery will be able to purchase up to 10m shares in Katoro at 1p each with three-year warrants attached. It also has the right to purchase up to 35pc in Katoro’s 100pc-owned Haneti nickel project in Tanzania, for a total consideration of up to £125,000.

    Haneti comprises tenements covering an area of around 5,000km2 prospective for nickel, platinum-group-elements, cobalt, copper, gold, and lithium. Previous work has identified grades of up to 13.6pc nickel at the project, and an exploration programme this year will aim to confirm the existence of disseminated or massive sulphide mineralisation in the area. Alongside Haneti, Katoro owns a further two gold projects in Tanzania called Imweru and Lubando. Together, these host a JORC-compliant resource of 754,980oz gold.

    As well as giving African Battery exposure to a new nickel project and a new jurisdiction, Johnson says he and Bell felt that Katoro’s looked undervalued:

    ‘Like all resource firms, Katoro has suffered recently. Its market cap currently sits at just £1m, which is unbelievably low considering that it has a large amount of gold in its portfolio, a potentially high-impact nickel project, and cash in the bank. We see plenty of upside on the stock, and think its market cap could go substantially higher.’

    Johnson also highlights parallels between Katoro and Haneti’s previous owner Kibo Mining (now Kibo Energy), into which Metal Tiger entered a joint venture in 2014 when he was chief executive. Shortly after Metal Tiger made a £150,000 equity investment and launched the 50:50 project focused on its uranium-prospective portfolio in Tanzania, Kibo’s shares shot up from below 1.5p to more than 10p in intra-day trading.

    This rise, which occurred very quickly, came after Metal Tiger’s investment supported Kibo in the delivery of a highly positive definitive mining feasibility study at its Rukwa coal to power project. With the deal earning Metal Tiger a significant profit in short order, Johnson hopes that alongside having an option over Hanet, African Battery can make a lot from its Katoro shareholding.

    Broadening horizons

    Alongside the Katoro deal, March also saw Johnson and Bell lay out their plans for African Battery’s future in a strategic and operational plan. The company said that the funding climate for early-stage resource opportunities is still ‘very poor’, thanks to depressed market conditions. As a result, it believes vendors are willing to undertake transactions on unusually reasonable terms. Using some of its remaining cash balance, the firm plans to take advantage of this by reviewing and – if appropriate – acquiring new opportunities that complement its existing portfolio and provide additional risk diversification.

    In the update, African Battery said it has already received direct approaches from third parties with assets in battery metals, precious metals, and other commodity groups. As well as looking at new commodity groups, the firm said that, although it intends to remain focused on Africa, it would be willing to enter new jurisdictions if an attractive enough opportunity arose.

    ‘We are obviously very focused on reviewing what we can do with the existing portfolio,’ says Johnson. ‘However, we are also considering investment opportunities that can boost our balance sheet, bolster our financial strength and expose us to strategically attractive areas for future business development. For example, it would be good to get diversification across a wider geographical spread in Africa, rather than focusing solely on the West of the continent. There are a number of attractive opportunities out there in stable jurisdictions before offered at good valuations.’

    Aside from maintaining and expanding African Battery’s portfolio, Johnson said another core goal for Bell and himself is to restore value for long-term shareholders. He highlights his stints at Metal Tiger, Greatland Gold, and Thor Mining as evidence of his ability to implement a successful business turnaround strategy.

    ‘African Battery has been through a period of difficulty, and it is now down to us to restore confidence in the company. There are a lot of people with personal money invested that have suffered a large capital loss. So, alongside making money for the investors that entered alongside us, we have got to try and make back as much of that cash that long-term shareholders have lost on paper as possible,’ he says.

    Both Andrew Bell and I have enjoyed turnaround success at numerous businesses over the years, with good examples being Thor Mining, Metal Tiger, and Greatland Gold. We enter African Battery in a far more comfortable position than many of these examples. The company has no debt, a good strong cash balance, and some existing interests with value that can be taken forward. What’s more, we are at the bottom of the market, or at least close to it. That is the scenario you want if you are going to make a recovery. It is really a case of doing the same thing as we have done before: maintaining our strong core business model and grabbing new opportunities as and when they become available.’

    Where next?

    With one asset left to review and new projects on the agenda, the next few months are likely to see African Battery deliver plenty of newsflow for investors. What’s more, by a revitalised balance sheet devoid of debt and replete with cash complements this forward momentum. If the business’s two experienced bosses can strike the right chord with the retail market by meeting all of their strategic and operational goals, then the company could be poised for exciting growth.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy

    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. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

  • ‘There is a lot of upside to be had here’: Mick Billing on Thor Mining’s recent trip to Bonya and ongoing Molyhil deal discussions (THR)

    Earlier this month, Mick Billing, chief executive of Thor Mining (LSE:THR), carried out a site visit to the firm’s tungsten and copper-prospective Bonya tenements. The trip was carried out as part of planning for a drilling programme at Bonya, which is adjacent to Thor’s flagship Molyhil and tungsten and molybdenum project following promising intersection earlier this year.

    Against the exciting backdrop of an initial 114,000t copper resource at the Moonta project held within Thor’s EnviroCopper subsidiary, we caught up with Billing to discuss his findings from the trip. The chief executive also provides us with an update on Thor’s ongoing efforts to secure project finance and offtake agreements at Molyhil.

    Bonya opportunity

    To recap, Thor purchased a 40pc stake in Bonya from Rox Resources last year and is now in a JV with Arafura Resources. The two firms now share development costs proportionally to the size of their holdings. Bonya hosts 13 outcropping tungsten deposits that currently carry an exploration target of 3-4.9MMts at 0.3-05pc tungsten trioxide.  The area also hosts an inferred copper resources of 230,000ts for 4,600ts of copper.  Thor plans to extract and process this copper at Molyhil for a ‘minimal additional cost’.

    Location of the Bonya tenements relative to Molyhil (Source: Company)

    Despite the licence area being part of a known tungsten province, no tungsten drilling had taken place since the 1970s.  Regardless, in April, Billing said he hoped that Bonya could add ‘considerably’ to Molyhil’s life, scale, and economic outcomes. True to its word, Thor - alongside Arafura - completed an initial 2,500m reverse circulation drilling programme across Bonya earlier this year.

    The work confirmed strong tungsten and copper mineralisation across several deposits, with particularly strong results coming from two areas called White Violet and Samarkand. Highlights from White Violet included 27m at 0.29pc tungsten trioxide from 35m, 12m at 0.67pc tungsten trioxide from 46m and 29m at 0.7pc tungsten trioxide from 81m, including 13m at 1.13pc tungsten trioxide.  Meanwhile, top copper intersections at Samarkand included 5m at 0.36pc copper, 12m at 0.77pc copper, and 7m at 1.23pc copper. To read the results in more detail, please click here.

    Recent trip

    To build on these strong initial results, Thor and Arafura will now target near-term drilling to test the extent of the two deposits and create reportable mineral resource estimates. To support this, Billing says he and his colleagues searched White Violet and Samarkand for surface scheelite – a tungsten compound that shines blue when a UV light is shined on it in the dark – on their recent trip. Billing says the work was high encouraging, further informing and extending the imminent drilling programme and leaving him with the impression that there is a lot of upside to be had in the area.

    ‘At White Violet we have identified a couple of holes where we drilled last time that we would like to take deeper and another one we would like to move the hole a bit to connect better up with some trenching,’he said. ‘We are also going to do some infill work because we are really keen on getting a resource estimate out of this deposit in the next drilling programme, which we expect will start in September.’

    ‘Things were even more encouraging at Samarkand as we have found a couple of quite promising scheelite occurances extending past the area drilled out. We won’t just be going a bit deeper to do resource-type infill work, we will also be extending to the north-west and hopefully also to the south-east. We think there is a good chance we can not only get a resource at Samarkand but also extend the area where the mineralisation is currently known. There is a lot of upside to be had here.’

    Outcropping copper just south of Marrakech deposit at Bonya

    Funding discussions

    Bonya and Molyhil’s prospectivity appears to increase with every related RNS release. Indeed, earlier this week Thor announced that a second metallurgical bulk sample drill hole has further boosted its flagship Molyhil project’s prospectivity for copper alongside tungsten and molybdenum.

    Speaking to MiningMaven, Billing told us that he remains confident Thor will be able to lock in project finance and off-take agreements for both tungsten and molybdenum concentrates mined at Molyhil. As previously discussed, the company has been approached by, and advanced discussions with, several players whose interests include offtake agreements, joint venture arrangement, or debt instruments. Billing says such talks are still proceeding, with the business taking great care to ensure it picks the arrangement that works best for both itself and shareholders.

    ‘There is now quite a large group of companies who would like to offtake from the output at Molyhil. There is a smaller group who are interested in funding and there is another group that have said there is interest in a joint venture,’ he said.  ‘One of the things these potential JV partners will want out of that type of structure is almost certainly an offtake. With this in mine, we are not locking in with any of the others until we have exhausted the opportunity for a JV. These are people that are working at their own pace so I cannot underwrite the success or a timeline. However, we are still confident there is a deal to be done with a couple of the people with which we are in discussions.’

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services 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 Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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.

  • ‘We are in Cyprus to make commercial discoveries, and we are very confident we can do that’: Chesterfield Resources’ Martin French on firm’s plans to up the ante in 2019 (CHF)

    Shares in gold and copper exploration business Chesterfield Resources (LSE:CHF) have languished since the company re-admitted to the Official List of the London Stock Exchange last summer. Currently sitting at 4p a share the Cypriot-focussed business is valued at £2.48m, which compares favourably to its current £1.73m cash position. With the firm fully funded for its 2019 drill commitments we caught up with Executive Chairman Martin French, who describes to us why he is so confident about the business’s prospects in 2019.

    In the months since July’s readmission, Chesterfield has been building on its strong base in Cyprus, culminating in the news earlier this month that it has more than tripled its exploration land package in the formerly thriving mining jurisdiction. With a funded exploration programme and near-term revenue opportunities on the cards, French says Chesterfield will be stepping up efforts to make its story known to the retail market throughout the rest of 2019.

    Re-vitalising Cyprus

    Chesterfield was set up as a cash shell back in August 2017 by a consortium of experienced mining investors. The group aimed to buy a company or asset that could profit from underinvestment in the mining sector alongside growing commodity demand and advances in technology.

    Following its suspension in November 2017, as potential transaction talks began, Chesterfield returned to trading in summer last year with the purchase of HKP Exploration for £500,000, paid in shares. The company raised a further £2m at 7.5p a share to cover a £1.1m work programme and £400,000 of working capital costs.

    French told us that Chesterfield was drawn to HKP’s focus on exploring for natural resources in Cyprus. The island has a rich mining heritage and a very active copper industry that used to be centred around the foothills of its Troodos mountains. However, this activity came to an abrupt halt in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. French says a surprisingly small amount of exploration work has taken place in the decades since.

    Alongside its prospectivity, French says Cyprus’s EU membership and strong UK ties have made it very easy for Chesterfield to operate. Indeed, despite the Turkish partition remaining in place, the area is well-ranked in terms of ease of doing business and corruption perception. Elsewhere, Cyprus’s climate allows for year-round exploration, and its well-developed infrastructure only serves to support operations further.

    All-in-all French says these conditions, and healthy supply/demand dynamics in the copper market, have given rise to an opportunity to discover and develop multiple deposits in the country to production. Fortunately, he adds, the island’s government has reciprocated this enthusiasm to date:

    ‘I think Cyprus now wants to diversify away from its traditional, hallmark economic drivers, which are tourism and financial services. The fact that companies like Chesterfield are coming in to revive the island’s mining industry is very attractive from the government’s point of view,’he says. ‘This, along with all of the connections to the UK, have made Cyprus a great area in which to operate – perhaps even more so than other EU jurisdictions, where some of our peers are targeting. We have found the mining regulatory authority very helpful.’

    Troodos opportunity

    HKP made applications to the government of Cyprus for 100pc-ownership of seven prospecting permits to search for minerals in 2017. These were approved in Q1 2018. Together, these form a 32.1km2 project on the west of the Troodos Mountains (Troodos West) that includes numerous, previously-operating copper and pyrite mines.

    Following this success, the business applied for yet another six prospecting permits last year. Five of these cover c.23km2 to the north of the mountains (Troodos North), while the remaining license covers 4.8km2 to the east (Troodos East). Like the acreage to the west, these permits include old mines. As it stands, four of the Troodos North licences and the Troodos East permit have been granted. The final permits are expected soon.

    A map of Chesterfield’s holdings in the belt surrounding Cyprus’s Troodos Mountains

     

    Chesterfield immediately set out a phased exploration work programme for its HKP portfolio after taking over the firm last year. It gave itself a £1.1m budget and a one-year deadline for the work and is targeting a 1MM-5MMM mineral resource from multiple prospects. It expects this to grade c.2pc copper plus more than 1g/t of gold and silver & zinc credits.

    Although different areas are progressing at different rates, its programme is broadly made up of three phases. The first phase involves collating historical data and interpreting satellite imagery to identify prospective areas and prioritise fieldwork. Stage two then consists of ranking these prospects and defining field targets using geological & structural mapping, soil sampling, and ground geophysics. Finally, phase three centres around drilling targets and creating mineral resources.

    Despite historical drilling at Chesterfield’s acreage, French says he sees an opportunity in approaching the ground with superior geological understanding, modern exploration techniques and drilling technology. By doing this, the business hopes to prove up economic mineral resources and open new mines.

    ‘We are in Cyprus to make commercial discoveries, and we are very confident that we can do that. We have exploration techniques that were not previously available to companies operating in the region and a vastly improved geological knowledge,’French tells us. ‘Drilling was very slow and expensive back then. In our eyes, we are approaching the asset as if it were new with the knowledge that it is already prospective.’

    Kicking off

    Chesterfield’s primary focus so far has been Troodos West. To kick things off, it signed a diamond drilling contract with GEOPS Bolkan for at least 4,000m of drilling on multiple targets at the property last September.

    Rather than make a single massive discovery, French says the firm plans to discover a series of smaller deposits at Troodos West. Cyprus is well-known for volcanic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits. These are small but concentrated high-grade deposits surrounded by larger lower-grade mineralised vein systems. Provided these are found near each other, Chesterfield hopes to combine them and create a cheap, centralised processing operating.

    The organisation’s first targets were at Evloimeni, Mavroyi and Double Seven where a review of historic mining data highlighted the existence of Cyprus-type VMS copper-gold-zinc-silver mineralisation. The firm also conducted ongoing fieldwork to identify additional drilling targets.

    Alongside its exploration work, Chesterfield is working to develop early cash flow opportunities from waste dumps. In particular, French highlights a site called Limni as a near-term revenue opportunity for Chesterfield at West Troodos. Limni is a large, historic open pit mine where more than 8MMts at 1.1pc copper has reportedly been exploited.

    ‘We are fairly sure that Limni contains a large amount of copper in solution,’says French. ‘When it rains heavily, the pit even starts to overflow with bright blue streams – as sure a sign of mineralisation as you could get. We are looking to drill into Limni and test if we can extract this and we should be talking more about that soon.’

    Expansion plans

    Last month saw Chesterfield announce that it had drilled more than 3,000m at Troodos West, with much of this taking place around Limni and other old workings nearby. Most of the holes intercepted mineralisation.

    The drilling also discovered an unexpectedly high amount of gold potential alongside the primary target of copper. Furthermore, it provided evidence of epithermal mineralised structures alongside VMS deposits. In essence, French tells us that this offers the potential for two separate styles of mineralisation.

    ‘Cyprus is well known for hosting VMS deposits. So much so, that geology students often go out to the island to study its structures,’says French. With this in mind, the real surprise for us was that we hit surprisingly high levels of gold, as well as copper. ‘We have also discovered more recent epithermal systems, which we did not expect. This, therefore, means that mineralisation is hosted in at least two types of systems, which is very exciting.’

    In response to the strong results, Chesterfield has accelerated its pace in several areas. First of all, it has commissioned a remote sensing survey across all its licence areas, and additional operational ground facilities are being appraised.

    Secondly, the company has decided to more than triple its exploration land package. Earlier this month, it revealed that it had filed applications over a further 182.96km2 of ground, taking its entire area of licences under application to 237.61km2. Now that these applications have been submitted, no other entities can apply for them.

    French tells us that Chesterfield’s land interest in Cyprus is now a multiple of that of any other player in the country. He adds that the company has already begun a detailed exploration programme on this significantly enlarged licence area, with drilling planned for later this year.

    ‘If these licences are granted we will be the dominant player in Cyprus in terms of exploration acreage – we are very much gunning the engine,’he says. We will take this land package and start to explore it straight away. There really is a lot you can do very quickly with remote sensing and archival data to begin generating target lists. We hope to drill again on these around mid-year, but this could come even sooner because our contracted drill is held in our facility, meaning it is easily accessible.'

    Management experience

    To support its expanded operations, Chesterfield has also been increasing its presence in Cyprus. The company established a local Cyprus-based office in September last year and hired a number of graduates from the Camborne School of Mines. It also took on a local geological team to accelerate exploration and data analysis. It hopes to grow this further over the coming weeks. It has also taken on Michael Parker as chief operating officer. Parker previously worked at First Quantum Minerals for 20 years, where he held senior country manager positions in the DRC and Latin America and played a crucial role in two substantial copper discoveries.

    Chesterfield is also led by a wealth of mining and financing experience outside of Cyprus. Indeed, French, who was appointed shortly after the HKP deal last year, has more than 30 years of experience in capital markets and investment banking. He was previously Managing Director of North River Resources, a brownfield underground lead-zinc project in Namibia, which he turned around and sold to Greenstone Capital. The project is now entering production. Meanwhile, non-exec director David Cliffe was previously head of Exploration Europe for Rio Tinto.

    Elsewhere, fellow non-exec director Peter Damouni has built a strong reputation in Canada for his skill as a corporate financier. Throughout his career, Damouni has worked on and led equity and debt financings values over $5bn. French, who owns a 4.84pc stake in Chesterfield himself, also highlights the company’s unusually prolific shareholder base for its size.

    ‘Peter Damouni is part of a group of seasoned mining investors who own around half of our business. As it stands, most of our remaining shareholders are mining professionals from the UK, including a number of other junior mining CEOs,’ he tells us. ‘When we raised £2m last July we placed it out to quite a specific investor group. So, for a small company, we have the backing of experienced mining investors and a lot of senior expertise.’

    Tipping point

    After a quiet entry to the market as it worked on securing a strong Cypriot foothold, Chesterfield is entering a critical period. Indeed, now it has begun to receive a regular stream of assay results from its drilling work, French says investors can expect a steady stream of news flow about new targets and projects over coming months.

    ‘We stayed under the market radar last year as we wanted to substantially build up our land-holding in Cyprus without drawing the attention of other players,’said French. ‘Now that we have completed this land acquisition programme we are ready to come out and tell our story. We want the strength and assets of the company to be reflected in our market value and will be working on that. There is a huge global focus on copper right now, and a discovery in Cyprus would attract a lot of attention.’

    With shares jumping nearly 15pc when the company announced its licence extensions last week, it seems the market is now starting to sit up and listen. The fact that the firm believes its current c£1.7m cash position will fully fund its 2019 programme is only going to help on this front. With near-term revenue opportunities and plenty of exploration ground in its arsenal, Chesterfield’s current £2.48m market could present interesting value.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

     

  • African Battery announces exploration progress in the DRC (ABM)

    Shares in African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) were trading at 0.38p on Thursday after the business announced exploration progress at its key asset in the DRC. The firm has now established a field camp at the 70pc-owned and operated Kisinka project to provide a base for field operations for 14 on-site staff who are conducting and supporting field activities. 

    Meanwhile, it has also collected a total of 248 termite mound samples from the field and is in the process of transferring these to its operation office. Here, the samples will be prepared and analysed. Elsewhere, the business said it will continue to collect termite samples over coming weeks, providing updates to the market whenever a material development occurs.

    Thursday’s development come after African Battery announced that it had recommenced exploration activities at Kisinka last month following a detailed review of historic exploration and targeting copper-cobalt mineralisation. In order to protect and preserve the company's working capital, the exploration programme will adopt a staged approach with initial wide area exploration focussed on identifying areas of anomalous copper and cobalt mineralisation, to be followed by follow up drilling if appropriate drill targets present themselves.

    Alongside Kisinka, the organisation has said it is pursuing a number of existing and new initiatives seeking the highest impact for shareholders ‘in a measured and disciplined manner’. On Thursday, Paul Johnson, executive director of African Battery, said:

    After quite a gap in operational activity for the Company I am pleased to advise that operations are now underway at Kisinka where we are targeting copper-cobalt mineralisation in a highly prospective region. I am keen to ensure the market is fully informed as material developments occur in respect of Kisinka and also across our other projects and wider commercial activities.’

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

    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. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

  • African Battery kicks off copper-nickel exploration work in Cameroon (ABM)

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) advanced 5.6pc to 4.8p on Monday afternoon after announcing that it has begun exploration activities at its copper-nickel project in Cameroon. The £1.7m business, which was trading at 0.47p on Tuesday morning, will carry out a pit excavation programme at the asset to a maximum depth of 15m per individual pit.

    This work, which is due to start immediately so it can complete before the onset of heavy rains, will include mapping and sampling of each excavated pit. These samples will be tested in South Africa following completion of fieldwork and used to produce a database of prospect information complementing historical work carried out on site.

    African Battery is testing for cobalt and nickel mineralisation at depth to reflect work conducted by Geovic Mining at its nearby licences. This demonstrated that mineralised horizons were below 6m. Specifically, African Battery wishes to test the theory that its licence interests show geological similarity to the nearby Nkamouna deposit. Here, Geovic published a NO 43-101-compliant total measured, indicated, and inferred mineral resource of 323Mt at 0.21pc cobalt, 0.61pc nickel, and 1.26pc manganese.

    African Battery’s developments in Cameroon come around a month since it recommenced exploration at its 70pc-owned Kisinka copper-cobalt project in the DRC. Last week, the firm revealed that it had completed a field programme at the asset, collecting a total of 663 termite mound samples. The organisation is now carrying out sample preparation, which is scheduled to end shortly. After this, it will carry out X-ray fluorescence spectrometry analysis to identify anomalous levels of copper and cobalt.

    In Monday’s update, African Battery’s executive director Paul Johnson said the firm’s approach to Cameroon would be similar to its work in the DRC.

    ‘As with Kisinka, we have opted to focus our initial exploration spend in a highly targeted manner, answering a simple exploration question and namely, do the identified target areas have geological similarity to the nearby Nkamouna deposit,’ he said. ‘If the answer is positive, the impact on the value of the project to the Company could be dramatic and certainly disproportionately beneficial against the underlying modest cost of conducting the planned pitting and sampling programme.’

    Elsewhere, this month saw African Battery unveil a significant acquisition and earn-in agreement in Botswana. The business has acquired an 18.26pc stake in an exploration and geological consultancy company called Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration for $194,821.

    Kalahari Key, established by Roger Key, Andy Moore, Simon Bate, and Rick Bonner in November 2014, is the 100pc owner of Molopo Farms Complex (MFC) project in south-west Botswana. Furthermore, African Battery has also secured the right to earn-in to a 40pc direct interest in MFC by spending $500,000 on the project by 31 December next year. This money would go towards ground exploration at the project, expected to include the drilling of high priority targets.

    MFC is made up of three exploration licences covering 2,725km2 that are thought to be prospective for nickel, PGM, and copper mineralisation. As well as acquiring all of the project’s historical exploration data, Kalahari Key has undertaken a high-resolution, helicopter-borne electromagnetic and magnetic survey on the area. This work identified 17 key zones of conductive rocks now being used to construct a priority list of targets for follow-up ground exploration.

    To read MiningMaven’s recent interview with Johnson on his plans for African Battery moving forward, 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.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services 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 Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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.

  • African Battery Metals completes field programme at Kisinka Copper-Cobalt Project (ABM)

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) outlined the next steps to be taken at its Kisinka Copper-Cobalt project in an update on Friday. Exploration recommenced at the project in April now following the firm successfully refinancing earlier in the year. The company reports current field activities were completed last week with a total of 663 termite mound samples being collected across the whole license area. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) will now be carried out on the samples to identify copper and cobalt mineralisation.

    In order to protect and preserve the company's working capital, African Battery has adopted a staged approach with initial wide area exploration focussed on identifying areas of anomalous copper and cobalt mineralisation, to be followed by follow up drilling if appropriate drill targets present themselves.

    Kisinka is a 53 sq km exploration licence located in an established world class producing cobalt district in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    The License has 8km of strike along the Roan group of rocks, which host the majority of the DRC’s copper and cobalt mines.  There are a number of large cobalt-copper mines in the area, both on strike and in the same rock structure to the west. African Battery is due to pay a second tranche of $100,000 which will secure a 70pc interest in the license.

    Paul Johnson, Executive Director of African Battery Metals commented:

    "Our team coped well with difficult on-site logistics as grass levels remained high after late rains, and we recruited additional casual support staff to ensure timely completion of the field phase of activities.

    This initial programme has been carried out with speed and efficiency and bodes well for our ability to operate effectively in the DRC.  We look forward to reporting results as these become available."

    Author: Stuart Langelaan

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

    The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

    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. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

     

     

  • African Battery Metals says it is ‘extremely well positioned’ for recovery in annual results (ABM)

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) sat at 0.4p today after reporting that it is ‘extremely well positioned’ for a strong recovery in the natural resources sector.

    In its results for the year ended 31 March 2019, the organisation revealed a loss of £0.32m, an improvement on the £0.79m loss it incurred in 2018.  It also reported that period-end net assets of £3m up from £2m on 30 September 2018.

    In its update, African Battery’s executive chairman Paul Johnson highlighted that the results period cover little of the time the firm has spent under his and chairman Andrew Bell leadership. The pair replaced African Battery’s former management team in February as part of a restructuring and refinancing exercise. This saw the company raise £1m to support it in the clearance of creditors through a combination of discounted cash and share settlement payments.

    Shortly after joining, the pair launched a strategic and operational review that has continued into the new annual results period. As part of a review of African Battery’s existing portfolio, the firm committed to continuing with the existing Kisinka copper-cobalt project in the DRC. A termite mound sampling programme covering the entire licence commenced in April, and a 7km copper anomaly was announced earlier this month.

    Meanwhile, Johnson and Bell have also committed to continuing with African Battery’s Cameroon cobalt-nickel project interests in the ground near to the substantial Nkamouna deposit. A pitting and sampling programme to test how similar the firm’s land is to the Nkamouna geology is currently underway. Finally, a review of the business’s Ivory Coast opportunity is continuing.

    Elsewhere, African Battery announced an option with Katoro Gold plc (LON:KAT) earlier this year to acquire up to a 35pc stake in its Haneti Nickel Project alongside the purchase of 10m ordinary shares in Katoro itself. After a period of due diligence, the company exercised this option in May.

    Following this, African Battery announce an acquisition and earn-in agreement with Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration, a private company in Botswana, last month. The organisation has acquired an initial 18pc of Kalahari Key’s issued share capital. However, it also has an option in 2019 to earn-in to a 40pc direct project interest by supporting expenditure in respect of a 4-hole drilling programme. This will focus on targets derived from extensive airborne electromagnetic and ground geophysical surveys and related exploration.

    Moving forward, Johnson said African Battery is continuing a review of various additional opportunities in a pipeline that is ‘bursting with potentially exciting natural resource projects’.

    ‘Despite the challenges in late 2018, ABM is now, in the opinion of the board, extremely well positioned for what we expect will be a strong natural resource sector recovery, particularly in respect of battery and electrification metals and storage metals,’ he added.

    ‘Notwithstanding the cleaning up of the outstanding creditors following the refinancing in February 2019, relaunching exploration programmes across two of our main projects, and acquiring new business interests we remain in a robust financial position.

    ‘The company's corporate cash costs are carefully monitored and controlled.  The ompany's operational costs are controlled and with modest with low cost programmes being undertaken, generally where the potential upside from positive exploration may be dramatic.

    ‘The company will be continuing to provide regular updates with regard to its corporate and operational activities over the coming weeks and months.  ABM will also release this month an update of the ongoing strategic and operational review, to provide an in-depth analysis of the business, its corporate strategy and how the individual operational activities will be undertaken to drive the company forward.’

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services 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 Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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.

     

  • African Battery to enter Botswana with ‘transformative’ acquisition and earn-in agreement

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) jumped 12.5pc to 0.4275p on Monday morning after unveiling a major acquisition and earn-in agreement in Botswana. The business has acquired an 18.26pc stake in an exploration and geological consultancy company called Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration for $194,821.

    Kalahari Key, established by Roger Key, Andy Moore, Simon Bate, and Rick Bonner in November 2014, is the 100pc owner of Molopo Farms Complex (MFC) project in south-west Botswana. Furthermore, African Battery has also secured the right to earn-in to a 40pc direct interest in MFC by spending $500,000 on the project by 31 December next year. This money would go towards ground exploration at the project, expected to include the drilling of high priority targets.

    MFC is made up of three exploration licences covering 2,725km2 that are thought to be prospective for nickel, PGM, and copper mineralisation. As well as acquiring all of the project’s historical exploration data, Kalahari Key has undertaken a high-resolution, helicopter-borne electromagnetic and magnetic survey on the area. This work identified 17 key zones of conductive rocks now being used to construct a priority list of targets for follow-up ground exploration.

    If African Battery chooses to complete its earn-in expenditure agreement, its effective interest in MFC would sit at 50.96pc. Meanwhile, company chairman Andrew Bell would be appointed to a new MFC Project operational committee, while director Paul Johnson would join the board of Kalahari Key.

    Neither the committee members or the existing new directors of Kalahari Key would be remunerated for their services. Finally, if African Battery decides to exercise its earn-in agreement, a JV agreement would be established between the company and Kalahari Key that will determine strategy, operational management, and corporate structuring.

    African Battery’s chairman Andrew Bell said he was ‘delighted’ to secure an opportunity in Botswana for African Battery’s shareholders.

    ‘Botswana is an exceptional country with exciting exploration opportunities and a superb operating environment,’he added. This significant opportunity comes to us after the MFC Project has already benefitted from extensive historical exploration that has already identified 17 targets through Airborne Electomagnetic Surveys.

    ‘There is some further Airborne Electromagnetic work to do, with ground exploration follow up and ongoing target prioritisation. However, the ultimate key to unlocking the value from exploration targets under sand cover is via the drill rig and we will be working with Kalahari Key to identify the quickest route to active drilling operations.’

    Bell added that African Battery’s board considers the investment to be consistent with the company’s stated policy of seeking battery metal exposure in Africa.

    ‘We also believe that further exploration success at the MFC Project would, by virtue of the potential scale, have a transformative impact on the prospects of ABM and on investor sentiment towards it,’ he said. ‘I am delighted to be working with the Kalahari Key team and would like to emphasise the diligent work they have done to bring the MFC Project to its current position. These are exciting times and we anticipate further updates in respect of Botswana and our other business interests in the near future.”

    Roger Key, chief executive at Kalahari Key, added: ‘Kalahari Key is very pleased to have reached this agreement with African Battery Metals and we look forward to a productive partnership. The work done on the MFC Project so far has reinforced our belief that we have a significant resource with a geological model analogous to Voisey Bay. We welcome the financial input from ABM that will enable us to move quickly into a drilling phase, and we also appreciate the management and organisational benefits that come from a close working relationship with ABM.’ 

    African Battery is an AIM listed, Africa-focused, resource company exploring for the key metals that will be used in next-generation batteries fuelling the new electric vehicle revolution. Johnson and Bell joined the business earlier this year as part of a proposed restructuring and refinancing package that saw the firm ultimately return from suspension.

    Shortly afterwards, the company revealed an investment and option agreement with Katoro Gold (LSE:KAT). Under the contract, African Battery will be able to purchase up to 10m shares in Katoro at 1p each with three-year warrants attached. It also has the right to purchase up to 35pc in Katoro’s 100pc-owned Haneti nickel project in Tanzania, for a total consideration of up to £125,000. 

    Haneti comprises tenements covering an area of around 5,000km2 prospective for nickel, platinum-group-elements, cobalt, copper, gold, and lithium. Previous work has identified grades of up to 13.6pc nickel at the project, and an exploration programme this year will aim to confirm the existence of disseminated or massive sulphide mineralisation in the area. Alongside Haneti, Katoro owns a further two gold projects in Tanzania called Imweru and Lubando. Together, these host a JORC-compliant resource of 754,980oz gold.

    To read MiningMaven’s recent interview with Johnson on his plans for African Battery moving forward, 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.

     

    The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

     

    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. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

  • African Battery to enter Botswana with ‘transformative’ acquisition and earn-in agreement (ABM)

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) jumped 12.5pc to 0.4275p on Monday morning after unveiling a major acquisition and earn-in agreement in Botswana. The business has acquired an 18.26pc stake in an exploration and geological consultancy company called Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration for $194,821.

    Kalahari Key, established by Roger Key, Andy Moore, Simon Bate, and Rick Bonner in November 2014, is the 100pc owner of Molopo Farms Complex (MFC) project in south-west Botswana. Furthermore, African Battery has also secured the right to earn-in to a 40pc direct interest in MFC by spending $500,000 on the project by 31 December next year. This money would go towards ground exploration at the project, expected to include the drilling of high priority targets.

    MFC is made up of three exploration licences covering 2,725km2 that are thought to be prospective for nickel, PGM, and copper mineralisation. As well as acquiring all of the project’s historical exploration data, Kalahari Key has undertaken a high-resolution, helicopter-borne electromagnetic and magnetic survey on the area. This work identified 17 key zones of conductive rocks now being used to construct a priority list of targets for follow-up ground exploration.

    If African Battery chooses to complete its earn-in expenditure agreement, its effective interest in MFC would sit at 50.96pc. Meanwhile, company chairman Andrew Bell would be appointed to a new MFC Project operational committee, while director Paul Johnson would join the board of Kalahari Key.

    Neither the committee members or the existing new directors of Kalahari Key would be remunerated for their services. Finally, if African Battery decides to exercise its earn-in agreement, a JV agreement would be established between the company and Kalahari Key that will determine strategy, operational management, and corporate structuring.

    African Battery’s chairman Andrew Bell said he was ‘delighted’ to secure an opportunity in Botswana for African Battery’s shareholders.

    ‘Botswana is an exceptional country with exciting exploration opportunities and a superb operating environment,’he added. This significant opportunity comes to us after the MFC Project has already benefitted from extensive historical exploration that has already identified 17 targets through Airborne Electomagnetic Surveys.

    ‘There is some further Airborne Electromagnetic work to do, with ground exploration follow up and ongoing target prioritisation. However, the ultimate key to unlocking the value from exploration targets under sand cover is via the drill rig and we will be working with Kalahari Key to identify the quickest route to active drilling operations.’

    Bell added that African Battery’s board considers the investment to be consistent with the company’s stated policy of seeking battery metal exposure in Africa.

    ‘We also believe that further exploration success at the MFC Project would, by virtue of the potential scale, have a transformative impact on the prospects of ABM and on investor sentiment towards it,’ he said. ‘I am delighted to be working with the Kalahari Key team and would like to emphasise the diligent work they have done to bring the MFC Project to its current position. These are exciting times and we anticipate further updates in respect of Botswana and our other business interests in the near future.”

    Roger Key, chief executive at Kalahari Key, added: ‘Kalahari Key is very pleased to have reached this agreement with African Battery Metals and we look forward to a productive partnership. The work done on the MFC Project so far has reinforced our belief that we have a significant resource with a geological model analogous to Voisey Bay. We welcome the financial input from ABM that will enable us to move quickly into a drilling phase, and we also appreciate the management and organisational benefits that come from a close working relationship with ABM.’ 

    African Battery is an AIM listed, Africa-focused, resource company exploring for the key metals that will be used in next-generation batteries fuelling the new electric vehicle revolution. Johnson and Bell joined the business earlier this year as part of a proposed restructuring and refinancing package that saw the firm ultimately return from suspension.

    Shortly afterwards, the company revealed an investment and option agreement with Katoro Gold (LSE:KAT). Under the contract, African Battery will be able to purchase up to 10m shares in Katoro at 1p each with three-year warrants attached. It also has the right to purchase up to 35pc in Katoro’s 100pc-owned Haneti nickel project in Tanzania, for a total consideration of up to £125,000. 

    Haneti comprises tenements covering an area of around 5,000km2 prospective for nickel, platinum-group-elements, cobalt, copper, gold, and lithium. Previous work has identified grades of up to 13.6pc nickel at the project, and an exploration programme this year will aim to confirm the existence of disseminated or massive sulphide mineralisation in the area. Alongside Haneti, Katoro owns a further two gold projects in Tanzania called Imweru and Lubando. Together, these host a JORC-compliant resource of 754,980oz gold.

    To read MiningMaven’s recent interview with Johnson on his plans for African Battery moving forward, 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.

     

    The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

     

    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. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

  • African Battery to progress DRC copper-cobalt asset following strategic review (ABM)

    African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) fell 4.3pc to 0.45p on Monday after announcing that it will proceed with its copper-cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The business, which was trading flat with a £1.63m valuation on Tuesday, said it is now discussing a next stage exploration programme for its 70pc-owned and operated Kisinka asset.

    The decision followed a site visit by chairman Andrew Bell who, alongside executive director Paul Johnson, replaced the firm’s old management team last month. After meeting with local technical advisers & vendors and analysing existing data, African Battery says it has found ways to modify Kisinka’s exploration programme and optimise expenditure. A further announcement will be made regarding a new programme ‘in due course’.

    Alongside this, African Battery said that all outstanding Kisinka project payments have now been made to the site’s vendor, who is also 30pc owner. Meanwhile, the company has made changes to the site’s legal ownership structure to ensure it complies with the new local mining act. Consequently, Kisinka is in ‘good standing’ according to African Battery.

    Johnson said he was looking ‘looking forward’ to taking the site forward, adding that the firm is continuing to review its assets in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast over coming weeks. It will report back individually on each these.

    This work forms part of an ongoing strategic and operational review aimed at reorganising African Battery. This comes after the outfit was suspended from trading under its previous board last December as demands from short-term creditors exceeded available working capital. It was re-admitted last month after shareholders voted in favour of a host of proposals aimed and restructuring the business under Bell and Johnson.

    This included a conditional placing and subscription to raise £1m at 0.5p a share and help pay off creditors. Last week, African Battery said it has now paid all material creditor balances through either cash or share settlements.  It now has no material debt and free working capital of around £860,000. It believes this figure will cover corporate plc costs, anticipated project exploration, and expenditure on existing interests for 12 months.

    Alongside African Battery’s existing project interests, Bell and Johnson are reviewing the organisation’s administration and management. They are also looking at new opportunities in battery metals, precious metals, and other commodity groups with a principal focus on Africa.

    In Tuesday’s update, Johnson added: ‘The overriding objective of the Company now is to work efficiently through our review of existing interests and where we decide to proceed, to design and implement exploration and development programmes efficiently. In parallel we continue to review additional opportunities where we see potential for considerable value to be added to our business for shareholders. Further update announcements are expected in the near term.’

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

    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. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

  • Arc begins exploration work on ‘potentially game-changing’ prospects in Zambia (ARCM)

    Shares in Arc Minerals (LSE:ARCM) sat at 2.3p on Friday after the business revealed that it has begun work on its potentially ‘game-changing’ exploration targets in northwestern Zambia.

    The firm has started an exploration programme on the targets, identified by airborne geophysical work and follow-up analysis earlier this year at the copper-cobalt licence owned by Zamsort. Arc holds a 66pc equity interest in Zamsort together with a convertible loan that could increase its stake in the private company by a further 5pc.

    The targets include Cheyeza West, located around 7km west of Cheyeza East where historical drilling has intersected zones of pervasive copper mineralisation. Chezea West is characterised by a historical EM anomaly that could represent a conductive unit like sulphide-rich sediment as well as well-defined radiometric anomalies.

    Another target identified by the work is Lumbeta, which stretches for 11km and is associated with the crest of a fold. According to Arc, these formations can act as mineralisation traps and form high-grade deposits. Upon announcing the discoveries in February, Arc’s executive chairman Nick von Schirnding said they could represent a ‘potential game changer for the business’.

    In Friday’s update, Arc said infill soil sampling has begun over the new target areas, with 1,200 samples already completed. This work will reduce the spacing between profile lines from 1km to 200m, allowing for more defined drilling of targets. Arc added that the prospects have continued to exceed expectations to date and will be drilled as soon as weather conditions permit.

    Von Schirnding added: ‘I am very pleased to have completed the follow up work on the new anomalies and to have commenced the soil sampling programme early having been able to access Cheyeza West during intermittent dry periods.  As soon as weather conditions allow we shall be deploying rigs to Cheyeza West in the first instance and start our drilling programme. The Cheyeza West and Lumbeta anomalies, as highlighted on the attached map, are around 10 order of magnitudes larger than anything previously looked at in the Zamsort project area - and is a potential game changer for Arc Minerals.’

    Friday’s progress comes just days after Arc revealed that it had completed the construction of a demonstration pilot plant at Zamsort’s Kalaba prospect. The business said the plant was completed under budget at its part-owned Kalaba prospect and has been commissioned successfully with the initial production of copper/cobalt sulphide concentrate.

    Kalaba is a copper-cobalt licence covering nine of 30 high priority targets ranked by a previous JV operated by Anglo American. It is found near First Quantum’s Sentinel and Kansanshi and Barrick’s Lumwana mines. The project has an existing near-surface estimated copper-cobalt oxide resource of 16.59Mt at 0.94pc copper and a historical exploration target of 150Mt. This makes it one of the most significant projects of its type in Zambia.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Arc Minerals completes key production plant in Zambia (ARCM)

    Arc Minerals (LSE:ARCM) rose 1.9pc to 2.6p on Monday morning after announcing that it has completed the construction of a demonstration pilot plant at one of its copper/cobalt licences in Zambia. The business said the plant was completed under budget at its part-owned Kalaba prospect and has been successfully commissioned with the initial production of copper/cobalt sulphide concentrate.

    Kalaba is a copper-cobalt licence covering nine of 30 high priority targets ranked by a previous JV operated by Anglo American. It is found near First Quantum’s Sentinel and Kansanshi and Barrick’s Lumwana mines. The project has an existing near-surface estimated copper-cobalt oxide resource of 16.59Mt at 0.94pc copper and a historical exploration target of 150Mt. This makes it one of the most significant projects of its type in Zambia.

    Kalaba is owned by a private company called Zamsort, which is in turn 66pc owned by Arc. Alongside this equity position, Arc has issued a convertible loan to Zamsort that converts into an additional c.5pc stake.

    Arc is now finalising detailed oxide resource tonnages, grades, and mining line with the completion of the block modelling of Kalaba’s overall oxide resource. The block model assessment of the ore body will be the basis for a review of operational and mining strategy at the site. This will include the cost-benefit potential of upgrading the oxide ore feed into the plant aimed at materially reducing consumption of acid and related input costs.

    Arc said that initial production at its demonstration plant would incur no mining costs because feed will be drawn down from an existing stockpile of 10,000ts at 2pc copper. Finally, the organisation said it is also looking at the potential of using the plant to enhance revenue streams through the production of separate copper and cobalt sulphide precipitates.

    Arc’s executive chairman Nick von Schirnding said: ‘I am very pleased to report that we delivered on our commitment to complete the construction and commissioning of the small-scale demonstration pilot plant at Kalaba. We have now completed the plant under budget - for less than half a million dollars.  It is also an important step regarding Zamsort's previous commitments in terms of its exploration licenses. In the meantime, we have made major progress regarding our next phase of exploration and our newly identified targets. A more detailed update on this will be made shortly.’

    In February, Arc announced that it had identified two ‘potentially game-changing’ new targets on Zamsort’s acreage in Zambia. The business released the initial results of an airborne geophysical and soil sampling programme at the copper-cobalt licence owned by Zamsort.

    The work revealed seven new anomalies, the largest of which are Cheyeza West and Lumbeta. Cheyeza West contains a 3km-by-3km anomaly outlined by very high copper values in the soils enclosed by the wider 10km-by-8km Cheyeza anomaly. Furthermore, a co-incident electromagnetic anomaly over the core has indicated conductivity within the host rock.

    Meanwhile, the Lumbeta target stretches for 11km and is associated with the crest of a fold. According to Arc, these formations can act as mineralisation traps and form high-grade deposits

    Arc expects to release a more detailed update ‘shortly’ once it has assessed the results of the programme thoroughly with its external exploration consultants.

    Von Schirnding said Cheyeza West and Lumbeta are close to ten times the size of Kalaba.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Arc Minerals jumps as Zamsort surveys reveal two ‘game-changing’ targets (ARCM)

    Shares in Arc Minerals (LSE:ARCM) rose 5.4pc to 3.1p on Monday morning after the firm revealed two ‘potentially game-changing’ new targets in northwestern Zambia.

    The business released the initial results of an airborne geophysical and soil sampling programme at the copper-cobalt licence owned by Zamsort. Arc holds a 66pc equity interest in Zamsort together with a convertible loan that converts into an additional c.5pc stake in the private business.

    The work revealed seven new anomalies, the largest of which are Cheyeza West and Lumbeta. Cheyeza West contains a 3km-by-3km anomaly outlined by very high copper values in the soils enclosed by the wider 10km-by-8km Cheyeza anomaly. Furthermore, a co-incident electromagnetic anomaly over the core has indicated conductivity within the host rock.

    Meanwhile, the Lumbeta target stretches for 11km and is associated with the crest of a fold. According to Arc, these formations can act as mineralisation traps and form high-grade deposits. Details of the six further identified targets are presented in the chart below.

    Arc expects to release a more detailed update ‘shortly’ once it has assessed the results of the programme thoroughly with its external exploration consultants.

    Executive chairman Nick von Schirnding said Cheyeza West and Lumbeta are close to ten times the size of Kalaba, currently Zamsort’s primary focus. Kalaba is a copper-cobalt licence covering nine of 30 high priority targets ranked by a previous JV operated by Anglo American. It is found near First Quantum’s Sentinel and Kansanshi and Barrick’s Lumwana mines.

    The project has an existing near-surface estimated copper-cobalt oxide resource of 16.59Mt at 0.94pc copper and a historical exploration target of 150Mt. This makes it one of the most significant projects of its type in Zambia. With this in mind, von Schirnding added that Monday’s discoveries represent a ‘potential game changer’ for Arc.

    ‘The initial results from the airborne survey and soil sampling programme are extremely exciting and have exceeded all our expectations. It is clear that our licences lie in a very prospective mineral belt adjacent to Zambia's largest copper mines and we believe they have the potential to host not one but multiple large new copper deposits,’ he said. ‘We have been approached by some very large industry players and are in discussions. We continue to assess the data as it becomes available and look forward to reporting further on this shortly.’

    Monday’s news comes just one week after Arc announced the imminent completion of a plant at Kalaba. In the update, the organisation said the back end of a commercial scale demonstration plant being constructed by Zamsort was ready for imminent commissioning. Initial production is scheduled shortly afterwards.

    The business said the announcement followed a period of ‘excellent progress’ at Kalaba. In November, the company’s technical team completed the front end of the plant. This is made up of two crusher units, screen, a ball mill, and conveyors. This section was then commissioned in December, with an initial capacity to process 10,000ts of ore a month.

    In last week’s update, Arc said the plant has a fully permitted, renewable mining licence through to 2025 and is funded through to initial production. It added that it is also in discussions with several off-takers regarding future sales.

    Arc also owns a 100pc interest in Casa Mining, a private company that has a 71.25pc stake in the Akyanga gold deposit in the DRC. At the end of July last year, the business rose 12.5pc after reporting that a JORC mineral resource for Akyanga had almost doubled to 3m ounces of gold averaging 2.16 grams per tonne.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Arc Minerals spikes as Cheyeza drilling results impress (ARCM)

    Arc Minerals (LSE:ARCM) bounced 6.5pc to 3.3p on Tuesday morning after revealing ‘highly-encouraging’ drilling results at its Cheyeza copper target in Zambia.

    The £23.3m explorer and developer said its maiden drill program confirmed the significant copper mineralisation discovered back in June. This was based within a 3km by 0.8km area of particular interest at Cheyeza East where Arc identified up to 2,792 parts per million copper.

    On Tuesday, the company said that one of its holes in the area assayed 25m at 1.05pc copper from 2m depth including 1.7pc copper over 9.3m from 18.5m.  This intersection featured an even more impressive 13.34pc copper over 0.56m from 27.24m. Beyond this, another hole drilled 200m south also indicated significant mineralisation.

    Cheyeza was one of several areas identified by geophysics and geochemistry work completed by Arc at its 66pc-owned Zamsort asset last year. The business said it has now deployed two rigs to the east of the asset so it can continue to test the full extent of its anomaly both along strike and down dip. It plans to prioritise targets for further, detailed exploratory activities.

    Arc’s executive chairman Nick von Schirnding said Tuesday’s results ‘exceeded all our expectations both in terms of grade and thickness.’ He added: ‘While we are still at an early stage in the drilling programme, these results are highly encouraging and we have now deployed two rigs to Cheyeza East. Importantly our third hole 200 meters south also shows significant mineralization.’

    Another target identified by Arc at Zamsort last year was Lumbeta, which stretches for 11km and is associated with the crest of a fold. According to Arc, these formations can act as mineralisation traps and form high-grade deposits. Upon announcing the discoveries in February, Arc’s executive chairman von Schirnding said they could represent a ‘potential game changer’ for the firm.

    Elsewhere, Arc is continuing to develop its more advanced Kalaba prospect at Zamsort. Kalaba is a copper-cobalt licence covering nine of 30 high priority targets ranked by a previous JV operated by Anglo American. It is found near First Quantum’s Sentinel and Kansanshi and Barrick’s Lumwana mines. The project has an existing near-surface estimated copper-cobalt oxide resource of 16.59Mt at 0.94pc copper and a historical exploration target of 150Mt. This makes it one of the most significant projects of its type in Zambia.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Arc Minerals to accelerate activities at Zamsort with cash injection (ARCM)

    Directors and management of Arc Minerals (LSE:ARCM) collectively bought just over 3.76m shares as part of a private placing that saw the company raise a total of £2.2m. Existing investors will likely be pleased that the funds were raised at the current share price of 3p.

    In an announcement Monday, Arc said the proceeds will be primarily used to progress its flagship Zamsort Copper Project in Zambia. Earlier this month, the firm released the initial results from an airborne geophysical and soil sampling programme at the copper-cobalt licence, revealing seven new anomalies.

    The company holds a 66pc interest in Zamsort limited which is developing the Kalaba copper-cobalt project in north-west Zambia.  Zamsort has 850 km2 of exploration ground under license in the highly prospective region of the Zambian Copperbelt. The area now accounts for a substantial part of Zambian copper production and the Kalaba project and the surrounding Zamsort exploration licenses are in close proximity to large operations such as First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel and Kansanshi mines and Barrick Gold’s Lumwana mine.

    Arc expects production at the Kalaba demonstration plant will commence soon.

    The commercial-scale plant, being constructed by Zamsort, is in the latter stages of completion and is fully permitted with an initial mining license until 2025.

    Since the placing was private and non-brokered no fees or commissions will be deducted, allowing all of the cash to be fully utilised. Participants in the placing will receive one warrant for each share purchased which can be exercised at 4.5p over the next three years. 

    Six officers of the company participated in the fundraise investing an aggregate £113k with Executive Chairman, Nick von Schirnding contributing the lions share. Schirnding now holds around 16m shares representing 2.26pc of the company.

    Schirnding, said: "We were approached by two family offices, one of which is already a shareholder, for further funding to progress our newly identified targets at Zamsort. This is a very good outcome for us and as a result we will be accelerating work in respect of Cheyeza West and other key targets and will start a comprehensive drilling programme as soon as possible.

    I look forward to an exciting time ahead with significant newsflow for the Company as we deliver on our strategy." 

    Author: Stuart Langelaan

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

     

     

  • Arc Minerals up 38pc week-on-week after identifying a large new target at Zamsort (ARCM)

    The share price of Arc Minerals (LSE:ARCM) jumped 15pc to 3.88p in early trading on Thursday after the firm revealed it has identified a large new target at its flagship asset, Zamsort. The new target, called West Lunga, contains anomalous copper over a 6km strike, with peak concentrations of 463 parts per million (ppm) of copper identified.

    West Lunga sits in the western part of Arc’s licences in Zambia and shares the same horizon as the world-class Kamoa deposit. The new find is one of eight high priority areas on the license located in the Central African Copperbelt. Arc holds a 66pc interest in the Zamsort asset via an equity holding in privately owned Zamsort Limited.

    Nick von Schirnding, Executive Chairman of Arc commented: "This is very encouraging news - especially having been identified by the discovery team of Kamoa, one of the largest high-grade copper discoveries of recent times.  This development means we are going to review the ranking of our 14 priority drill targets and it is likely that we will prioritise West Lunga as one of our highest priority targets."

    License area with the West Lunga target

    Arc is also continuing to develop its more advanced Kalaba prospect at Zamsort. Kalaba is a copper-cobalt licence covering nine of 30 high priority targets ranked by a previous joint venture operated by Anglo American. First Quantum’s Sentinel and Kansanshi, and Barrick’s Lumwana mines are close by. The project has an existing near-surface estimated copper-cobalt oxide resource of 16.59Mt at 0.94pc copper and a historical exploration target of 150Mt. This makes it one of the most significant projects of its type in Zambia.

    It’s been an exceptional week for those invested in Arc, with its share price leaping 38pc in the past 7 days. This was, in part, due to positive news released on Tuesday regarding its Cheyeza asset in Zambia. The company announced its maiden drilling campaign has confirmed significant copper mineralisation at Cheyeza East. Highlights included 25m @ 1.05pc Copper from 2m depth, including 1.7pc Copper over 9.3m from 18.5m. These initial holes were drilled in a 3km by 0.8km area where as much as 2,792 ppm of copper were identified in the soils.

    The firm is continuing to drill to test the anomaly further, both along strike and down dip with an initial 1,200m diamond drill programme planned for each of the key targets. Once results are in from these exploratory drills, Arc will prioritise targets for more detailed work.

    Von Schirnding said the drill results have ‘exceeded all our expectations both in terms of grade and thickness’ and highlights that a third hole located 200 metres south also showed significant mineralisation.

    Author: Stuart Langelaan

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Asiamet announces further progress towards BKM bankable feasibility study (ARS)

    Asiamet Resources (LSE:ARS) sat at 6.6p on Wednesday after revealing that strong drilling results have taken it another step closer to completing a bankable feasibility study (BFS) for its BKM copper deposit in Indonesia.

    The business said that the latest round of assay results received from infill and geotechnical drilling have confirmed its expectations for the deposit. It added that they also ‘further strengthen’ resource models at the site.

    Highlights from the latest results include a hole called BKM31550-06 that delivered 19m at 1.16pc copper from a depth of 72.5m. This included 5m at 1.43pc copper from 82.5m depth and 2m at 2.61pc copper from 89.5m depth. Another hole called BKM31550-09 included 27m at 0.67pc copper from 57.5m depth. This featured 3m at 2.15pc copper from 80.5m depth.

    Asiamet has now completed 37 resource evaluation holes and four geotechnical holes for 5,665m of diamond core drilling. It has received assays results for 32 holes, with the remaining nine expected before the end of the month. Once the company gets these, it will update its resource models at BKM, using this to generate first ore reserves for the BKM copper project.

    Asiamet’s chief executive Peter Bird said the results strengthen the business’s position as it moved into the final phase of mine and process design to generate an initial ore reserve for BKM.

    ‘Upside potential in and around the BKM deposit remains very high and an external geological consultant with extensive experience in Indonesia has recently been engaged to further strengthen our understanding of the BKM geological system and develop a suite of additional high potential near mine Resource targets for testing in the next round of drilling,’ he added. ‘This work is currently under way and we look forward to providing an update on this target generation program shortly.’

    The BKM BFS is expected to precede the delivery of a final feasibility study by the close of H1 2019 and first production by the end of the year. Asiamet has already carried out a preliminary economic assessment at BKM, which gave the site an after-tax NPV10 of $204m and after-tax IRR of 39pc. This calculation was based around a 25ktpa copper cathode heap leach operation to be carried out over an initial eight years.

    BKM’s NPV alone dwarfs Asiamet’s current £66.2m (c.$87.6m) market cap considerably. What’s more, this figure doesn’t include the ‘district-scale potential’ Asiamet expects to be on offer in the area surrounding the project. This point was highlighted last month when institutional investor JP Morgan took advantage of a slump in Asiamet’s share price amid the resource market downturn to increase its stake to 9.37pc.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Asiamet dips as it reveals feasibility study results for major project in Indonesia (ARS)

    Shares in Asiamet (LSE:ARS) dropped 11.7pc to 4.7p on Friday following the release of series of updates for its BKM copper deposit in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Among the updates, Asiamet revealed that it has now completed a feasibility study on developing BKM using open pit mining and a solvent extraction-electrowinning copper heap leach.

    The work gave the project an initial nine-year mine life producing up to 25,000ts of copper cathode per annum alongside initial capital expenditure of $192m. What’s more, the study highlighted additional value enhancement opportunities at the project with the potential to improve valuation by a minimum of $35 million on a risked weighted basis.

    However, some investors were left underwhelmed by the study’s post-tax NPV(8) for the project of $133.5m and its 19.5pc internal rate of return. In comparison, a previous PEA for the project gave it an after tax NPV10 of $204m and an after rax IRR of 39pc, according to Asiamet’s website. What’s more, the study applied an economic assumption of a long-term copper price of $3.30/lb, a significant premium to where the metal is currently trading.

    However, some would argue that this assumption reflects the belief of many that the red metal is entering an exciting phase moving forward that could make it a stand-out medium to long-term investment. As we covered in our recent ‘View from the City’ article on Asiamet, these forecasts are driven by an expected lack of supply as demand for copper increases from the electric vehicle and developing economies like China.

    In a further update on Friday, Asiamet revealed a maiden ore reserve for BKM. This comprised 137k contained tonnes of copper in the proved category, 166k contained tonnes of copper in the probable category, and, in turn, 303k contained tonnes of copper in the proved and probable category. Finally, the firm also released an update copper resource for the asset that gave it total resources of 69.6Mt at 0.6pc copper for 451.9k of contained copper.

    Regardless of investors’ reactions to the feasibility study, Asiamet said the results pave the way for it to enter detailed discussions with potential partners and financial institutions who have expressed an interest in BKM. Asiamet’s chief executive Peter Bird added that the project evaluation ‘greatly exceeds’ the company’s current £48.5m market cap. He said that limited value has also been ascribed to the other high potential project’s in the business’s portfolio, which include BKZ and the large Beutong project.

    ‘Completion of the BFS is a major milestone for Asiamet. We are very pleased with the outputs derived as they deliver a technically and financially robust project that can be significantly further improved through a number of clearly defined initiatives,’he said.

    ‘The value enhancement initiatives together with the exceptional exploration upside identified proximal to the BKM project have the potential to extend mine life and provide a substantial uplift in overall project value. Evaluation of these items is next on the agenda with resultant outcomes to be considered and followed by the detailed engineering and design phase.’

    ‘Having successfully completed the Feasibility Study, we are now in a position to complete detailed discussions with potential partners and advance an array of debt and equity financing opportunities. We look forward to providing an update on these initiatives over the coming weeks and months.’

    To read an analysis of Asiamet and its prospects from our sister site ValueTheMarkets in its recent ‘View from the City’ report, 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.

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Asiamet reports steady progress at BKM as it prepares bankable feasibility study (ARS)

    Shares in Asiamet Resources (LSE:ARS) sat flat at 4.3p on Friday after the firm said work at its Beruang Kanan Main (BKM) copper deposit is going to plan.

    The business is carrying out additional resource evaluation drilling as part of a bankable feasibility study (BFS) at the site. As it stands, 22 holes for nearly 3,000m of diamond core drilling have completed. Drilling is ongoing, with a further 1,825m planned. This is expected to be completed by five drill rigs by the end of the current quarter.

    In an update, the firm said results from the first four holes confirm the continuity of mineralisation in the southern part of the BKM deposit. Moderate to strong chalcocite-covellite mineralisation was intersected just below the zone of oxidation. Some samples returned grades of up to 5.52pc copper.

    A preliminary economic assessment has given BKM an NPV10 of $204m, and an internal rate of return of 39pc based on a 431.9kt contained copper resource. Asiamet plans to develop an open pit mine that will produce 25kt of copper cathode a year over eight years, with immediate expansion potential.

    However, it hopes its current programme of drilling can upgrade and capture additional inferred resources at the site. If successful, it expects this to enhance BKM’s project economics and the robustness of its BFS significantly ahead of project financing. The firm plans to begin production later this year, with financing discussions underway.

    In today’s update, Asiamet’s chief executive Peter Bird said initial drilling were positive and in line with expectations.

    He added: ‘With operational work continuing apace we expect to be consistently reporting further results as they come to hand over the coming weeks leading into completion of the BFS. In addition to the ongoing technical programme, various work streams relating to the Environmental Impact Assessment ("AMDAL") for BKM and forestry use permits are also being progressed along with due diligence investigations and commercial discussions with potential partners on both our main projects. We look forward to providing further updates as they become available.’

    Author: Daniel Flynn

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.
    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.
    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.
    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

  • Atalaya Mining announces increase in production guidance with quarterly results

    Atalaya Mining was up 5% on the release of its 3rd quarter results this morning. The company has increased its 2018 production guidance from 37,000 - 40,000 tonnes to 39,000 - 41,000 tonnes of copper as a result of improved recoveries, ore grade and throughput.

  • Atalaya Mining copper production on target to meet full-year guidance ahead of ramping output in 2020 (ATYM)

    The share price of Atalaya Mining (LSE: ATYM) was flat on Monday after the firm released an update regarding its operations in the first quarter of this year. In the announcement, Atalaya reiterated its copper production guidance at 45,000-46,500 tonnes for 2019, with production up 8pc compared with the same period last year. However, copper output decreased 9pc quarter-on-quarter, although it’s worth noting Q4 2018 was a record quarter and production for Q1 2019 is still in line with expectations.

    The company is looking to ramp up production up to 55,000 tonnes of copper in 2020 as it expands its plant at Proyecto Riotinto to process 15 Million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). The company reports the expansion project has ‘progressed materially’ in the first quarter and expects mechanical completion by the end of Q2 2019. The firm has two ongoing drilling programmes at Proyecto Riotinto underway. The first is targeting massive sulphides and stockwork mineralisation under the Atalaya pit, while lateral extenstions of massive sulphides and stockwork are being drilled at Filon Sur.

    Meanwhile, at Proyecto Touro - a copper project in Spain – feedback regarding environmental impact studies has been received from the relevant authorities. Atalaya has an earn-in agreement to own up to 80pc of the Proyecto Touro project.

    Alberto Lavandeira, CEO commented: "During the first quarter of 2019 our operations at the Riotinto mine continued to deliver strong operating results. Simultaneously the construction activities for the modernisation and expansion of the plant are expected to meet our self-imposed tight schedule of mechanical completion by the end of the second quarter. Based on the excellent expertise of the teams on site we are confident that the project will be concluded on time and on budget and that we will achieve our full year production guidance."

    Author: Stuart Langelaan

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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.

  • CEO Rick Mazur outlines Forum Energy's strategy of diversifying into battery metals space (FMC)

    Article published with kind permission from ValuetheMarkets - Originally published on ValueTheMarkets.com on 4th April 2019

    In today’s podcast ValueTheMarkets talks with President and CEO of Canadian-listed Forum Energy Metals (TSX-V:FMC), Rick Mazur. Historically the company has been focused on uranium assets which it still holds, but last year Forum made two acquisitions, one copper project and one cobalt. Rick Mazur explains more about the company’s strategy of diversifying into the battery metals space while sentiment in the uranium market is still low. Most of the company’s assets are located in Saskatchewan, Canada’s number one rated mining jurisdiction. Forum has a majority interest in seven drill ready uranium projects in the prolific Athabasca Basin and recently completed a successful first pass drill program at its Janice Lake district scale sedimentary copper project located 55km southeast of the Key Lake processing facility. In September, Forum gained a strategic foothold in Idaho’s cobalt belt with the acquisition of the Quartz Gulch exploration property.  

    All opinions expressed are those of ValueTheMarkets and the respective guests unless otherwise stated and should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation to buy shares in any featured Company. Listeners are advised to do their own extensive research before buying shares which, as with all small-cap exploration stocks, should be viewed as high risk. Investors should also seek the advice of a qualified investment adviser or stockbroker as they deem appropriate.

    Author: Stuart Langelaan

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

    The Author has been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services 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 Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy. 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.

     

  • Coronavirus highlights critical need for diversity in the battery metals supply chain

    The problems inherent in a battery metals supply chain supremely concentrated on China have been spotlighted by coronavirus, but the problems have been in play for years. 

    The bottleneck was there for all to see long before the spread of Covid-19 shuttered factories across China. 

    According to a Wednesday report by the Associated Press “the problem is supply chains. China’s are famously nimble and resourceful, but they lack raw materials and workers after the most intensive anti-disease measures ever imposed closed factories [and] cut off most access to cities with more than 60 million people.”

    While companies have begun to re-open, there are ongoing higher costs and significant delays. A mid-February survey by The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai found that 78% of businesses in Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and the wider Yangtze River Delta did not have enough staff to run full production lines. 

    Nearly half said their global operations had already been affected by the shutdown and 58% said their output would be lower than normal until at least the second half of 2020.

    Away from China

    Manufacturers are looking for new suppliers but few can compete on price and almost none can match China’s levels of service.

    These problems have been evident since President Donald Trump ignited the ongoing US-China trade war by imposing tariffs on imports from the trading giant. 

    And shifting production away from the Chinese state and into perceived cheaper South East Asian alternatives comes with its own set of problems. 

    A Wall Street Journal report written in the wake of the early stages of the trade dispute noted: “This should be Vietnam’s chance to shine. Instead it is becoming increasingly clear that it will be years, if ever, before this nation and other aspiring manufacturing destinations are ready to replace China as the world’s factory floor.

    The problem is even more acute for producers and users of battery metals. 

    Mitchell Smith, chief executive and president of cobalt development company Global Energy Metals (TSX-V:GEMC) told MiningMaven: “Coronavirus is having a large disruptive effect on the overall commodity marketplace as we are already witnessing large builds in stockpiles of minerals given the inability to transport and handle material at Chinese ports. The same can be said about exports of refined product.”

    Gigafactory

    Battery metals are key to the growth of the renewables industry: lithium-ion batteries form the basis for powering electric vehicles, for example.

    And while the explosion in the number of electric vehicles is set to drive the renewables revolution, the fact is that supply chains are simply not ready to produce the number of batteries that this wholesale change will require. 

    Elon Musk’s Tesla is ahead of the curve. Its $4.5 billion Gigafactory 1 in Nevada opened in 2016. Musk said at least 100 of these gigantic electric vehicle assembly lines would be needed to power the future growth of the industry.

    And yet Tesla has started building its latest Gigafactory not in the United States, but in China. Tesla has struggled to recruit enough engineers in America to run operations, an issue it believes — or believed, until coronavirus broke out — could be solved by China’s army of specialists. 

    Europe’s first Tesla-inspired battery megafactory belongs to Sweden’s Northvolt. That company received a €350 million loan from the European Investment Bank in May 2019 to get the project started. But this is one of only a handful being built outside China. 

    In 2017, there were 17 lithium-ion battery mega-factories under construction globally. Today, 46 of the 70 in construction are in China.

    Another problem

    There is vast and increasing demand for refined cobalt in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. But few have tracked the scarcity of these in-demand resources. According to a MassifCapital report on risks in the supply chain: “If every battery manufacturing facility under construction today is built and operates at 100% capacity, then the next ten years will see an 8x increase in demand for lithium, a 7x increase in graphite anodes, a 19x increase in nickel and a 4x increase in cobalt.

    China’s domestic and foreign influence on the global cobalt supply chain also remains substantial. This dependence has already caused significant problems and industry experts expect the trend to continue. 

    Mitchell Smith put it like this: “Prolonged economic disruption due to the coronavirus epidemic should make end-users in the automotive and electronics industries reflect on the over-reliance upon one country.” 

    As a whole the industry desperately needs to consider diversification of supply and refinement of the materials critical for the new renewable world we will all be living in, Smith added.

    Author: Mark Sheridan

    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.

     

  • Could a copper resource at Molyhil help Thor Mining push project forward? (THR)

    Thor Mining’s (LSE:THR) Molyhil project is known for being one of the Western world’s higher-grade open tungsten and molybdenum projects. However, a prospectus released back in August 2006 suggests that the asset also boasts copper mineralisation that could boost its attractive economics further.

    Wholly owned by Thor, Molyhil is based in Australia’s Northern Territory and consists of two adjacent magnetite skarn bodies with economic mineralisation of scheelite, molybdenite, and magnetite. Thor has carried out large amounts of work on the project including resource extension drilling, metallurgical test work, technical, environmental and social studies, and environmental permitting.

    An upgraded feasibility study published last year gave the project a A$239m (c.£130m) EBITDA and a post-tax payback period of within 18 months of first production. Meanwhile, the work also gave the asset an all equity NPV(5) of A$101m (c.£55m), a 59pc IRR, and a seven-year mine life with potential for underground extension. More recently, drilling at the nearby Bonya tenements has strongly suggested several additional years of mine-life at Molyhil.

    These figures were derived from an updated open-cut ore reserve statement published in January last year. This gave Molyhil probably reserves of 3.5MMts at 0.29pc tungsten trioxide and 0.12pc molybdenum – equivalent to 10,200t and 4,300ts of each metal respectively.

    There is no question that these figures paint a promising picture for Molyhil’s prospectivity. However, a quick look back at a project resource estimate contained within a Thor prospectus released more than a decade ago suggests that the project’s tungsten and molybdenum resources could be complemented by the presence of copper. Indeed, the work, which was carried out to a 150m depth, gives Molyhil a total resource of 2.4MMt at 0.072pc copper – split between 0.088pc measured, 0.06pc indicated, and 0.1pc inferred.

    Now, this resource estimate is clearly dated – indeed, the total resource estimate of 2.4MMts sits well below the figures used in the asset’s most up-to-date feasibility study. Likewise, a copper resource of 1,728ts (2.4MMt * 0.072pc) is hardly going to set the world alight on its own. However, with current prices valuing this stock of the red metal at around £10.5m, its inclusion in Molyhil’s overall economics could be significant.

    Indeed, this figure would underpin a large portion of Molyhil’s current $43m (£33.8m) project finance estimate. As such, it could help to cut Thor’s project payback period from 18 months to an even shorter timeframe. What’s more, all of Molyhil ore must be processed comprehensively to produce tungsten – the site’s most valuable metal. Part of this process involves floating off any associated Molybdenum and sulphides. With this in mind, it seems likely that floating off any copper would come at very little additional cost.

    These points could provide Thor with some additional support as it continues to finalise offtake agreements at Molyhil. At the end of last month, the business’s executive chairman Mick Billing said his confidence in securing agreements ‘remains firm’, adding that the business has seen positive engagements from numerous players. Could an additional copper resource help to push a deal over the line?

    Finally, the presence of copper at Molyhil would complement the potential offered by Thor’s 40pc-owned, adjacent Bonya tenements. Last November, an initial estimate gave the historic Bonya Copper Mine deposit an inferred resource of 230,000ts grading 2pc copper. Following this, drilling earlier this month at Bonya’s Samarkand prospect encountered 5m at 0.5pc copper from 9m, 12m at 0.69pc copper from 22m, and 6m at 0.97pc copper from 38m.

    All-in-all, the historic copper on offer at Molyhil is unlikely to be a game-changer for Thor on its own. However, if the company decides to re-visit the resource, it could prove to be a deal-maker for any potential financier.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy. 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.

  • Economics for Jangada’s Pedra Branca project become even more compelling with additional nickel JORC resource (JAN)

    Jangada Mines (LSE:JAN) announces a significant improvement to the economics of its Pedra Branca project through the addition of a JORC compliant nickel and copper sulphide resource. The new resource will be included in the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS), slated for delivery in H1 2019, and is expected to substantially improve already favourable economics.

    The company announced it had identified the mineralization in October. The new nickel resource conveniently sits below the existing target PGM resource and planned open-pit mine. Since the nickel can be processed and recovered using the same plant as the PGMs there will be minimal additional CAPEX required making extraction economical.

    Its estimated the new resource consists of around 8.2 million tonnes of mineral which the company believes could be worth an additional $110m project revenue at today’s spot price. Jangada also highlights that there is a strong chance the resource can be increased further as it is open at depth and along strike.

    Brain McMaster told MiningMaven:

    “Today’s news is highly positive for Jangada. The inclusion of our maiden nickel resource significantly improves Pedra Branca's economics, for what should be a minimal increase in the cap-ex requirement. The reason for this is that the nickel sulphide body is close to the existing PGM resource and will get processed by the same plant, so no additional plant will be required.”

    This is a great way for us to end 2018 and marks what I expect will be the beginning of a period of increased news flow, as we advance towards completing the Bankable Feasibility Study in the spring.”


    Pedra Branca covers around 48,000 hectares and Jangada estimates the project will produce around 64,000 ounces of PGM+Au per annum.

    At today’s platinum price of $787, forecast production would generate a rough ballpark figure for revenues of $50.368m. That’s a conservative calculation since Spot palladium and gold are priced significantly higher at $1250, and $1240 respectively.

    In November Jangada announced a 32% reduction in total capital expenditure required, estimating costs for year one of $81.482m. This suggests an impressive payback time on initial investment of just 1.62 years.

    Today’s JORC resource addition further enhances project economics at Pedra Branca, while fundamentals for nickel and copper continue to look strong due to decreasing supply and increased demand from new battery technologies.

    Brian McMaster, Chairman of Jangada, said: “Our ongoing work has enabled us to further understand the dynamics, scale and potential of the ore-body; the Project’s main economic drivers are palladium, platinum and nickel and the associated by-products are essentially cream on the top. “The planned processing route allows us to process and recover all metals in one concentrate from the one plant, meaning that the economics of Pedra Branca have improved substantially. We expect to demonstrate this in the upcoming BFS. Clearly, the current NPV of US$192 million against the Company’s current circa £6 million market cap demonstrates a disparity between asset and valuation; we expect this gap to close substantially as we continue to de-risk the Project.”

    Author: Stuart Langelaan

    The Author currently holds a position or positions in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.
    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.
    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.
    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

     

  • EnviroCopper – Harnessing the vast opportunity presented by low-cost copper production

    EnviroCopper is a copper exploration, development, and production business formed in March 2019 to focus on stranded copper projects previously considered too low-grade for development. Thor Mining (LSE:THR) has the right to earn in to up to 30% of the company, while the remainder is held by two businesses called Environmental Copper Recovery and Environmental Metals Recovery.

    With copper prices at multi-year lows, EnviroCopper’s innovative, low-cost, and low-impact approach to copper extraction has never looked more relevant. As the firm’s work to build up production and expand its portfolio continues, Thor’s exposure could provide shareholders with a highly-significant opportunity for returns.

    Low-impact recovery

    EnviroCopper plans to approach assets using a low-environmental impact style of metal production called in-situ recovery (ISR). Unlike conventional mining operations, ISR centres around a chemical process called ‘leaching’, that – in layman’s terms – involves dissolving minerals underground in a solution before extracting them at the surface. As ISR is much cheaper and quicker than actually building a copper mine, EnviroCopper believes that the technique can bring lower-grade projects into economic territory.

    A video from Excelsior Mining explaining the ISR process in detail

    Although it is well established in phosphate and uranium mining, ISR’s introduction to the copper sector has been relatively recent. Indeed, as it stands, two of the only examples of the method’s application in this way are the Gunnison and Florence copper projects in Arizona, operated by Excelsior Mining and Taseko respectively. However, EnviroCopper sees a bright future for the technique and plans to spearhead its growth.

    Proof of concept

    EnviroCopper’s initial focus will be its 75pc-owned Kapunda project, which is found around 90km north-west of Adelaide in Australia. By achieving production at the asset, the firm hopes to demonstrate ISR’s operational viability in the copper market and take the technology to other projects.

    Aided by historical mining data and environmental and hydrogeological work, EnviroCopper has estimated Kapunda contains an ISR-amenable inferred copper resource of 119,000ts. As announced in April, the company has also been able to recover gold from samples taken from the project and work to ascertain whether it can establish a resource for the precious metal is ongoing.

    Before commercialisation, EnviroCopper must complete a pre-feasibility study and a definitive feasibility study at Kapunda.  It will also have to meet any necessary environmental, social, and regulatory requirements and secure financing.  Handily, it will a $2.8m government-issued research grant will support it in these efforts- indeed, the firm expects these funds to take the project through to demonstration of feasibility.

    Bigger picture

    Once progress has been made at Kapunda, EnviroCopper will move on to Moonta - its second 75pc-held project. Moonta is located around 160km north-east of Adelaide within the historical copper triangle of South Australia, where around 300,000ts of copper were mined and processed between the 1860s and 1920s.

    Although it is an earlier-stage project than Kapunda, Moonta is also thought to be a much larger opportunity. In August 2019, EnviroCopper announced an initial inferred resource estimate for the asset of 66.1MMts grading 0.17pc copper. This translates to 114,000ts of contained copper considered amenable to ISR, taking EnviroCopper’s business-wide managed resource inventory 233,000ts. However, this initial figure was formed from the analysis of just 164 drill holes at Moonta. This lead to the identification of three copper deposits, called Wombat, Bruce, and Larwood. A further 308 holes already drilled over these deposits will feature in future resource modelling once quality assurance has been completed, providing an obvious opportunity for upside. What’s more, all three deposits remain open along strike or at depth – providing EnviroCopper with a chance to identify mineralisation beyond that already discovered.

    Location of EnviroCopper’s ISR-amenable copper projects (Source: Thor Mining)

    Perfect conditions

    If EnviroCopper can prove ISR’s operational viability in the copper arena, then it hopes to introduce the technique at projects far beyond Kapunda and Moonta. Indeed, the firm has said that it aims to develop an expanded portfolio of opportunities, initially focusing solely on South Australia but potentially moving into other territories in the future.

    The company has also said it plans to list on a recognised exchange, potential providing interested market participants with a way of getting exposure beyond a Thor investment in the future.

    With copper prices currently sitting at two-year lows, the need for low-cost supply is particularly stark – especially given the forecast explosion in demand over coming years thanks to the rise of electric vehicles.  ISR potentially provides an ideal solution to this scenario – for context, all-in production costs per pound of cathode copper at Gunnison and Florence come in at just $1.23 and $1.10 respectively.

    The potential presented by EnviroCopper and its assets, then, is clear – especially if the business can use its first-mover advantage in Australia to drive the sector’s growth. Importantly, Thor’s considerable stake in the company both diversifies its potential revenue streams and provides shareholders with yet another, significant upside opportunity. Indeed, in June 2019, executive chairman Mick Billing told MiningMaven, that the value of the firm’s copper exposure could even surpass that of its more established tungsten and molybdenum operations.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

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

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services 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 Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its 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

     

  • Everything falls into place as Thor Mining prepares for “game-changing” quarter (THR)

    It's an exciting time for Thor Mining (AIM: THR).

    Strong results have repeatedly been coming the company’s way, with sampling and drilling cementing faith in its high-quality assets.

    Not only that, but the explorer has also been boosted by government funding, giving it an excellent opportunity to push its portfolio towards its true potential at an even greater speed.

    Now, with such a powerful foundation in place, managing director Nicole Galloway Warland has taken the time to walk MiningMaven through what could be a “game-changing”period for Thor over the coming months.

    Exciting times at Ragged Range

    Galloway Warland begins by highlighting the “really positive” quarter that just passed for Thor at its Ragged Range gold project.

    Perhaps the most significant development at the site, which is located in Australia’s Pilbara region, was the completion of a geochemical soil sampling survey.

    This work involved taking an impressive 392 samples over two locations within an exciting area of Ragged Range known as the Sterling Prospect. The pair—known as Sterling Central and Sterling South—both lie within a previously identified 13-kilometre gold corridor at the project.

    Bulk Leach Extractable Gold results found a background of around 2 to 3 parts per billion (“ppb”) of gold at the prospects, as well as sample values as high as 114.23ppb. According to Galloway Warland, these new results “compare really well” to previous stream sediment high-grade gold results on the corridor from sampling in 2019 and 2020. 

    Now, based on the strength of these soil results, Thor is embarking on an infill program with the goal of generating drill-ready targets. As Galloway Warland explains, this marks a “really big strategic and discovery step” for the company that could very well end up being a “game-changer”.

    On top of the Sterling prospect, there’s also a new tenement application in the northeast of Ragged Range, covering a number of historic mines with historic high-grade copper-gold workings. Once the tenement is granted, the company will conduct regional work there.

    Galloway Warland notes that, while Thor’s focus is “primarily on the Sterling prospect and identifying drill-ready targets”, this new tenement is part of a host of “other activities in the area” that make Ragged Range so exciting.

    Add in the demand for gold, with prices up sharply since the start of the pandemic amid lingering economic uncertainty, and the project’s appeal is obvious.

    And remember that funding? Well, Thor was awarded A$160,000 from the Western Australian Government to allocate to Ragged Range.

    These extra funds will help the company reach the next stages of the project at a faster pace, and show the support in place for the project.

    Even better, Ragged Range isn’t the only area of Thor’s portfolio supported by local authorities…

    Funding and findings at Alford East

    On top of Ragged Range, Thor’s projects in Australia also include Alford East—though the primary focus here is copper rather than gold.

    Once again, the company has been awarded an A$$300,000 grant from the South Australia Government to accelerate its work at this asset, which includes a diamond drilling program currently being completed with results due next quarter.

    Already, Thor is “three-quarters of the way”into this program and, as Galloway Warland notes, things are “progressing very well”so far.

    Critically, she says that Thor has already been able to validate its geological model at Alford East, with work highlighting “a north-south trending structure, which is really the key to mineralization”.

    This crucial step makes it possible for the company to target drill holes in areas with the potential for higher-grade plus additional zones of deep mineralisation.

    It’s worth noting that this is based on preliminary data, however, with the firm still waiting for assays to come back from the laboratory.

    Still, as Galloway Warland notes, when you add in the “record high” prices for copper at the moment alongside growing demand for the red metal due to its major role in electrification, Alford East’s vast potential is clear.