RIU Explorers 2024 Conference Companion

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WALLY GRAHAM Happy New Exploration Year. Yes, February has rolled into to town once again bringing with it the RIU Explorers Conference and as many exploration hopefuls to rub shoulders with developing companies and mining companies both big and small. As 2023 came to a close, there was more optimism floating about the sector than there is at present with one contributor being the surprising collapse in the price of nickel. How that came about is anybody’s guess. Sure, there will be analysts and other clever-trousered types out there who can explain the whys and wherefores of the blip on the nickel radar, but this is a commodity that has been riding on the coat tails of the rechargeable battery industry, because, as we have heard over and over it is important in their manufacture process. Does this mean the world is going to stop manufacturing rechargeable batteries? I don’t think so, but I have been known to get this type of soothsaying wrong in the past. It’s hard to forget our foray into bendless boomerangs some years back. The reason given for the circa fifty percent drop in the nickel price? Oversupply in the nickel market. It seems you can have too much of a good thing. Other rechargeable battery favourites zinc and lithium also experienced decreases. Zinc is forecast to endure a turbulent 2024 with demand increasing in some sectors while dropping off in others. The global energy transition will increase demand for zinc as the rollout of renewable energy infrastructure will require it for wind turbines, solar panels and transmission towers. A slowdown in the global embrace of electric vehicles (EVs) could also weaken demand for zinc as automakers are finding lighter replacement metals to steel, such as aluminium. Lithium export earnings are set to drop further from the gangbuster levels ($20 billion) achieved in 2022–23 with forecasters predicting lithium exports to hit $14-15 billion in 2023–24 and 2024–25. The drop in earnings is attributed to producers producing too much resulting in rising lithium inventories, from which high-cost producers have subsequently become unprofitable and have cut output.

In its December 2023 Resources and Energy Quarterly, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources noted that “To achieve the ambitious targets set by governments for EV uptake by 2030, it is necessary for EVs to become more cost competitive with internal combustion engine vehicles”. DISR explained that China’s National Action Plan sets a target of 40 per cent sales share for ‘new energy vehicles’ (includes electric and fuel cell vehicles) by 2030. The European Union’s (EU) ‘Fit for 55’ package requires new car sales to have 55 per cent lower emissions from 2030 and zero CO2 emissions from 2035. The US is targeting ‘clean energy vehicles’ including EVs to make up a 50–52 per cent share of vehicle sales by 2030. In Australia…well, nothing was mentioned for us, so it’s anybody’s guess what type of vehicle it is we’re supposed to buy. Across the exploration expenditure board, however, things remained on a relatively even keel for 2022-23. Gold continues to draw the largest interest in mineral exploration, which a quick glance at the Conference Programme will support with gold companies leading the presentation list. “For the last eight years, gold has attracted the most mineral exploration expenditure, overtaking iron ore in 2015–16,” DISR reported. “In 2022–23, gold exploration expenditure fell by 17 per cent to $1.3 billion, but still accounted for 27 per cent of Australia exploration expenditure.” That’s not to say the other commodities haven’t been trying hard enough - they have with DISR identifying a rise in iron ore exploration expenditure to the tune of 8.7 per cent to $702 million in 2022–23, well under the peak of $1.2 billion attained in 2011–12 but an exploration spend increase nonetheless. Australia’s critical minerals sector also deserves a mention here with DISR’s major project list including, “100 projects, with an estimated $24 billion in proposed investment for projects at later stages of development as at 31 October 2023.” “This year’s report sees rare earths emerge as Australia’s largest category of critical minerals at later stages of development (by value), with $7.3 billion in proposed investment.” Lithium, gold, and critical metals (rare earths) are firmly planted in the investor pshyche. In its 2023 IPO Watch Australia report, HLB Mann Judd Perth noted that of 32 IPOs that made it to the ASX in 2023, 24 came from the resources sector with lithium producers ironically taking gold with eight followed by gold with five and rare earths six. Needless to say, 32 listings across the boards is pretty average, which HLB Mann Judd put down to, “the presence of challenging conditions and poor investor sentiment throughout 2023 meant that an IPO listing was not an attractive or viable option for many companies during the year”. Let’s hope 2024 gives us a bit more to smile about and throw money at. The best place to start that process is here at the RIU Explorers Conference. If you see us strolling around stop and say gidday.

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Hillgrove Resources

Coda Minerals


(ASX: COD) hillgroveresources.com.au


Hillgrove Resources is as ready as its ever going to be to commence production of copper from the company’s Kanmantoo underground copper mine in South Australia. Hillgrove Resources completed a raft of milestones to round out 2023 in preparation of its first copper production. Infill underground diamond drilling confirmed drilling results previously reported for the Kavanagh and Spitfire mineral zones. On the mining front, the primary ventilation was installed which enabled a second jumbo be deployed, increasing the development rate. A secondary means of egress was established, and the pit dewatered below the initial development horizon, which enabled stoping activities to commence, culminating in the first stope blast to ring in the New Year on 30 December. As 2024 commenced, so did blasting, from which ore was bogged to the stockpile. Hillgrove split commissioning of the process facility into two halves, with everything upstream of the mill commissioned in the Dec23 quarter, including the primary and secondary crushers, screening plants and conveyors. In January, commissioning of the remainder of the processing facility commenced and first copper production remains on track for the first quarter of 2024. “Looking ahead, the future is very exciting; not only will Hillgrove become Australia’s next copper producer, but we also have a number of exciting exploration targets to follow up on, including a recently discovered geophysical target which appears to be the northern continuation of the Kanmantoo mineral system that has been offset down plunge by a fault,” managing director Lachlan Wallace said. “The Exploration Target immediately around the process plant is now 60-100Mt with a grade range of 0.9-1.2 per cent copper, which is an order of magnitude above our existing mining inventory of 4.5 million tonnes.”

Coda’s flagship asset is the 100 per cent-owned Elizabeth Creek copper-cobalt project, comprises three granted Exploration Licences covering an area of 701 square kilometres in the Olympic Dam Copper Province, Australia’s most productive copper belt. In December 2021, Coda announced a maiden Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate for the Emmie Bluff copper-cobalt deposit at Elizabeth Creek comprising 43 million tonnes at 1.3 per cent copper, 470ppm cobalt, 11 grams per tonne silver and 0.15 per cent zinc (1.84% CuEq) containing approximately 560,000 tonnes copper, 20,000 tonnes cobalt, 15.5 million ounces silver and 66,000 tonnes zinc (800kt CuEq). The strength of the MRE is 92 per cent of the contained metal classified in the higher confidence Indicated Resource category. A Scoping Study completed in 2023 delivered strong financial metrics and technical outcomes, leading the company’s Board to okay commencement of next-stage Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) work. The Study confirmed potential for a globally competitive, long-life mine. Coda’s primary focus at Elizabeth Creek is development of the sedimentary copper-cobalt mineralisation that was the subject of the Scoping Study for a sustainable long-term mining and processing operation. In parallel, Coda is also continuing to explore for deeper iron-oxide copper-gold (IOCG) mineralisation following the discovery of the Emmie IOCG copper-gold deposit in June 2021. “This study underpins a robust go-forward case for the Elizabeth Creek Project with excellent project economics,” CEO Chris Stevens said. “As we proceed to PFS we will maintain strong cash discipline while also keeping focus on the many significant exploration opportunities that remain at Elizabeth Creek and beyond. “Although the deeper IOCG mineralisation has not been included in this study, the exploration for a tier-1 IOCG continues.”


Hastings Technology Metals

MTM Critical Metals


(ASX: MTM) hastingstechmetals.com


Hastings Technology Metals is a rare earths company “primed to become the world’s next producer of neodymium and praseodymium concentrate (NdPr)” at its Yangibana rare earths project Western Australia. They may not be familiar to most, but neodymium and praseodymium are growing in importance due mainly to being vital components for manufacturing of permanent magnets used every day in advanced technology products. Hastings claims Yangibana contains one of the most highly valued NdPr deposits in the world with NdPr to Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) ratio of up to 52 per cent in some areas of the orebody. The Yangibana project has a current Mineral Resource of 29.93 million tonnes at 0.93 per cent TREO (0.32% Nd2O3+Pr6O11). An Ore Reserve of 20.93 million tonnes at 0.9 per cent TREO (0.33% Nd2O3+Pr6O11) supports an expected mine operating life of at least 17 years. The company’s strategy for Yangibana will see it developed in two stages with an initial focus on the construction of the Yangibana mine and beneficiation plant to produce 37,000 tonnes per annum of mixed rare earth concentrate, followed by the construction of a hydrometallurgical plant in Onslow with the capacity to process 15,000 tonnes per annum of Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate. Exploration will remain a focus for Hastings as it looks to continuously grow Yangibana Resources and Reserves. Mining operations will comprise open pit mining, including conventional drill, blast, load and haul, with an estimated ore feed of 1.1 million tonnes per annum into the processing plant. The mined ore will be processed through a circuit of crushing, grinding, floatation, tailings and handling, with an output of up to 37,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth concentrate at 27 per cent TREO.

MTM Critical Metals welcomed the New Year with a new acquisition in the shape of three exploration licenses prospective for niobium and rare earth elements (REE) in the West Arunta region of Western Australia. MTM acquired 100 per cent of Flash Metals Pty Ltd, which was the beneficial owner of said three granted exploration licences sitting immediately adjacent to ground where WA1 Resources and Encounter Resources recently made discoveries of niobium-REE mineralised carbonatites. These two explorers aren’t the only companies with an interest in the West Arunta with Rio Tinto an IGO amongst others spending an accumulative $60 million on the region in recent times. The Flash transaction also delivers to MTM the Mukinbudin niobium-REE project, comprising two exploration licences located 250km northeast of Perth in the South West Mineral Field of Western Australia. “We are very excited to acquire such prospective ground in the West Arunta province, where there is an opportunity to discover new niobium-rare earth deposits in historically untested ground right next door to some emerging mineralised carbonatite projects,” managing director Lachlan Reynolds said. A further addition from the deal will provide MTM an option to enter exclusive negotiations for a licensing agreement for Flash Joule Heating (FJH) technology. FJH is a new processing and recycling technology being developed to extract critical metals like REE, nickel, cobalt and lithium from natural mineralisation and from waste material including lithium ion batteries, eWaste, Coal Fly Ash (CFA) produced by coal-fired power stations or ‘red mud’ derived from bauxite processing in the aluminium industry. “Flash Joule Heating has shown promise during test work for metal recycling,” Reynolds said. “We are very keen to see what applications it may have for treating rare earth mineralisation.”


Azure Minerals

Chalice Mining


(ASX: CHN) azureminerals.com.au


Azure Minerals completed its audition for Groundhog Day: The Musical with its first announcement of 2024 providing mineralised lithium hits from the company’s Andover lithium project (Azure 60% / Creasy Group 40%) in Western Australia. Azure Minerals released the latest assays from diamond drilling undertaken at Target Area 3 (TA3) within the project that confirmed an encounter with consistently broad mineralised widths and lithium grades along the combined strike-length of the AP0002/AP0003/ AP0004 pegmatite. The presence of a major lithium mineralised system has now been confirmed at TA3 that appears to be of similar proportions to the nearby TA1 mineralised system, leading Azure to consider the Andover project as “likely to be of global significance”. Assay results have confirmed consistent lithium mineralisation over a cumulative strike length of 1,300m and over 450m of down-dip extent, with highlights from the AP0004 pegmatite including: » ANDD0303 90.8 metres at 1.54 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) from 82.5m; and » ANDD0306 58.6m at 1.57 per cent Li2O from 57.7m, including 15.9m at 2.31 per cent Li2O from 92.9m. Azure’s lithium-focused drilling to date has concentrated on three principal Target Areas (TA1, TA2 and TA3), with substantial spodumene-hosted lithium mineralisation identified and delineated at TA1 and TA3. Initial exploration at TA3 identified the presence of numerous outcropping mineralised pegmatites which Azure designated as AP0001 through to AP0006. The recent drilling at TA3 has confirmed these mineralised pegmatites are continuous over extensive strike lengths and to substantial depths. Additionally, several of the pegmatites that were originally considered to be separate, but the drilling to extend each beneath shallow cover has now revealed they are indeed joined together. This is the case with AP0003 and AP0004 now confirmed to be the same continuous pegmatite.

Chalice Mining reeled in its household budget for 2024 to cope with weak market conditions and to maintain its positive balance sheet position (approx. $112 million cash at 31 December 2023). The cost cutting entails a haircut for executives, directors and other corporate costs, plus a rationalisation of management structure to stump up around $2.2 million per annum in savings. The company explained the expenditure review will not affect the Gonneville project development or ongoing greenfield exploration across the West Yilgarn Province. Budgeted 2024 activities include: » Ongoing re-modelling of the Gonneville Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) to suit high-grade, selective open pit/underground mining methods (targeting completion in March 2024); » Ongoing Gonneville Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS), including the scoping of a high-grade starter case (targeting completion in Q2 2024) as well as extensive metallurgical testwork and infrastructure development studies; » Gonneville regulatory approvals (referral on track for Q1 2024); and » High-priority greenfield exploration, including new copper and precious metals targets with drilling at the northern end of the Julimar Complex and an initial program of RC drilling at Barrabarra. The expenditure reduction will not impact targeted completion of the Gonneville PFS in mid-2025 and expected Final Investment Decision (FID) in late 2026. “Chalice has taken decisive action to ensure we maintain our strong financial position and rebalance expenditures, whilst preserving the key internal capabilities required to progress key development and exploration activities that will ultimately drive long-term value for shareholders,” managing director and CEO Alex Dorsch said. “The changes implemented will ensure that Chalice maintains a strong cash runway, giving us the flexibility to navigate through the current challenging market conditions while ensuring we are still well placed to capitalise on the value of the Gonneville asset.”


Hot Chili

Altech Batteries


(ASX: ATC) hotchili.net.au


Hot Chili started 2024 in exciting fashion with the commencement of its next phase of a Resource growth focused drill program for the company’s Costa Fuego copper-gold project in the coastal range of the Atacama Region, Chile. Hot Chili is conducting this round for drilling to test multiple resource growth opportunities, which it believes may allow an up-lift in the Pre-feasibility study scale for Costa Fuego. The second phase of drilling commenced with one diamond drill rig operating on a 24-hour basis to carry out an initially planned program of 10 diamond drill holes for approximately 5,000m. This initial diamond drill program comprises: » Five diamond holes planned to test four large-scale targets at Cortadera, the first of which weas tasked with testing a large co-incident conductivity and chargeability geophysical anomaly located north of Cortadera; and » A further five diamond holes planned to test three large-scale targets adjacent to Productora. The first phase of drilling carried out in late 2023 focused on resource extensional potential at Cortadera and first-pass drilling across new satellite targets. Several RC pre-collars were also drilled in preparation for the second phase of diamond drill testing adjacent to the company’s two principal mineral resources: Cortadera; and Productora. The 2023 first-pass drilling hit three new satellite targets within the Costa Fuego landholding: Marsellesa, Cordillera and Corroteo that encountered higher grade copper intersections associated with both copper oxide and copper sulphide mineralisation. Hot Chili is planning follow-up work to further assess mineralisation continuity across the 500m of prospective strike length. The company is in the final stages of completing an upgrade to its mineral resource for Costa Fuego, expected to be released in Q1 2024, based on all drilling completed since February 2022.

As marketeers wrapped up Christmas presents in December 2023, Altech Batteries wrapped up a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS). The DFS centred on an 8,000 tonnes per annum (120 GWh) alumina-coated metallurgical silicon plant planned for Saxony, Germany. The facility is to be spearheaded by Altech Industries Germany GmbH (AIG) with ownership split of 75 per cent Altech and 25 per cent Frankfurt stock exchange listed Altech Advanced Materials AG (AAM). The plant is set to produce cutting-edge and patented alumina-coated silicon battery anode materials known as ‘Silumina AnodesTM’ manufactured exclusively under license from Altech, strategically aimed at meeting escalating demand in the European and US electric vehicle and grid storage battery market. According to global EV and lithium-ion battery trendsetter, Tesla, the step to increase lithium-ion battery energy density and reduce costs is to introduce silicon in battery anodes, as silicon has ten times the energy retention capacity of graphite. Metallurgical silicon has been identified as the most promising anode material for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries, however, due to critical chemical imbalances, silicon was unable to be used in commercial lithium-ion batteries. By way of in-house research and development, Altech has claimed to have cracked the ‘silicon code’ and successfully achieved 30 per cent higher energy retention in a lithium-ion battery, with improved cyclability and battery life. At shorter cycle life the energy retention could be as high as 50-70 per cent energy retention in a lithium-ion battery. To achieve its breakthrough, Altech successfully coated silicon particles with a high-purity nano layer of alumina, producing the trade marked Silumina Anodes product. Altech’s alumina coating technology resolves the expansion defragmentation, as well as curbing the first-cycle loss associated with silicon.


Venture Minerals

Dreadnought Resources


(ASX: DRE) ventureminerals.com.au


Venture Minerals began 2024 after completing the Stage One Resource definition drill program at the Jupiter rare earths elements (REE) prospect at the Brothers Project located in the Mid-West region of Western Australia. Completion of the meant Venture reached the 70 per cent expenditure milestone for the Joint Venture covering the 40 square kilometres target. The Jupiter Stage One Resource definition drill program was completed late 2023 to supplement previous high-grade clay hosted REE drilling results within the Jupiter target and to increase confidence in the grade and scale of the mineralisation. Venture noted such a confidence boost would allow a maiden clay-hosted REE estimation for Jupiter to be completed later this quarter. “This drilling continues to confirm Venture’s belief that the Jupiter target has the potential to become an exceptional rare earths project with excellent access to infrastructure and processing plants in the Tier One jurisdiction of Western Australia,” managing director Andrew Radonjic said. “With that in mind, the Board has committed to go to 90 per cent ownership of the Jupiter target having just met the 70 per cent milestone late last year and looks forward to delivering a cost-effective Maiden Resource of high-grade, critical REE minerals in Q1 2024.” Drill samples from the Jupiter drill program were selected for REE analyses via utilisation of a Portable XRF machine for indications of REE mineralisation. This methodology is used to minimise assaying costs and has proven to be successful guide to date to determine zones of REE mineralisation. For the Jupiter prospect Stage One Resource definition drilling, Portable XRF field checks indicated many drill holes intersected broad consistent zones of clay hosted REE mineralisation, consistent with observations from previous Jupiter drilling programs.

Dreadnought Resources started polishing up its gold credentials for the year ahead at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Mangaroon gold project in Western Australia. Dreadnought began the consolidation of the Mangaroon region in late 2020, to pursue nickel and high-grade gold potential. This consolidated ownership has for the first time allowed for a comprehensive review of the high-grade gold potential in the region and the first-time information on the historical workings and gold occurrences from such a wide range of sources has been compiled. The result has been recognition of the scale of gold mineralisation along the Mangaroon Shear Zone - a splay structure over 10 kilometres long linking the Minga Bar and Edmund Faults. Due to the region’s previous fractured small-scale ownership, no modern exploration has been undertaken meaning a small amount some 200 metres of strike drilling has occurred along the Shear Zone. Recent drilling by Dreadnought has confirmed historical thick, oxide mineralisation to the north of the historic Star of Mangaroon mine, which is thought may represent a halo around another high-grade lode encouraging the company to pursue further drilling. Other drilling has indicated potential for additional lodes to the south heading towards historical working at the Popeye target. The Star of Mangaroon is one of several historical mines within the Mangaroon Shear Zone with seven new prospects having been identified by Dreadnought in an area with camp scale potential. “These results have confirmed the high-grade gold potential around the Star of Mangaroon and along the >10km Mangaroon Shear Zone,” managing director Dean Tuck said. “This and other ongoing work will establish our drill priorities for what I am sure will be an exciting drill program commencing in March 2024.”


Alto Metals

Ardea Resources


(ASX: ARL) altometals.com.au


Alto Metals owns 100 per cent of the Sandstone gold project in the east Murchison of Western Australia. The Sandstone project is substantial, covering some 740 square kilometres of the Sandstone Greenstone Belt. Early last year, Alto released an optimised, open-pit constrained Mineral Resource Estimate of 832,000 ounces of gold at 1.5 grams per tonne, capturing over 80 per cent of the unconstrained total MRE of 1.05 million ounces. The company followed the MRE with a subsequent quarter of further strong exploration results in line with Alto’s focused exploration approach to drive near-term resource growth. Alto completed further exploration activities, including a geological review and field work over a 20 kilometres long gold corridor within the Alpha Domain, which hosts the Lords, Vanguard, Indomitable and Bull Oak shallow gold deposits. Shallow oxide gold mineralisation at Indomitable is currently defined over 3.5kms and remains open. Alto considers the extent of oxide mineralisation to be an indication of a potentially much larger gold system at depth. Recent drilling highlighted interpreted structural controls of both steeply-dipping structures and shallow, westerly dipping thrust faults – with higher grade mineralisation typically observed where these shallow, multiple stacked thrust faults intersect the steeply-dipping structures. A review of the historic Bull Oak Gold Mine and surrounding historical workings highlighted resource growth potential with the style of mineralisation being multiple stacked lodes hosted within a granodiorite akin to that observed at Lord Nelson and Lord Henry. “Our targeted drilling programs are focused on growing our gold inventories by extending the boundaries of the known mineralisation, paving the way for further resource growth,” managing director Matthew Bowles said. “This exploration is complemented by our low-cost regional exploration, focused on advancing early-stage prospects within our project pipeline.”

The year ahead for Ardea Resources looks promising with the company making headway with a Consortium, comprising of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd and Mitsubishi Corporation. Having previously signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Ardea and the Consortium have continued to engage on defining the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP) Goongarrie Hub Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) scope of work and awarding contracts, with completion expected by February 2024. The Consortium has progressed through the substantive part of the due diligence process, including extensive site visits and technical meetings in Perth which have resulted in progress on critical workstreams. SMM and MC remain committed to negotiations under the MOU and continuing discussions with Ardea while earlier participant Mitsui & Co., Ltd decided to withdraw from the Consortium and future discussions. Nonetheless, Ardea and the Consortium will continue to negotiate binding Final Agreements, expected to be executed by the end of Quarter 1, 2024, to form a Joint Venture to facilitate the completion of the KNP Goongarrie Hub DFS, make a Final Investment Decision (FID) and jointly secure project development funding to develop this globally significant nickel-cobalt resource. “Ardea and the Consortium continue to make significant progress in advancing their proactive engagement,” managing director and CEO Andrew Penkethman said. “This includes extensive technical due diligence on the KNP Goongarrie Hub and operating within the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. “Commercial discussions are proceeding well, with key considerations being covered from DFS funding, through to securing project development capital to enable project construction and achieve steady state nickel-cobalt production, from within the best resources operating jurisdiction in the world. “Ardea and the Consortium look forward to executing Final Agreements and keeping all stakeholders informed on their progress.”



Pan Asia Metals


(ASX: PAM) ausgoldlimited.com


Ausgold moved seamlessly into 2024 with a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) on the company’s 3.04 million ounce Katanning gold project (KGP) on track for delivery next quarter. The Definitive Feasibility Study is well advanced meeting milestones including open pit geotechnical assessment, metallurgical test work program, and comminution test work for Process Plant design. The DFS follows completion of a Pre-Feasibility Study and maiden 1.28 million ounce Ore Reserve announced on 1 August 2022. Ausgold declared these steps to have highlighted the KGP as the largest undeveloped free milling open-cut gold mining development project in Western Australia. As the DFS progresses, Ausgold has secured binding agreements to acquire two farming properties at Katanning covering key mining and infrastructure areas, again de-risking the project. As the DFS moves into its final stages the company’s lead engineering partner, GR Engineering Services, is fully engaged and working with Ausgold’s in-house team and other consultants with the clear objective of finalising and delivering the DFS to market during Q2 2024. “This is an exciting time for our team as we move forward on the DFS and take further important steps towards becoming Australia’s next mid-tier gold producer,” managing director Matthew Greentree said. “The Katanning gold project is one of the most significant new gold development assets in Australia. “Underpinned by a large-scale, high-quality 3.04 million ounce Resource, the project will support a long-life, high-margin operation that is ideally placed to deliver significant returns to all of our key stakeholders. “We are excited about what the next few months will deliver for Ausgold as we unlock the significant value of this project against the backdrop of a record Australian dollar gold price and a very robust outlook for the gold sector.”

Pan Asia Metals opened its 2024 news account by informing the market of drilling completed at the BT lithium prospect within the company’s RK lithium project in Thailand. Thailand is the largest vehicle producer in the region where Pan Asia believes it is well positioned to capitalise on soaring battery minerals demand. Pan Asia has had a diamond core drilling program underway at the BT prospect since March 2023 that has been testing the company’s Exploration Target estimate at BT and adjacent target zones. The drilling has been spaced to allow for a combination of Inferred and Indicated Resources, which the company hopes to be able to release in early 2024. Recent drilling results have generally provided support for the geological model Pan Asia has applied to its Exploration Target estimate revealing lithium, tin and tantalum mineralisation hosted in pegmatite dykes-veins and adjacent metasediments. The prospective zone is currently defined over a strike length greater than one kilometre and remains open along strike and at depth on many sections. “We are happy with these results, they are generally in line with our drill supported Exploration Target and are supportive of the geological model applied to that Exploration Target,” managing director Paul Lock said. We have a main pegmatite zone which is rich in lithium and a smaller zone which is rich in tin, with an overlapping lithium-tin zone to the south of the old tin pit. “Further work needs to be completed on the western and southern extensions to this main pegmatite zone and then we should be in a position to deliver an inaugural Mineral Resource Estimate. “Overall our progress is good and the BT lithium prospect will complement the RK lithium prospect well.”


Noble Helium

Torque Metals


(ASX: TOR) noblehelium.com.au


Noble Helium has noble aspirations as it seeks to answer the world’s growing need for a primary, ideally carbon-free, and geo-politically independent source of helium. Noble Helium has a portfolio that consists of four projects located along the East African Rift System in Tanzania. The company is advancing these projects whilst adhering to the highest ESG benchmarks and as it does so it addresses increasing supply chain fragility and supply-demand imbalance for this scarce, tech-critical and high-value industrial gas. The North Rukwa project has an independently certified, summed unrisked mean Prospective Helium Resource of 176 billion cubic feet (equivalent to approximately 30 years’ supply). The project lies within the Rukwa Basin a 300km-long rift segment of the East African Rift System between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa (Malawi) where helium has been measured in rift-related hot springs up to 10.6 per cent (versus 0.3% commercial cutoff in onshore gasfields in the USA). Noble Helium believes the Rukwa Basin could potentially be the world’s third largest helium reserve behind USA and Qatar. Helium is gaining pace as a valued commodity and is currently priced at up to 50 times the price of LNG in liquid form. Its uses are increasing in numbers essential to many modern applications as an irreplaceable element in vital hi-tech products such as computer and smartphone components, MRI systems, medical treatments, superconducting magnets, fibre optic cables, microscopes, particle accelerators, and space rocket launches. Rising demand and constrained supply are fuelling growth prospects within the global marketplace, particularly for cleaner ‘green helium’ sourced from non-carbon environments. Today, more than 95 per cent of the world’s helium is produced as a by-product of the processing of hydrocarbon-bearing gas.

Torque Metals saluted 2024 by completing its 100 per cent acquisition of an extensive package of tenements in the heart of the Western Australian Goldfields. The acquisition resulted in creation of Penzance Exploration Camp covering approx. 800 square kilometres across 12 wholly owned, development-ready, pre-native title mining, four prospecting and 26 exploration licences (7 under application). With the ink barely dry on the deal, Torque was already on the ground kicking off a RC drill campaign at the New Dawn lithium project to extend the scale of spodumene lithium bodies. During its due diligence period under the Option Agreements for the acquisition, Torque conducted some 7,000m of RC and diamond drilling that yielded: » 10 metres at 1.51 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O), from 51m including 1m at 3.99 per cent Li2O, from 52m; » 15m at 1.17 per cent Li2O, from 220m including 7m at 2.12 per cent Li2O, from 221m; and » 10m at 1.15 per cent Li2O, from 265m including 6m at 1.76 per cent Li2O, from 267m. The RC drill campaign underway at New Dawn is designed to extend the 35m (cumulative thickness) of spodumene lithium mineralised pegmatites to the North, South and at-surface mapped pegmatites to the West tracking high-grade lodes that the previous drilling had intersected. “Torque has moved swiftly to initiate post-acquisition drilling campaign at New Dawn, focussed on extending the scale of spodumene lithium pegmatites encountered in our recent drilling,” managing director Cristian Moreno said. “The program aims to expand the presence of stacked pegmatites. “These pegmatites can potentially be extended in multiple directions according to Torque’s geological model. “Torque’s acquisition and ongoing exploration activities solidify its position as a key player in this dynamic exploration province.”


Widgie Nickel

Toro Energy


(ASX: TOE) widgienickel.com.au


Widgie Nickel commenced 2024 with news emanating from the company’s Mount Edwards nickel project in Western Australia. The Mount Edwards nickel project is a collection of twelve deposits with a total Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for 13.14 million tonnes at 1.46 per cent nickel for 191,000 tonnes. In January, Widgie Nickel announced an updated JORC 2012-complaint MRE for the Gillett nickel deposit within Mount Edwards. The total Gillett Resource now stands at 3.14 million tonnes at 1.3 per cent nickel for 40,770 nickel tonnes. This represents a 75 per cent increase in total contained nickel versus a previous MRE providing a substantial improvement in confidence with a 108 per cent increase in the Indicated Category to 30,650 nickel tonnes resulting in 72 per cent of the MRE now within the Indicated Resource Category. The ink was hardly dry on this announcement when the company released a further MRE, this time for the Widgie 3 nickel deposit of 734,000 tonnes at 1.53 per cent nickel for 11,200 nickel tonnes with 70 per cent of the MRE classified as Indicated for 6,880 tonnes of contained nickel. The Gillett and Widgie 3 upgrades were numbers two and three respectively of six resource revisions Widgie anticipates releasing for the project over the coming months. “Widgie 3 is now another high-quality resource in the company’s portfolio, cementing the positive prospects for the upcoming scoping study,” managing director and CEO Steve Norregaard said. “Widgie’s unique assemblage of 12 resources in close proximity make for a wonderful opportunity to build a long life, high confidence, low risk mining operation in the medium term.” This MRE updates will inform a Scoping Study for a multi-mine operation to support a standalone nickel concentrator.

Toro Energy is taking the uranium bull by the horns in 2024 to take advantage of current strengthening uranium market conditions to continue development and maximise value of the company’s Wiluna uranium project in Western Australia. The company has an Extension Study underway to evaluate extending its Lake Maitland uranium vanadium processing operation to include materials from its nearby 100 per cent-owned uranium deposits, Centipede-Millipede and Lake Way. Toro is evaluating the viability of the strategic location of the considerable uranium resources at Lake Way and Centipede-Millipede to be included into the Lake Maitland uranium vanadium processing operation taking advantage of the potential value they could add to the Wiluna uranium project. “One of our key aims is to strengthen the production schedule at Lake Maitland and to assess the potential to extend the potential processing of high-grade uranium resource well beyond the 7th year of production, as is presently the case for a Lake Maitland only operation,” executive chairman Richard Homsany said. The progress being made with the Extension Study and the current strength of the uranium market showing no signs of slowing down has prompted Toro to be “refreshing and updating” the Scoping Study for the proposed Lake Maitland Uranium-Vanadium operation the company completed in 2022. Toro will refresh the Study to evaluate what the financial outcomes would be using the latest more favourable commodity pricing and exchange rate guidance to reinforce the company’s belief that a standalone Lake Maitland uranium vanadium processing operation is potentially quite robust and viable. “Whether to develop a standalone Lake Maitland deposit or a broader Wiluna project amongst various production and processing scenarios, is a very valuable aspect of our uranium asset,” Homsany said.


Legend Mining

Lithium Universe


(ASX: LU7) legendmining.com.au


Legend Mining left marketeers watching in interest after closing out 2023 by reporting on activities at the company’s Rockford project in the Fraser Range of Western Australia. Legend Mining completed a preliminary modelling of data from a High-Power Fixed Loop Electro-Magnetics (HPFLTEM) survey at the project’s Octagonal prospect. The final data was put through preliminary modelling that revealed four preliminary conductors have, three of which were interpreted to relate to extensions of nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation encountered in nearby drillholes. Preliminary modelling undertaken by Legend suggests the identified conductors are complex, with final models to be subject to refinement post receival and integration of additional data. “We are cautiously optimistic with the results of this survey,” executive chair Mark Wilson said “The evidence of nickel-copper mineralisation in drillholes proximal to the modelled conductors and the strong conductive source to the east of the Octagonal Intrusive Complex are both positive takeaways.” Exploration continued with Legend combining reprocessed seismic data with SensOre Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning technology (AI/ML) generated data at the Mawson deposit. Reprocessing of the 3D seismic cube at Mawson was carried out post integration of downhole and handheld petrophysical property data. The resultant updated 3D seismic cube refined and confirmed a target area north of the Mawson nickel-copper-cobalt deposit. Diamond drillhole planning is now underway to test this highly prospective target. “Whilst the main focus of fieldwork this year [2023] has been at Octagonal, this is a reflection of the detailed work that has been progressing at Mawson and regional Rockford prospects,” Wilson said: “The drill target at Mawson is particularly exciting as the area is a confirmation of geology, geochemistry and geophysics. “There is plenty to look forward to in 2024.”

Lithium Universe has thrown a wide-reaching blanket over lithium exploration assets in regions well known for discovery of the electronic feedstock in both Australia and Canada. The company’s stated objective is to establish itself as a “prominent lithium project builder by prioritising swift and successful development of lithium projects”. The company’s initial focus will be on its Apollo Lithium Project, covering 240sqkm in the Eeyou Istchee Baie-James Municipality (James Bay), in north-west Québec, Canada. The project has some well-credentialed neighbours, namely Patriot Battery Metals (ASX: PMT) Corvette Property with maiden resource of 109.2Mt at 1.42% lithium oxide (Li2O) and Winsome Resources’ (ASX: WR1) Adina Property. After completing a 2023 summer/fall exploration work program at the Apollo project, Lithium Universe received soil laboratory analysis and has devised a drilling strategy for 2024 along a major east-west trending fault shear corridor feature that extends from the Apollo project to Winsome Resources’ Adina Lithium project 29km to the east of Apollo. Lithium Universe is of the opinion the shear corridor feature could control any potential spodumene mineralisation. Potential targets have been generated that may be incorporated into a future maiden drilling program in 2024. Lithium Universe is eager to quickly establish a resource and construct a spodumene-producing mine in Québec, a task it considers itself well-able to accomplish having attracted the essential expertise and skill to develop and construct profitable projects. The company is led by non-executive chairman Iggy Tan, one of the first mining executives in Australia to recognise the potential of lithium exploration way back in the day. Tan fronted the success of Galaxy Resources and its Mt Cattlin Spodumene project (137,000tpa of spodumene product) and the downstream Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate project.


Encounter Resources

De Grey Mining


(ASX: DEG) encounterresources.com.au


Encounter Resources left market watchers hanging at the close of 2023 in respect to a couple of projects within the company’s diverse portfolio of projects. In November Encounter regained 100 per cent control of the 7,200 square kilometre Elliott copper project in the Northern Territory after BHP advised of its decision to withdraw from the Elliott Farm-in and Joint Venture Agreement. The agreement has been fruitful for Encounter with BHP, over the last three years, having funded and completed: » Compilation of data packages including seismic, airborne EM, magnetics, gravity, geochemistry and hydro-geochemistry; » Extensive Traditional Owner engagement and site surveys; Geological mapping and orientation soil sampling; and » Two diamond drill holes (1,655m) that intersected the Amungee Member of the Velkerri Formation. Encounter is now evaluating the data generated under the farm-in agreement to prioritise the next phase of exploration at Elliott, as well as at the company’s other 100 per cent-owned projects located at key structural locations in vastly underexplored Greater McArthur Superbasin. The portfolio diversity mentioned above was on show when the first drilling at the Emily target at the 100 per cent-owned Aileron project in the West Arunta region of Western Australia returned shallow, high-grade niobium-REE mineralisation. Drilling undertaken on the Green target within the project also confirmed niobium-REE anomalism that remains open. “Mineralisation at Emily and Green remains open and represent priority drill targets for 2024,” managing director Wil Robinson said. “The 2024 field season is shaping up as a potential transformational year with follow-up drilling of the discoveries made in 2023 and the first testing of several exciting new targets in the untouched central and eastern areas of the Aileron project.”

Things are heating up for De Grey Mining as development progresses of the company’s 100 per cent-owned Hemi gold project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. A Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) completed in 2023 confirmed the Hemi gold project as a world-class Tier 1 gold project that presents a commercially attractive development opportunity, with substantial upside. The DFS outcomes were based on the June 2023 JORC 2012-compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) that showed a Global Project MRE of 277 million tonnes at 1.3 grams per tonne gold for 11.7 million ounces. The MRE for the Hemi deposit increased by one million ounces to 237 million tonnes at 1.3g/t gold for 9.5 million ounces. The Indicated Resources at Hemi increased by 1.1 million ounces to 166 million tonnes at 1.3g/t gold for 6.9 million ounces, providing a strong platform for the DFS and accompanying updated Hemi Probable Ore Reserve of 121 million tonnes at 1.5g/t gold for 6 million ounces. “Alongside its spectacular gold endowment, the project is also located in the major mining services centre of the Pilbara with world class infrastructure at hand,” managing director and CEO Glenn Jardine said. “These attributes – along with the quality of studies, testwork and the major milestones achieved – mean the Project has been significantly de-risked over the last three and a half years.” De Grey continues working on the potential it sees to increase the mine life and production profile of Hemi. This potential, it believes, lies in the near-term to further expand and optimise the Diucon and Eagle open pits based on extensional drill results reported after the DFS mine design cut-off date. Additional opportunities to be assessed include potential underground mining and construction of a regional concentrator hub.


Blackstone Minerals

Kaolin WA (ASX: WAK)




December, for some companies, can be a time of reflection on the past year, or, as in the case of Blackstone Minerals, it affords the opportunity to execute a deal, from which to launch the New Year. In December 2023, Blackstone acquired 100 per cent of the Wabowden nickel sulphide project located in the Thompson Nickel Belt in Manitoba, Canada. Blackstone considers Wabowden highly complementary to its plans for the company’s Ta Khoa Refinery in Vietnam. The project boasts a Canadian NI 43-101 contained nickel Resource, which could increase Blackstone’s global mineral resource helping it to secure feed required for the Ta Khoa Refinery, removing any dependency on sourcing third-party feedstock. It could also establish a key central point of operations in Manitoba for Blackstone to potentially consolidate its existing Manitoba nickel interests and other nickel assets in the region. “It’s [Wabowden’s] location in the tier-one jurisdiction of Manitoba, with access to 100 per cent renewable power, aligns with our goals to produce Green Nickel™, meaning that Wabowden ticks all the boxes that are important to our goals and the project would be complementary to the strategy we are executing,” managing director Scott Williamson said. Another feather in the Wabowden cap is the chance to benefit from supportive government policies including the Manitoba Critical Minerals Strategy, the Canadian Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund, the US Inflation Reduction Act, and the US Defence Production Act. “Securing long term low carbon IRA compliant nickel feed for the Ta Khoa Refinery has been a key question from potential JV Partners,” Williamson said. “This option agreement provides greater certainty over the nickel feed sourcing strategy for Ta Khoa, which is an important factor in the selection of a JV Partner.”

WA Kaolin is the 100 per cent owner of the Wickepin kaolin project in Western Australia, one of the largest remaining primary resources of premium quality kaolin in the world. In 2023, WA Kaolin reported an increase in the Ore Reserve Estimate (ORE) and Mineral Resources Estimate (MRE) for the Wickepin project that increased the ORE by 113 per cent to 64.9 million tonnes. The MRE was reported at 643 million tonnes consisting of 65.5 million tonnes in Measured and Indicated Category and 577.5 million tonnes in Inferred Resource. The mine design, production schedule, and associated financial and other studies undertaken by the company have demonstrated that Kaolin can be produced with a mine production life of approximately 73 years. The initial 20 years are reported as Proved Ore Reserve while the remaining fall under Probable and comprise the remaining Life of Mine. “This massive resource now supports a 73-year mine life proving that it will be a multi-generation project and provides confidence as we progress our production ramp up to Stage 1 nameplate capacity of 200,000 tonnes per annum and look towards doubling production capacity in Stage 2,” CEO Andrew Sorensen said. WA Kaolin has been delivering to customers from the Wickepin project commenced since, which is placing the company high amongst global kaolin producers with its kaolin products enjoying strong demand. The Wickepin processing plant has been constructed to utilise WA Kaolin’s proprietary processing method, the ‘K99 Process’, developed by the company specifically to make the most of the high-grade Wickepin kaolin resource. The K99 Process produces an ultra-bright, high-quality kaolin product at a low cost, in comparison to other methods which rely on chemical bleaching and multiple wet mechanical and magnetic separation methods.


Green Technology Metals

New World Resources (ASX: NWC)

(ASX: GT1)



Green Technology Metals’ main 100 per cent-owned Ontario lithium projects comprise high-grade, hard rock spodumene assets Seymour, Root and Wisa. The company also has other lithium exploration claims in Allison, Falcon, Gathering, Junior, Pennock and Superb, all located on highly prospective Archean Greenstone tenure in north-west Ontario, Canada. Green Technology’s current global Mineral Resource estimate stands at 24.9 million tonnes at 1.13 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O). Last year, the company completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) across the Seymour and Root assets looking at establishing vertically integrated mines, concentrators and a Lithium Hydroxide Conversion facility. The PEA considered two development options: » Mine and concentrator development (Seymour and Root) producing saleable SC5.5 concentrates; and » Integrated project with construction of a converter to produce battery grade Lithium hydroxide from Seymour, Root and other spodumene concentrates. The PEA delivered “compelling projected economics” taking into consideration attractive capital and operating costs, short transportation distances, minimal royalties and low corporate income taxes. “We are pleased to deliver our PEA which initially includes the Mines and Concentrators in North-Western Ontario, confirming a strong NPV and robust project delivery strategy with low capital hurdles to get GT1 first into production within the province of Ontario,” chief executive officer Luke Cox said. “The second part of the PEA includes the conversion of Lithium concentrates to Lithium chemicals which are currently unavailable in North America and will play a critical role in closing the supply chain from mine to electric vehicle, all ‘Ontario Made’. “The success of GT1’s Strategy includes collaboration between Indigenous Partners, Communities, Government, Industry, and all Stakeholders. “Working together, the actions in this strategy will build a stronger, more resilient business and promote local communities.”

No sooner had NYE revelries abated, New World Resources commenced a maiden drilling program at the Discus copper prospect within the company’s 100 per cent-owned Javelin VMS project in northern Arizona, USA. New World Resources declared the Discus prospect a high priority in July 2023 after delineating a very strong Induced Polarisation (IP) chargeability geophysical anomaly over an area of 1.2km x 1km that became known as the Discus IP Anomaly. The company has since identified considerable outcropping mineralisation and alteration immediately over and along strike from the IP anomaly, producing encouraging assays from individual rock samples including: » 15 per cent copper, 3.1 per cent zinc and 1.16 grams per tonne gold; » 8.1 per cent copper, 49g/t silver and 0.68g/t gold; » 4.7 per cent copper and 0.2 per cent zinc; » 3.9 per cent copper and 3.5 per cent zinc; and » 3.7 per cent copper, 180g/t silver and 2.14g/t gold. “We are excited to have started this highly anticipated drill program at the Discus copper prospect”, managing director Mike Haynes said at commencement. “Resource expansion is a key part of our corporate strategy – and the high-impact drill programs planned for the early part of this year – to test multiple high-priority targets – are integral to that strategy. “With previous production of high-grade mineralisation from six VMS deposits, all within 5km of our Discus prospect, we have multiple indicators that suggest that the source of the IP anomaly could be a sizeable but buried VMS deposit. “Any mineralisation we discover could potentially be trucked to the processing plant we intend constructing 75km away at our Antler copper project. “But, of course, it would also be great to get to a position where we are evaluating a second stand-alone operation.”



Stavely Minerals

Kali Metals


(ASX: KM1) stavely.com.au


Anticipation is the key word for Stavely Minerals in 2024 with the company leaving marketeers gripping onto a couple of project cliff hangers to close 2023. Stavely had identified several “compelling new regional porphyry targets” at the company’s eponymous Stavely project in Victoria. The new regional porphyry targets were generated using Stavely’s regional soil auger and aircore geochemistry data, a system that utilises the vertical distribution of various geochemical elements above known porphyry systems. Stavely indicated its intention to test two of the new porphyry targets (S2 and S3) with aircore drilling in the spring/summer field season. In Western Australia, Stavely has a vigorous exploration program happening at the Hawkstone nickel-copper-cobalt project in West Kimberley magmatic nickel province, an emerging magmatic-nickel province with two recent discoveries located directly along strike from the project. The project includes approx. 30km of easterly strike continuation of the Ruins Dolerite, which is considered highly prospective for nickelcopper-cobalt mineralisation. “Our Hawkstone project is an exceptional walk-up exploration opportunity in a geological setting that has demonstrated prospectivity and fertility,” executive chair and managing director Chris Cairns said. “Stavely Minerals’ recently completed Falcon gravity gradiometer survey sets a very strong foundation for our forward exploration programs to build upon. “Both the gravity and magnetic data clearly show that the nickel-prospective Ruins Dolerite traverses our tenure for meaningful strike lengths of approximately 30 kilometres.” On the back of the Falcon gravity gradiometer and magnetic survey, Stavely was able to strike an agreement with the WA Government, through its Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), for co-funding of an 800m deep diamond drill-hole at the Hawkstone nickel-copper-cobalt project to a maximum amount of $220,000 of co-funding.

Kali Metals popped the New Year champagne in a double celebration with the company listing on the ASX having raised its maximum goal of $15 million through the issue of 60 million shares at IPO at an issue price of 25 cents per share. Kali was established via a spin out of a portfolio of Australian lithium assets owned by ASX-listed Kalamazoo Resources in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria combined with TSX-listed Canadian gold miner Karora Resources and its lithium mineral rights across an extensive range of projects located south of Kalgoorlie in WA, known as the Higginsville lithium project. As the company’s shares enjoyed an opening day run to more than double the IPO price, the company declared it would soon release results from an exploration campaign completed at the Higginsville lithium project, including rock chip and soil sampling, which it did to some fanfare. Kali announced identification of spodumene in multiple areas at the Spargoville project, one of eight projects within the Higginsville Lithium District with assays from rock chip samples returning results up to 3.69 per cent lithium oxide (Li20). “The Higginsville Lithium District portfolio has already proven to be prospective for lithium exploration with spodumene identified in multiple locations,” general manager geology Stuart Peterson said. “Our exploration team, who have extensive lithium exploration experience, have set up ongoing exploration pathways for identifying new lithium discoveries across what is an impressive, district scale tenement holding.” Kali signalled further large-scale geochemical soil sampling programs for the entire Higginsville Lithium District across the eight projects. A targeted RC drilling program is expected to commence at the Spargoville project in the first half of 2024 to drill test outcropping LCT pegmatites.


Ora Gold

Brightstar Resources


(ASX: BTR) ora.gold


Ora Gold is the proud holder of a substantial package of tenements in the prolific Murchison goldfield near Meekatharra, Western Australia. The company’s chief focus is the 677 square kilometres Garden Gully gold project, a tenement package that covers the Abbots Greenstone Belt and other key regional structures. The Garden Gull project has multiple gold prospects along the belt with the most advanced being the Crown Prince prospect. It was from the Crown Prince prospect that Ora Gold released assay results derived from a phase of RC and diamond drilling undertaken at the prospect’s South Eastern Ore Body (SEB) in October 2023. These assays delivered further high-grade gold mineralisation down dip from previously reported intersections. Later intercepts included: » OGGRCDDRC586 1 metre at 69.3 grams per tonne gold from 226m, 1m at 18.07g/t gold from 203m within 9m at 4.46g/t gold from 202m and 1.55m at 7.7g/t gold from 192.15m; » OGGRC606 11m at 3.93g/t gold from 114m; and » OGGRC612 2m at 6.36g/t gold from 135m. “The assay results from Ora’s RC and DD drilling program targeting depth extensions at SEB continue to demonstrate further high-grade gold mineralisation at depth,” CEO Alex Passmore said. “We look forward to following up with further extensional drilling which is focused on adding to the known strike and depth extent of Crown Prince.” Investors gave the Garden Gull project a solid tick of approval with the company completing a raise of $5 million, putting it in a strong financial position to accelerate further drilling, resource definition, exploration and technical programs at Crown Prince and regional prospects. “We look forward to continuing to drill and delineate new mineralisation at the Crown Prince prospect over the coming months,” Passmore said.

Brightstar Resources is a gold exploration and development company that owns 100 per cent of the Laverton and Menzies gold projects in Western Australia. Important to the company’s aspirations, Brightstar owns the Brightstar processing plant, which is currently on care and maintenance, a 60-man accommodation camp and non-processing infrastructure, located 30km SE of Laverton and within 60km of the company’s 511,000 ounces of gold JORC Resource within the Laverton gold project. Brightstar kicked off 2024 with a program of diamond drilling at the Cork Tree Well target within the Laverton gold project. The twenty hole program is drilling for metallurgical and geotechnical purposes targeting across open pit shells that were identified by a Scoping Study the company completed in September 2023. “As part of the PFS work streams underway, Brightstar has commenced the maiden diamond drilling campaign at Cork Tree Well in order to generate information both within the ore zones and the designed pit walls, which will provide the requisite material for metallurgical test work and improve Brightstar’s knowledge of geological and geotechnical domains within the CTW area,” managing director Alex Rovira said. As drilling commenced Brightstar was awaiting assays from RC drilling undertaken at the Menzies project late last year on the Aspacia and Link Zone deposits, targeting shallow, near surface mineralisation at Link Zone hoping to expand on the maiden JORC Mineral Resource Estimate announced in November. “This 5,000 metres program was designed as extensional and infill drilling to grow the existing resource at the Link Zone, and provide sufficient drill density to potentially declare a maiden resource at Aspacia,” Rovira said. “It is an exciting time to be drilling, growing our mineral resource base, completing the technical work for the PFS underway.”


Beacon Minerals

Red 5 Limited


(ASX: RED) beaconminerals.com.au


Beacon Minerals may not be the first company one thinks of when asked to name a gold producer, however, based in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia, Beacon has a proven track record of exploration and gold production and is currently a dividend paying gold producer. The company purchased the Jaurdi gold project leases in 2017, since when it reestablished the Jaurdi Hills as a gold producing region. A maiden Mineral Resource Estimate was completed in 2017 for the Lost Dog deposit followed by pre-feasibility studies and project approvals through 2018. First gold was poured in 2019 from the name plate 500,000 tonnes per annum 100 per cent-owned Jaurdi processing plant. In the December 2023 Quarter the Jaurdi gold project produced 6,708 ounces of gold resulting in gold sales for the quarter of 6,389 ounces at an average sale price of $3,039 per ounce for sale receipts of $19.41 million. In 2021, Beacon acquired the 100 per cent-owned MacPherson project in Coolgardie within 50km of the Jaurdi Mill that added ready to mine open pit reserves from MacPhersons Reward and Tycho which can be leveraged against a rising gold price. Mining started at the MacPhersons Reward project during the December 2023 quarter after clearing and topsoil removal work was complete. Beacon is targeting a 10-year mine life with production of +50,000 ounces per year, believing it will achieve its goals of sustainable, long term mineral production through exploration discovery or external acquisition, while continuing to focus on safe and environmentally sustainable production. Beacon considers it proven track record of turning exploration projects into viable and profitable gold producing assets sets the company apart and positions it well for future growth.

The view for 2024 looks promising for Red 5 Limited as it perches atop a mound of gold produced from the company’s King of the Hills (KOTH) gold project in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia. Red 5 greeted New Year market watchers having achieved gold production of 53,017 ounces for the December 2023 Quarter, contributing to production for the first half of FY24 totalling 108,026oz. The 53,017 ounces produced stemmed from 1.24 million tonnes of ore processed at an average head grade of 1.45 grams per tonne and a gold recovery of 91.2 per cent. The company is right to be chuffed with the strong December Quarter performance as it was the third successive quarter of production above 50,000oz. The first half FY24 performance has the company firmly on track to achieve the upper end of its production guidance of 195,000 – 215,000 ounces. Cash generation during the Quarter allowed Red 5 to make a further voluntary additional debt repayment of $2 million in addition to the scheduled $8 million principal repayment – helping to further de-risk and strengthen its balance sheet. The KOTH gold project is made up of three mines - KOTH open pit, KOTH underground and Darlot underground. Drilling reported from the Darlot mine late last year delivered additional mining areas and further de-risked the mine plan for FY2025 and FY2026. “Over its long production history, Darlot has proved itself to be an exceptional gold system,” managing director Mark Williams said. “Our ongoing Resource and Reserve development drilling programs are increasing confidence in the FY24 mine plan, while at the same time continuing to de-risk the mine plan for FY25 and FY26 and delivering growth across multiple fronts.”




Developing a series of high-grade, low tonnage gold mines to generate cashflow through toll treatment and build scale to pursue more transformational growth opportunities.

1.26Moz Gold mineral Resource


Large, strategic WA Goldfields landholding


Cash/investments to support growth strategy *As of 31 December 2023

Impact Minerals

Burley Minerals


(ASX: BUR) impactminerals.com.au


A new discovery will always put a spring in a company’s step and Impact Minerals was striding out early in 2024 following receipt of high-tenor rare earth element (REE) results from soil geochemistry surveys at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Arkun project in southwest Western Australia. Impact reported assays of up to 5,880 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth element oxides and yttrium (TREO+Y) from the Hyperion prospect in the northwestern part of the project area, which the company claimed as some of the highest TREO-in-soil results reported recently in WA. A further anomaly with up to 1,783ppm TREO+Y was also identified at Swordfish some 10km southeast of Hyperion. These anomalies add to the previously reported 10km long REE anomaly at the Horseshoe prospect 25km east of Hyperion, which Impact believes emphasises REE exploration potential at the Arkun project. “The discovery of the Hyperion prospect is a significant breakthrough in exploring the Arkun project, which has so far focused on nickel, platinum, and copper,” managing director Dr Mike Jones said. “Impact’s exploration strategy recognises that the Corrigin Tectonic Zone has potential for various commodities, including Rare Earth Elements (REEs), and the Hyperion prospect could host a large REE deposit in the clays developed in weathered granite. “However, the key to an economic discovery is to evaluate how easily the REEs can be extracted through simple acid leaching. “For this purpose, initial drill testing and bulk sampling for metallurgical test work will be conducted in the upcoming field season. “The extraction characteristics will help guide resource definition drilling later in the year.” Impact expects drilling timing to depend on statutory approvals and, in particular, landholder consent, but it is planned for Q2 to Q3 this year.

Burley Minerals made further Canadian inroads December 2023 adding to its 100 per cent-ownership of the Chubb lithium project in Québec, Canada. Burley Minerals acquired two lithium projects and submitted applications for a further three projects all located in Manitoba, Canada, covering approximately 1,100km2 which share the same greenstone belts as other world-class lithium deposits. The company picked up two granted mineral exploration licenses over the Cormorant and White Rabbit projects. The Cormorant project comprises a granted exploration claim where historic base metal exploration intersected numerous pegmatites described as white, light green and pink with quartz, k-feldspar, and muscovite. Three historical drill holes are stored in core libraries that all have pegmatite intercepts, which have not been assayed for lithium. The White Rabbit project is in central Manitoba covering some 15km strike length of prospective greenstone belt where pegmatite outcrops of up to 2.5km long and 600m wide have been mapped. “Following the exploration success Burley Minerals has had at its Chubb lithium project in the heart of the world-class lithium province of Québec, we are excited to have significantly expanded our land holding to cover a further approx. 1,100 square kilometres in the emerging Manitoba lithium province,” managing director and CEO Stewart McCallion said. “The addition of five new projects provide a unique value proposition to Burley’s existing lithium portfolio. “The Burley exploration team can now leverage its substantial lithium exploration experience when preparing to begin exploration programs on the new properties.” Burley Minerals has made application for a further three exploration claim applications for the Paull Lake, Partridge and Oxford Lake projects gaining exposure to the emerging and underexplored Superior Province lithium region in Manitoba via the company’s 100 per cent-owned subsidiary, Bouvier Lithium.


Hamelin Gold

Lanthanein Resources


(ASX: LNR) hamelingold.com.au


It was a case of a New Year, a new gold hit for Hamelin Gold with the intersection of bedrock gold mineralisation from first pass aircore drilling of the Sultan West prospect within the company’s West Tanami project in Western Australia. The first pass, aircore drilling at the Sultan West geochemical anomaly returned shallow gold mineralisation over 700 metres of strike, including: » 4 metres at 0.58 grams per tonne gold from 20m to end of hole; and » 8m at 0.94g/t gold from 16m, including 2m at 2.6g/t gold from 18m. The Sultan West prospect is located within the Sultan Corridor in the northwest of the West Tanami project and was defined by Hamelin via a 1,000 metre long, coherent gold and bismuth soil anomaly, generated through analysis of surface samples using the CSIRO developed Ultrafine® technology. “The identification of bedrock gold mineralisation beneath the Sultan West Ultrafine® geochemical anomaly is highly significant for the company,” managing director Peter Bewick said. “The aircore drill program has defined a coherent corridor of shallow gold mineralisation within a thin regolith profile. “These initial results are very promising and we are now planning to conduct RC drilling early in the 2024 field season to test for primary gold mineralisation at depth and along strike. “The drill results from Sultan West confirm the effectiveness of this new technology to identify bedrock gold mineralisation covered by thin sand cover. “These results provide the company with the confidence to expand the use of the Ultrafine® analysis into other undercover regions of the West Tanami and other similar sand covered desert environments in new exploration projects we have recently acquired.”

Lanthanein Resources stated focus is the discovery of critical minerals of rare earth elements (REEs) in tier 1 mining jurisdictions of Western Australia and South Australia. Lanthanein Resources’ project portfolio includes the over 873 square kilometres Murraydium REE project spread across four tenement blocks within the Murray Basin in southeastern South Australia. The Mt Clere project in the eastern Gascoyne Province of WA, considered prospective for rare earths and lithium pegmatites. The 240sqkm Koolya high purity alumina (HPA) project that is prospective for bright white kaolin and HPA east of Perth. Most noise of late has emanated from the company’s Gascoyne REE project where it is exploring for light rare-earth oxides of neodymium and praseodymium critical to the production of permanent magnets. In October 2023, Lanthanein released a maiden Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the Lyons 11, 12 and 13 prospects at the Gascoyne REE project. This initial Inferred MRE for the Lyons REE project stands at 0.99 million tonnes at 0.32 per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO). The Lyons project is adjacent to the Yangibana REE deposit of Hastings Technology Metals and is described by Lanthanein as “an advanced project which has completed a Definitive Feasibility Study and is advancing to construction”. Work to date has demonstrated mineralisation at Yangibana is hosted in the same Yangibana Ironstones that hosts mineralisation at Lyons. At this early stage of exploration Lanthanein has assumed mining and metallurgical factors from Yangibana represent an appropriate starting point for Lyons. For a higher classification of Mineral Resource or for any mining/ economic study the company has signalled further work will be required to confirm that these assumptions are in fact applicable.


Platina Resources

Sarytogan Graphite


(ASX: SGA) platinaresources.com.au


Platina Resources took the gold price baton and to make an early run in 2024 signalling it would undertake further drilling at its Xanadu and Beete gold projects in Western Australia. Platina’s enthusiasm had been triggered by the gold price starting the new year above US$2,000 per ounce having hit a record high of US$2,070 in December. The company is drilling to take advantage of its strong balance sheet and to optimise its gold project portfolio amid what it sees as an “unprecedented gold pricing environment”. “Platina’s cash position is more than $9 million ensuring drilling programs can be delivered without dilution to shareholders,” managing director Corey Nolan said. “The company is actively planning and securing approvals to commence a major phase of exploration reflecting our commitment to enhancing value through strategic drilling activities. “We’re particularly eager to commence further drilling at our Xanadu gold project in the Ashburton Basin to unlock the potential presence of a very large gold system at Xanadu Deeps.” Xanadu is to be peppered by RC drilling testing deeper targets identified by historical magnetics and induced polarisation geophysical surveys as well as targets where historic shallow drilling identified structurally controlled, high-grade gold intersections, within a much larger lower-grade envelope of gold mineralisation. An aircore drilling program is also planned at the Beete project to test what the company considers to be a possible extension of the Norseman greenstone belt, a prolific gold producing region. The area to be drilled has not historically been systematically explored. “Beete’s gold, nickel and lithium potential remains hidden under a shallow blanket of cover and drilling will aim to test for bed rock anomalies using targets generated through soil sample analysis and geophysical interpretations,” Nolan explained.

Sarytogan Graphite ended 2023 on a high, reporting production of the first spheroidized graphite from the company’s Sarytogan graphite deposit in Central Kazakhstan. The spheroidized graphite production signalled the final flowsheet element for Sarytogan to produce Uncoated Spherical Purified Graphite (USPG) and Ultra-High Purity Fines (UHPF) targeting the lithium-ion and other battery markets. It followed the scale up of thermal purification Sarytogan and its American technology partner that achieved 99.998 per cent C (weight % carbon) at 2,700 degrees Celsius, being is 25 times purer than the typical chemical specification for lithium-ion batteries of 99.95% C. Advancing the thermally purified sample to spheroidization means the produced spheres can target lithium-ion batteries and the high-purity fine by-product for advanced industrial uses, including many other battery types. “This result allays all doubts of the giant and exceptionally high-grade Sarytogan Graphite deposit’s suitability to vie for a share of the rapidly growing lithium-ion battery market for electric vehicles and other uses, subject to customer qualification,” managing director Sean Gregory said. “We have now complimented the ultra-high purity of 99.998 per cent with these outstanding physical spheroidization results at high yields of ideally sized spheres. “We now charge into 2024 on a mission to measure the battery performance of these products.” With an eye on the lithium-ion battery market and specifically electric vehicles, Sarytogan will measure the performance of the spheres in coin-cell lithium-ion batteries in short-term and long-term cycling tests. The fine UPHF by-product will be tested in other commercial advanced battery systems such as alkaline, lithium primary, and lead-acid batteries and as a conductivity enhancer in the cathode of lithium-ion batteries. A Pre-Feasibility Study is progressing towards expected completion in Q3 2024.


Maximus set to continue its gold and lithium exploration efforts Amanda Ellis

Western Australian explorer Maximus Resources continues to advance its gold and lithium assets in 2024 after achieving a whopper 98% increase to gold resources last year. The Australian company has a team on-ground in the WA Goldfields and has defined over 335,000 ounces of gold resources at its Spargoville tenement area near Kambalda and Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The company’s assets are in an envious location, in the Eastern Goldfields Lithium Province near WA mining major Mineral Resources’ (ASX:MIN) Mt Marion and Bald Hill lithium operations and Gold Fields Limited’s 10 million-plus ounce St Ives gold operations 20 kilometres away. Maximus Resources Managing Director Tim Wither says the company’s flagship Spargoville tenements have significant value to be unlocked. Maximus’ tenements include Wattle Dam gold mine which was one of Australia’s highest grade gold mines where Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) extracted 266,350oz at 10.6 grams-per-tonne gold.

Various valuations of Maximus price it on gold alone, but its lithium and nickel assets are also likely to be a future part of its value. The WA-based company’s lithium assets are supported by the South Korean state-owned critical minerals and mining company KOMIR and global battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution. The Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation inked a joint venture with Maximus in the second half of 2023, enabling the Australian company to get on the ground in the December half-year with the first tranche of $US3 million ($A4.6 million) to earn a 30% stake. Project manager Maximus plans to continue exploring for lithium at Lefroy Lithium Project this year after a successful start identifying a large area spodumene-bearing pegmatites on a firstpass drilling, with more to be discovered. The Lefroy Lithium Prospect is about 20km south of MinRes’ Mt Marion lithium JV operations and adjacent to Kali Metals’ (ASX:KM1) Spargoville project.

“We’re within 70 kilometres of multiple toll-treating options, and we have great neighbours. The Kambalda region has produced over 15 million ounces of gold,” he said of the area’s location.

Maximus has lithium assets, outside the KOMIR JV, at Larkinville Lithium Project, which is adjacent to Marquee Resources’ (ASX:MQR) West Spargoville lithium prospect JV with MinRes.

“Within the ground, we’ve got world-class geology, and we’re sitting on a fertile corridor with demonstrated high-grade discoveries.

Gold and lithium drilling will continue on Maximus ground this year, as the company pursues further opportunities to increase its resources and valueadd for its investors and stakeholders.

“We are a very active team with over 36,000 metres drilled in two years, and are responsible in our capital allocation, with 82% going into the ground.”

Maximus is on fertile ground with good neighbours within a 70-kilometre radius in Western Australia’s Goldfields

ASX:MXR | maximusresources.com

Amanda Ellis is writer and editor who has been a staff writer with The West Australian, Kalgoorlie Miner and MiningNews. She writes for MarketOpen magazine and The Pick.

FireFly Metals

Elevate Uranium


(ASX: EL8) fireflymetals.com.au


FireFly Metals ran a fresh set of eyes over historic 2022 drillholes last year, from the company’s Green Bay project in Newfoundland, Canada. FireFly Metals acquired the Green Bay project in October 2023, which came with a Resource of 39.2 million tonnes at 2.1 per cent for 811,000 tonnes of copper equivalent (CuEq). With mineralisation remaining open, the company’s immediate stated strategy is to focus on an extensive drilling program designed to grow the inventory rapidly. FireFly completed analysis for copper, gold, silver and zinc on the drillholes that had previously only been assayed for copper by the project’s previous operator. In addition to the known high-grade copper, the new results demonstrated quantities of precious (gold and silver) and base metals (zinc) in the high-grade VMS zone. Notable results included dill hole RM22-795-10, which retuned an intersection of: » 16.8 metres at 11.2 per cent CuEq, consisting of 6.7 per cent copper, 3.5 grams per tonne gold, 24.8g/t silver and 4.9 per cent zinc. “These latest assays confirm there is extensive high-grade mineralisation well outside the existing Resource,” managing director Steve Parsons said. Firefly commenced mining of the exploration drill drive in November 2023 drill test extensions of upper VMS mineralisation in addition to Lower Footwall stringer zone. “We are well into a major 40,000 metres underground drilling program designed to continue extending this known mineralisation,” Parsons explained. The underground exploration drive now being constructed will enable us to do this even faster, more accurately and more efficiently. “This strategy is aimed at achieving rapid growth in the Resource, which will in turn confirm Green Bay is a major high-grade copper-gold project with extensive existing infrastructure in a tier-one location.”

Elevate Uranium mobilised a fleet of four reverse circulation (RC) drill rigs to kick off its 2024 drilling programs across the company’s Namibian uranium exploration portfolio with a fifth rig set to join in the fun later. Elevate Uranium’s portfolio hosts a combined 94 million pounds uranium of resources, part of the company’s global resources of 142.4 million pounds uranium. The company set three RC rigs in operation on the Koppies project, focussing on expansion of the existing resource and increasing the Koppies resource confidence level from an Inferred to an Indicated category to underpin the commencement of technical studies. Elevate Uranium anticipates the resource expansion drilling program, targeting the mineralised zones south of the existing mineral resource envelope, to result in a revised Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) by the end of Q1-CY24. The drill rigs will then commence an infill drill program to increase the resource confidence level with subsequent studies to commence later in the year. Metallurgical testwork samples will be collected from Koppies and despatched to Perth for a detailed metallurgical testwork program utilising the company’s proprietary U-pgrade beneficiation process. The testwork data will be used for technical studies and design of the pilot plant. The fourth and fifth RC drill rigs will execute a high impact regional drill program with the aim of identifying new discoveries and resource definition expansion within the company’s large land portfolio in Namibia. “Completion of the current resource growth stage for Koppies, expected by the end of the March Quarter, will trigger a new era for the company,” managing director Murray Hill said. “The focus will change to advancing the Koppies uranium project through infill drilling and metallurgical testwork that will underpin technical studies and a future pilot plant.”


Antipa Minerals

Future Battery Minerals


(ASX: FBM) antipaminerals.com.au


Antipa Minerals ended 2023 with much optimism following a Phase 2 exploration drilling program at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Minyari Dome gold-copper project in Western Australia. Antipa has discovered several deposits, including Minyari Dome that currently hosts a gold resource that was the subject of a Scoping Study in 2022 determining potential for initial development with substantial upside. An aggressive drilling program is targeting substantial and rapid growth to the existing Minyari Dome resources. The RC, diamond core and air core drilling at the GEO-01 prospect encountered further near-surface high-grade gold mineralisation remaining open across the prospect footprint, located just 1.3km from the 1.5 million ounces Minyari gold-copper deposit. The company wasted little time commencing evaluation of the broader Minyari Dome area for additional GEO-01 analogue targets, with key targeting criteria including the intersection of NNE to ENE trending structures with competent/brittle lithologies including mafic intrusives. Antipa signalled it would use the encouraging results from the Phase 2 drilling program to guide the depth and direction of a Phase 3 RC and diamond core drilling program scheduled for March 2024. This program will include completion of EIS drilling at the three Pacman greenfield targets, PM1, PM2 and PM3. Diamond core drill testing of all three large-scale greenfield targets is supported by $660,000 of further Western Australian Government EIS co-funding drilling grants. “We are delighted with the initial assays returned from our recently completed Phase 2 CY2023 exploration drilling programme at Minyari Dome,” managing director Roger Mason said. “Results from this round of drilling at the GEO-01 discovery continue to demonstrate multiple notable zones of high-grade gold, and with mineralisation open in most directions, it is quickly firming up as a significant potential maiden resource opportunity.”

Future Battery Minerals left everybody in suspense at the end of 2023 when it announced results of a resistivity survey recently undertaken across the company’s 100 per cent-owned Kangaroo Hills lithium project (KHLP) in Western Australia. FBM had undertaken an Induced Polarisation (IP) survey in the KHLP region during 2021 when it was more focused on exploring for nickel sulphides. Fast forward and the discovery of LCT pegmatites at KHLP in November 2022 led to the reprocessing of the resistivity component of this IP targeting other potential LCT pegmatites. Upon review of the reprocessed data and following drilling of the discovery holes at Big Red in June 2023, a resistive anomaly was observed coincident with the Big Red pegmatite. The new resistivity results revealed a prospective target area north of the currently defined Big Red mineralised zone by up to 2.2km north-south, with the addition of two connected prospective resistive anomalies along strike identified as Big Red North. The results also enlarged and refined the Western Grey and Quokka targets, as well as identifying a further two targets to the west of Big Red in Big Red West and Whiptail. “Clear delineation of two new, higher order anomalies to the north of Big Red is a significant outcome, in an area which we are now calling Big Red North,” technical director Robin Cox said. “It provides us with additional confidence that the northern extensional drilling of Big Red offers substantial upside opportunity to what we have already defined at Big Red and Rocky. “The refinement of pre-existing regional resistivity targets to the north, Western Grey and Quokka, allows us to sharpen our drill planning for the initial testing of these highly prospective areas.”


Gateway Mining

Magnetic Resources


(ASX: MAU) gatewaymining.com.au


Gateway Mining approached 2024 with confidence on the back of a new gold discovery made late 2023 at the company’s 100 per centowned Montague gold project in the Murchison Gold District of Western Australia. Gateway Mining intersected a new zone of gold mineralisation it considers having exciting growth potential during diamond drilling at the Achilles East target, within the Montague project. The WA Government EIS co-funded diamond drilling encountered gold intercepts, including: » GDD026 12 metres at 1.2 grams per tonne gold from 244m within 48m at 0.6g/t gold and 2.3m at 1.6g/t gold from 290m. The drilling hit a consistent zone of primary gold mineralisation at depth below an extensive halo of oxide gold mineralisation the company had previously defined at the Achilles target area. The mineralisation has been interpreted to be associated with swarms of quartz-veinlets with potassic (biotite) alteration, hosted by the Montague Granodiorite, the key control on mineralisation in the area. Drilling has sown the new east-dipping zone of mineralisation seeming to be up to 50m thick extending over a strike length of more than 600m. Gateway Mining quickly commenced Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling to further evaluate this new granodiorite-hosted trend, designed to extend the higher-grade zone intersected by an earlier drilling campaign. “The discovery of significant widths of primary gold mineralisation at depth adjacent to the Achilles Oxide Resource is an exciting development, as it opens up an entirely new granodiorite-hosted gold trend which appears to have been intersected in earlier shallower drilling,” managing director Mark Cossom said. “We…have an RC rig on site to test this hypothesis which, if confirmed, will validate the discovery of a new Whistler-style zone of mineralisation with potential to add significant shallow ounces at Montague.”

Magnetic Resources holds a portfolio of 100 per cent-owned tenements in the established Laverton gold mining region of Western Australia. This portfolio includes the Lady Julie Central, Lady Julie North, Hawks Nest and Homeward Bound projects, all of which are surrounded by producing gold mines with processing facilities that struggle to maintain nameplate capacity. The scenario resembles a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos with Magnetic’s growing gold resources possibly being the elusive marbles. Late last year, Magnetic released updated Mineral Resource Estimates (MREs) from main deposits Hawks Nest 9, Lady Julie Central, Lady Julie North 4 (LJN4), Mount Jumbo and Homeward Bound South. The update increased the Total Mineral Resources reported for the Laverton and Homeward Bound South projects to 22.7 million tonnes at 1.69 grams per tonne gold at 0.5g/t cut-off for 1.236 million ounces of gold. Magnetic indicated it considers the cutoff grade appropriate for a large-scale open pit operation. The company’s main focus is the Lady Julie North 4 discovery, over which it subsequently lodged a Mining Lease application. The application M38/1315 overlays Magnetic tenements P38/4170 and E38/3127 and was submitted based on the LJN4 declared gold resource at of 13.1 million tonnes at 2g/t gold for 852,000 ounces. “This is a major milestone for the company,” managing director George Sakalidis said. “The Mining Lease application is the first stage in the mining approvals process. “Concurrently, we are still drilling at depth below the existing 825,000oz resource beneath the Lady Julie North 4 Resource. “Further drilling at depth is anticipated to result in further growth of the LJN4 resource and additional structural studies are being completed on the recent core holes to help understand the setting of the breccia and silica-pyrite zones..”




BLUEBIRD HIGH-GRADE COPPER-GOLD DISCOVERY In the Tennant Creek area of the Northern Territory

EXCEPTIONAL DRILL-HITS • 17.95m @ 11.08 g/t Au and 2.66% Cu • 30.5m @ 6.2% Cu and 6.8 g/t Au • 63m @ 2.1% Cu and 4.6 g/t Au

International Graphite

GreenTech Metals

(ASX: IG6)




International Graphite is maintaining a healthy development pace as it advances towards becoming what it claims as being, “Western Australia’s first fully integrated ‘mine-to-market’ producer of graphite battery anode material (BAM) to meet global demand for high performance lithium-ion batteries”. International Graphite owns 100 per cent of the Springdale graphite project, near Hopetoun, at which it has established a pilot scale graphite micronising and spheroidising plant and R&D facility, in the industrial centre of Collie, 200km south of Perth. This is the first stage in the company’s plans to establish comprehensive downstream graphite processing and BAM facilities in Collie. The company released the “second largest known graphite deposit in Australia” for the Springdale graphite project in September last year of 49.3 million tonnes at 6.5 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC) for 3.2 million tonnes contained graphite. The Resources breaks down to: » Indicated category – 11.5 million tonnes at 7.5 per cent TGC for 0.9 million tonnes contained graphite; and » Inferred category – 37.8 million tonnes at 6.1 per cent TGC for 2.3 million tonnes contained graphite. It is worth noting this sizable MRE sprouts from exploration covering some 10 per cent of the Springdale tenement areas. The company has a further 80 per cent of the aeromagnetic anomalies on its tenure that has yet to be tested. Of further note, 10 per cent of the MRE stems from one new graphite discovery at Mason Bay, two kilometres east of Springdale where drilling is anticipated to expand this resource. “Across our tenements, there is significant potential for further Mineral Resource growth to be defined if we follow the same exploration model,” Managing Director and CEO Andrew Worland said.

GreenTech Metals will no doubt be keen to get back out on its portfolio of 100 per cent-owned West Pilbara lithium projects in 2024. The company will be encouraged to do so on the back of infill outcrop sampling and mapping carried out in 2023 from the western end of the 7.5km long Kobe trend that confirmed the presence of high-grade lithium oxide (Li20) and tantalum (Ta205) and niobium Nb205 mineralisation. The Northern LCT pegmatite, including the Kobe prospect, sits within the company’s 100 per cent-owned Ruth Well project tenements along 6km of strike where previous rock chip samples had encountered up to 1.82 per cent Li2O. Rock chip sampling assays included: » 2.31 per cent Li2O, 25ppm Ta2O5 and 120 ppm Nb2O5 (sample 23GT20-832) » 1.72 per cent Li2O, 52ppm Ta2O5 and 118 ppm Nb2O5 (sample 23GT20-797) » 1.37 per cent Li2O, 38ppm Ta2O5 and 57 ppm Nb2O5 (sample 23GT20-801) » 1.24 per cent Li2O, 23ppm Ta2O5 and 113 ppm Nb2O5 (sample 23GT20-830) » 1.23 per cent Li2O, 70ppm Ta2O5 and 81 ppm Nb2O5 (sample 23GT20-804) » 1.20 per cent Li2O, 21ppm Ta2O5 and 92 ppm Nb2O5 (sample 23GT20-835) greenTach interpreted these results to demonstrate the continuity of lithium mineralisation along the 7.5km Kobe pegmatite trend. Diamond drilling carried out in 2023 at Kobe was aimed at providing stratigraphic/structural information and subsurface characteristics of these pegmatite zones in preparation for a refined follow-up drilling program early next year. “GreenTech continues to systematically unlock the scale and mineralised potential of its tenements in the West Pilbara region, an address which has quickly become one of the premier global jurisdictions for hard rock lithium exploration,” executive director Thomas Reddicliffe said. “We look forward to reporting regular updates on our exploration progress.”


Meteoric Resources

Global Lithium Resources


(ASX: GL1) meteoric.com.au


Meteoric Resources’ focus for 2024 will undoubtably be on the company’s Caldeira project, a Tier 1 ionic clay rare earth element (REE) project in the Minas Gerais State of Brazil. And who could blame it. Since acquiring the project in March 2023, Meteoric has reported a maiden JORC Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for Caldeira which stands at 409 million tonnes at 2,626ppm total rare earth oxides (TREO) at a 1000ppm cut off. At a 2,000ppm TREO cut-off, the MRE is 271 million tonnes at 3,146ppm TREO. Meteoric explained that applying a higher-grade cut-off allows for evaluation of high-grade zones forming priority targets for future drilling. The Caldeira project comprises 51 licences (23 Mining Licences and 21 Mining Licence Applications) and has previously been subjected to some serious exploration, including 1,311 shallow auger drilling across six licences that returned ultra-high-grade TREO intersections all of which are reported from surface. In December 2023, Meteoric reported assay results from 277 aircore holes at the project’s Soberbo deposit that continued to highlight remarkable REE mineralisation with magnetic rare earth oxide (MREO) contents often well above the estimated project average of 24 per cent in the Inferred Resource. “Equally important is the increased depth of the mineralisation, providing concrete evidence to our early theories that the orebody would continue well below the historic drilling and current resource model,” chairman Dr Andrew Tunks said. “As soon as all of these outstanding assays are received, we will commence a re-estimation of the Mineral Resource Estimate for the Soberbo deposit which currently sits at 92 million tonnes at 2,948ppm TREO and along with the Capão do Mel deposit forms a crucial part of our development strategy.”

Global Lithium Resources has adopted a determined approach to 2024 with progress being made at a solid rate towards completion of a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) at the company’s 100 per centowned Manna lithium project on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Global Lithium believes itself to be well on track to reach several major project milestones in 2024. The company has declared Q1 2024 will see the remainder of the drilling results from the CY23 drilling program at the Manna lithium project, paving the way for an update to the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE). The updated MRE will include all results from the completed CY23 drill program and will support further detailed mine scheduling to be undertaken as part of the Manna DFS and provide confidence in the underlying Resource. This will be concurrent with ongoing metallurgical studies, with combined updates from these activities to be integral to the DFS, the results for which the company has slated for release during H1 CY24. The company has also been busy from an approvals viewpoint advancing key approvals on multiple front with execution and receipt of key approvals and agreements expected in H1 CY24. “GL1 is well funded and has a clear strategy in place in relation to the continued development of the Manna lithium project which we anticipate can withstand the current lithium market conditions and related near term headwinds,” managing director Ron Mitchell said. “The Board of GL1 expects the positive advances we have made at Manna will allow the company to benefit from improved market conditions going forward. “We are excited by the opportunities ahead for the company in 2024 and look forward to keeping shareholders well informed of our progress.”


Galan Lithium

Delta Lithium


(ASX: DLI) galanlithium.com.au


Galan Lithium continues to progress construction activities at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Hombre Muerto West (HMW) lithium brine project in Argentina. The HMW project is a tier one project that is anticipated to produce a premium high-grade lithium chloride (LiCl) concentrate of six per cent lithium, comparable to 13 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) or 32 per cent lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) by 2024. In May 2023 an updated Mineral Resource estimate was delivered totalling 6.6 million tonnes LCE. Galan’s stated objectives at HMW separated into four production phases. The initial Phase 1 Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) focused on the production of 5400 tonnes per annum LCE of a lithium chloride concentrate by H1 2025, as governed by the approved production permits. The Phase 2 DFS targets 21,000tpa LCE of a lithium chloride concentrate in 2026, followed by Phase 3 production of 40,000tpa LCE by 2028 and finally a Phase 4 production target of 60,000tpa LCE by 2030. Phase 4 is projected to include lithium brine sourced from both HMW and Galan’s other 100 per cent-owned project in Argentina, Candelas. Candelas is a valley-filled channel which project geophysics and drilling have indicated the potential to host a substantial volume of brine, over which Galan published a maiden resource estimate of 685,000 tonnes LCE in 2019. Domestically, Galan owns 100 per cent of a mining tenement package that makes up the Greenbushes South project located south of Perth in Western Australia. These mining tenements are located along the trace of the geological structure, the Donnybrook-Bridgetown Shear Zone that hosts the emplacement of the lithium-bearing pegmatite at Greenbushes. Part of the mining tenure sits just three kilometres to the south of the Greenbushes mine.

Delta Lithium had the jingle bells ringing before the Christmas break by announcing a maiden Minerals Resources Estimate (MRE) for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Yinnetharra project in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. The combined Inferred and Indicated MRE was reported at 25.7 million tonnes at 1 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) (at a 0.5% Li2O cut off). Of note, 26 per cent of the MRE sits in higher confidence Indicated category at 6.7 million tonnes at 1 per cent Li2O. The MRE covers the Malinda prospect the only prospect drilled at Yinnetharra but one of many with confirmed LCT mineralisation. “The speed with which this MRE has been defined since the acquisition of the project in late 2022 is a true credit to the teamwork and tenacity of Delta’s staff,” managing director James Croser said. “Yinnetharra was a blank canvas 12 months ago, and our people have overcome many challenges to punctuate the end of 2023 with its release. “This MRE is the foundation from which a mining lease application, scoping studies and further growth at Yinnetharra will proceed, with real potential now to support a significant lithium mining operation of large open pit scale. “We believe that this is just the beginning for the Yinnetharra Project, with multiple mineralised LCT prospects yet to be tested over the massive project area. “We will commence 2024 with renewed energy to build on this confidence, and for while this weakness in lithium prices may persist the company will prioritise investment spend at Yinnetharra to explore for the significant upside potential.” Delta Lithium was set to commence an enhanced drilling program at Yinnetharra in January.


Latin Resources

Spartan Resources


(ASX: SPR) latinresources.com.au


Latin Resources left punters yelling for more at the end of 2023 with an update on the Colina deposit Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) and Fog’s Block MRE at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Salinas lithium project in Brazil. The Colina deposit MRE update resulted in a 41 per cent increase taking it to 63.5 million tonnes at 1.3 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O), placing it amongst one of the largest scale Tier-One undeveloped lithium resources globally. Using structural and geological information gleaned from the resource infill drilling program, Latin and consultants updated the project’s existing geological model. This geological model has reconfirmed the Colina deposit consists of a series of 30 moderately east dipping pegmatite bodies, extending from near surface to a depth of over 350m which remain open at depth. A relative new kid on the project block is the Fog’s Block target where drilling commenced in 2023, since when 15 diamond holes have been drilled. Based on nine of these holes a maiden inferred resource was able to be defined at Fog’s Block. Fog’s Block MRE has been defined as approximately 6.8 million tonnes at 0.87 per cent Li2O Inferred at a cut-off grade of 0.5% Li2O. Fog’s Block remains open up-dip, at depth and along strike. Drilling continues to test for extensions to the defined deposit and build on the maiden resource. “This project is fast becoming a Tier One lithium resource as we predicted,” managing director Chris Gale said. “This is a great sign of a quality mineral resource. “The increase in size of the JORC resource will have an extremely positive impact on our DFS economics as the resource increase allows us to evaluate building phase 3 of the project lifting output significantly.”

Spartan Resources has gold Resources at its 100 per cent-owned Dalgaranga gold project in the Murchison region of Western Australia that somewhat belies the company moniker. As 2023 moved to a close, Spartan released an updated Minerals Resource Estimate for the high-grade Never Never gold deposit and for the Gilbey’s Complex, which comprises the higher-grade Four Pillars and West Winds prospects. Numbers are important in this case, so stay with us. The updated MRE for the Dalgaranga project, which is located on granted Mining Leases and within 2km of a 2.5 million tonnes per annum processing plant came in at: » 21.15 million tonnes at 2.49 grams per tonne gold for 1,692,600 ounces, comprising: » 5.16 million tonnes at 5.74g/t gold for 952,900 ounces for the Never Never deposit; and » 15.99 million tonnes at 1.45g/t gold for 739,800 ounces for the Gilbey’s Complex. The upshot for the updated Dalgaranga MRE is 12.96 million tonnes at 2.67g/t gold for 1,119,000 ounces (66%) is classified as Indicated. Combining Dalgaranga with Spartan’s Yalgoo (Murchison) and Glenburgh and Egerton (Gascoyne) takes the company’s Group Mineral Resources to now stand at: 44.16 million tonnes at 1.77g/t gold for 2,512,400 ounces (69% or 1.7Moz Indicated). “Importantly, Never Never continues to emerge as an exciting growth story at depth, with recent visible gold intercepts having been logged below the current MRE boundary and awaiting assay,” managing director and CEO Simon Lawson said. “The deposit remains open and appears to be shallowing and flattening slightly to the south. “This presents as a tantalising target for a fan of directional drilling from a parent hole that we plan to drill early in the New Year to systematically understand the potential of Never Never Deeps.”


Gold Road Resources

Southern Cross Gold


(ASX: SXG) goldroad.com.au


Gold Road Resources owns 50 per cent of the world-class Gruyere gold mine, which was developed in Joint Venture with Gold Fields, producing first gold in June 2019. Gold road discovered the Gruyere gold mine in October 2013 on the South Dorothy Hills Trend, 25 kilometres north-east of the company’s original Yamarna Belt discovery, Central Bore. Gold Road quickly defined a high-grade gold deposit and announced a maiden JORC 2012 Mineral Resource. The Gruyere JV rates as one of the largest virgin gold discoveries in Australia and has since emerged as one of Australia’s largest and most cost-efficient gold mining operations, sourcing all its ore from a single open pit mine. In 2023, Gold Road updated its three-year production outlook for calendar years 2023, 2024 and 2025, reaffirming sustainable production at a rate of approximately 350,000 ounces per annum incorporating a seven-stage open pit through to 2032. The Gruyere JV hosts considerable Open Pit Mineral Resources of 6.69 million ounces and Ore Reserves of 4.05 million ounces (100% basis). Most recently, 2023 annual production from Gruyere totalled approximately 321,978 ounces (160,989 ounces attributable) meeting the lower end of annual guidance of 320,000 – 350,000 ounces. The company explained production was lower due to a disappointing mining performance arising mainly from unexpected labour availability issues during December. Beyond Gruyere, Gold Road has a portfolio of 100 per cent-owned exploration projects in the underexplored and highly prospective Yamarna Belt that hosts the Gruyere gold deposit. The Gold Road exploration portfolio covers Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland comprising over 19,000 square kilometres. The company’s stated exploration strategy is to deliver new value-adding, economic gold deposits that can be developed as standalone mining operations, creating shareholder value through organic growth.

Southern Cross Gold closed out 2023 with a Christmas stocking stuffer to the tune of “another spectacularly long intersection” encountered at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Sunday Creek project in Victoria. Southern Cross Gold reported drillhole SDDSC092 at the Rising Sun prospect included an intersection of 9.3 metres at 94.9 grams per tonne gold and traversed 10 individual high-grade vein sets within a broader interval. “Clearly the amazingly high grades we are now starting to see develop consistently at Sunday Creek have been replicated again,” managing director Michael Hudson said at the time. “This result alone is the third best intersection on the project to date. “Even more importantly, the hole continues to reinforce the strike continuity of multiple high-grade vein sets.” With festivities done and dusted Southern Cross Gold greeted New Year marketeers with results of an initial metallurgical test program conducted on two drill holes from Sunday Creek. This program outlined a robust flow sheet for Sunday Creek, consisting of gravity separation of gold, followed by bulk or sequential flotation of gold and sulphides, that resulted in high recoveries of both gold and antimony into products the company expects to be readily saleable, with high returns for both gold and antimony values. The test work also highlighted the non-refractory nature of native gold at Sunday Creek. “A key aspect of any mineral discovery is to test early for metallurgical performance,” Hudson explained. “In this extremely strong initial result, we have demonstrated both the highly non-refractory and free nature of the gold at Sunday Creek, along with a robust flow sheet with high recoverability of both gold and antimony via industry-standard gravity and flotation methods.”

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Westgold Resources

Tietto Minerals


(ASX: TIE) westgold.com.au


It should be no surprise a company as big as Westgold has a lot more to cover than what we are able to do justice to here, so let’s take one project at a time and you can learn more by visiting the exhibition booth. Westgold’s Bryah operation in the Bryah Basin of Western Australia near Meekatharra encompasses the 0.9 million tonnes per annum Fortnum processing plant along with the Fortnum, Horseshoe and Peak Hill mining areas. The Starlight underground mine is the predominant feed source [90% of all processed tonnes with the additional 10% of ore sourced from surface stockpiles] to the Fortnum processing hub. The Fortnum mineral field was developed during the 1980s and the Starlight orebody produced over 750,000 ounces of gold over its early history before mining ceased in 1993. Westgold implemented an operational reset at Starlight in January 2023 enhancing site operations and implementing a new mine plan, since when to the end of October, Starlight outperformed against budget, with 104 per cent budgeted ounces delivered from the Fortnum mill. Westgold has extended the Starlight 320m below the current decline face, representing four years vertical advance at typical mining rates. Drilling on the mine’s Nightfall Lode has unlocked value, with the first northern stope currently averaging +12g/t gold in production sampling. “Concurrently we are extending the mine’s footprint into new areas such as Water Bore and historic areas such as Twilight, which was thought to be mined out under past owners,” managing director Wayne Bramwell said. “This systematic and focussed approach to Mineral Resource definition and ongoing optimisation of our mining practises sets Starlight up to take maximum advantage of an Australian dollar gold price unseen by any of its previous owners.”

Tietto Minerals has found success can be to the detriment of junior producers with the company currently fighting off an unsolicited takeover battle. Tietto Minerals is living up to its self-proclaimed moniker “West Africa’s newest ASX-listed gold producer”, producing 13,781 ounces of gold, a record for the company, in December 2023 at its Abujar gold mine in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. This record production level was achieved from only 26 milling days (84% availability) after a planned shut down of the mill in December for five days for an annual mill reline. The company milled a record high of over 600 tonnes per hour for 374,000 tonnes milled in December from only 26 days of operation. Head-grade also sharply increased to a grade of 1.16 grams per tonne gold in December. “Our intensive work with mining contractor EPSA on improving mining capacity and productivity metrics has seen a very steep increase in ore mined to a new record of 508,000 tonnes of ore in December,” Managing Director and CEO Matt Wilcox said. “Since the management transition earlier in 2023, we have been focussed on increasing both tonnes mined and tonnes milled, and forcing cost savings across our operations as we lift the company towards full production, which we expect will occur in H1 2024. “It is also very pleasing to see that we finished Q4 2023 with a material uplift across all key mining, milling and production metrics compared to Q3 2023, which is further evidence of the continued operational improvement as we ramp up Abujar to full production.” Tietto Board continues to advise Tietto Shareholders to reject the opportunistic, unsolicited and conditional offer by Zhaojin Capital (Hong Kong) Limited.


Bellevue Gold

Ramelius Resources


(ASX: RMS) bellevuegold.com.au


Bellevue Gold could almost be forgiven if it greeted 2024 with its feet up on the desk, a glass of champagne in one hand and a cigar in the other. If there were celebrations, they would have been to acknowledge it completed construction of the Bellevue Gold plant schedule and on budget (a phrase to be repeated throughout this article). In 2023 Bellevue reached practical completion of the 1 million tonnes per annum CIL processing facility entering the plant into the commissioning phase. During the commissioning period that covered the December 2023 quarter, throughput was progressively ramped up to the nameplate processing rate and underground stoping increased the proportion of higher-grade ore feed to the plant. First gold poured from the Bellevue processing facility was received on 25 October 2023 in the shape of a gold bar weighing 8.3 kilograms. Bellevue declared the start of production and cash flow from the mine was achieved on time and on budget (told you). It would seem things are up and running with a stockpile comprising approximately 115,000 tonnes of underground ore ready for processing as part of the commissioning phase. An additional 85,000 tonnes of open pit material is available for processing that is currently not in the early-stage processing plan. Progressive opening of the four independent mining areas was completed with multiple development headings operational at Armand, Bellevue South, Deacon and the Marceline mining areas. “To build this project on time and budget has been a major achievement, particularly given the skills shortage and inflationary environment we have endured,” managing director Darren Stralow said. “With production and cash flow now underway, our focus moves to ramping up mining and processing towards nameplate rates, driving increases in cash flow.”

Ramelius Resources has been listed on the ASX since 2003 and producing gold since 2006, but there is more to the company story than that. Ramelius owns and operates the Mt Magnet, Edna May, Marda, Symes and Penny gold mines, all of which are in WA and all of which contribute to the company’s ongoing success. The company’s September 2023 Quarterly highlighted group gold production of 55,523 ounces at an AISC of $1,975 per ounce, with gold production exceeding internal Budgets for the Quarter, something other companies struggled to achieve, mainly due to outside influences. These troubles seemed to be deflected by Ramelius’ business model that has it “well on track to achieve full year guidance with strong cash generation projected for the full year, given the current Quarter outperformed internal expectations”. Gold sales for the September 2023 Quarter were 55,614 ounces at an average price of $2,752 per ounce for gold sales revenue of $153.1 million. As of 30 September 2023, the company had $238.4 million of cash and $20.8 million of gold bullion on hand for a net cash and gold position at the end of the Quarter of $259.2 million. In July 2023, Ramelius added to its portfolio via the take-over of Musgrave Minerals ingesting its 100 per cent-ownership of the Cue gold project just 35km south of Mt Magnet. The Musgrave take over delivered a Mineral Resource Estimate of 12.3 million tonnes at 2.3 grams per tonne gold for 927,000 ounces gold from the Cue project, provides potential feed for Ramelius’ Mt Magnet processing facility. Ramelius is keen to continue the work done by Musgrave to expand and develop the Cue project to maximise the value of the project.


ACDC Metals

Greenstone Resources


(ASX: GSR) acdcmetals.com.au


ACDC Metals will be looking forward to getting back on the ground at the company’s Goschen Central project in western Victoria this year. The company has a raft of work programs set to be put in train following the release of a maiden JORC compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the project of 122 million tonnes at 3.4 per cent total heavy mineral (THM) and 1013ppm total rare earth oxide (TREO) at a 2% THM cut off. “The estimate shows a significant and large deposit with a high value mineral assemblage; in particular the zircon, monazite and TREO grades,” CEO Tom Davidson said. “The Goschen Central project has potential to support a multidecade operation and be a significant project for the domestic supply of critical minerals.” ACDC will be supporting the Resource by undertaking further work programs aimed at resource growth and value creation. This will include additional drilling at the Goschen Central project in 2024 to provide further geological data in the +1% grade domain and increase resource confidence. The MRE was based on a heavy mineral sand fraction between 38µm and 1mm size. ACDC is aware that technology development to enable recovery of finer heavy minerals is well advanced and has been well tested on other Murray Basin mineral sand projects. Tothat end the company will be conducting further mineralogy and sizing analysis that will enable the 20 – 38µm finer fraction to be included in the resource estimate, in line with peer projects. A Scoping Study has commenced that will be undertaken in conjunction with further metallurgical testwork to support the next stage of development, which is also expected to provide valuable product quality information for marketing.

It will be interesting to see what Greenstone Resources has in store for 2024 with the company leaving a 2023 teaser for marketeers concerning its Coolgardie Mining Centre in Western Australia. The Coolgardie Mining Centre has total Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of 6.8 million tonnes at 2.4 grams per tonne gold for 520,134 ounces of contained gold (Indicated and Inferred). Late 2023, Greenstone announced it had a strategic technical review underway to assess near-term mining opportunities at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Burbanks and Phillips Find gold projects near Coolgardie. Initial open pit optimisation work at Burbanks determined that even without making material changes to the proposed operations a path to commercial production may be achieved and there may be opportunity for a larger open pit operating scenario in the future, subject to further permitting. Phillips Find hosts a Resource of 732,960 tonnes at 2.3g/t for 54,567 ounces located either adjacent to, or below historical open pits of Baccus Gift, Newhaven and Newminster. All these resources are within 140m from surface and are on an existing mining licence, making it amenable to open-pit practices. “While the focus for the company remains the continued growth of the resource base to support a long life and sustainable operation, the company also believes that it is prudent to assess small-scale near-term production opportunities which may provide a near-term and non-dilutive source of funding to allow the company to fund future exploration and resource growth activities,” managing director and CEO Chris Hansen said. “The recent open-pit optimisation work at Burbanks highlights the potential for a high-grade starter pit within the existing permitted footprint, with early discussions already underway with potential mining and processing partners.”


Si6 Metals

Turaco Gold

(ASX: SI6)

(ASX: TCG) si6metals.com


Si6 Metals welcomed a Feliz Ano Novo after gaining shareholder approval and agreement of final terms of the formal Acquisition and JV agreements to complete acquisition of a 50 per cent interest in a portfolio of exploration licences in Brazil. Si6 is acquiring the portfolio from Foxfire Metals a diversified exploration company that has made a name for itself by focussing on the discovery and development of critical minerals in underexplored regions of Brazil. The portfolio comprises four projects made up of 10 exploration licenses covering approx. 17,000 hectares in Brazil. The projects include: » Three highly prospective rare earth elements (REE) licenses, two of which sit amongst Meteoric Resources’ and Viridis Mining and Minerals’ REE projects at the Poços de Caldas Alkaline Complex in south Minas Gerais; and » Three lithium licenses in the ‘Lithium Valley’, north Minas Gerais, known to host lithium spodumene resources discovered by Latin Resources, SIGMA Lithium Corporation and licenses recently acquired by Rio Tinto. Si6 has already indicated an exploration program is planned to commence in 2024 with an initial focus on the Caldera project in south Minas Gerais. “Our first program at the Caldera project will commence with field reconnaissance, mapping and soil sampling to determine follow-up targets for future auger drilling,” managing director Jim Malone said. “We look forward to updating the market as our exploration programs in Brazil commence. “The Lithium Valley project is also of equal interest to us as it is located amongst Tier 1 discoveries by Latin Resources and Sigma Lithium to name a few, close to S-Type G4 Supersuite granites that are typically known to host lithium in spodumene-bearing pegmatites.”

Turaco Gold reaffirmed its enthusiasm for Cote d’Ivoire via the acquisition of an initial 51 per cent interest in the Afema gold project from TSX-listed Endeavour Mining. The Afema project is in southeast Cote d’Ivoire on the Ghanian border, 120kms east of Abidjan on a granted mining permit supported by a Mining Convention between permit owner, Afema Gold SA, and the State of Cote d’Ivoire. The Mining Permit covers an area of 227 square kilometres and has been subject to past exploration and drilling. The Mining Permit was granted in December 2013 and is valid until December 2033, with a 20-year renewal option thereafter. Turaco has lodged four exploration permit applications over a further 1,040sqkm of contiguous exploration ground, providing a total project area of 1,267sqkm. “We believe Afema has the potential to be ‘company making’ for Turaco and can quickly evolve into one of Cote d’Ivoire’s major multimillion ounce gold projects,” managing director Justin Tremain said. Previous drilling at the project has primarily focused on the Afema Shear, outlining gold mineralisation that will form the basis of a short term JORC resource estimation. “The exploration potential from both extensions to this known mineralisation and elsewhere in the project area is incredibly exciting,” Tremain said. Soon after announcing the acquisition, Turaco received commitments to raise $6.6 million through an equity placement that was strongly supported by existing institutional and sophisticated investors. The funds placed Turaco in a strong financial position to fund drilling and exploration at the Afema gold project as well as being able to settle the US$1.5 million payment to Endeavour Mining for the acquisition of the initial 51 per cent interest in the project.


TG Metals

Hammer Metals

(ASX: TG6)

(ASX: HMX) tgmetals.com.au


TG Metals’ plans should be of no surprise to marketeers with the company set to follow up its 2023 drilling campaign at the Burmeister lithium discovery at the company’s Lake Johnston lithium-nickel-gold project in Western Australia. The company’s first announcement for the year reported further drilling success from Burmeister with the intersection of spodumene bearing pegmatites with high lithium oxide (Li2O) grades continuing. TG Metals strongly considers Burmeister to be a lithium discovery of note where it aims to further prove up the spodumene pegmatites with successive drilling programs. The high-grade lithium pegmatites discovered to date are under cover, which TG Metals views as a positive in that it opens some 50km of strike length over the Lake Johnston greenstone belt for similar prospectivity. An initial analysis of the mineralogy has revealed spodumene to be the dominant lithium mineral in the Burmeister pegmatites and the dominant mineral in the pegmatite itself. Lithium intercepts drilled so far have been healthy to say the least, including: » 9 metres at 1.35 per cent Li2O from 30m, including 1m at 2.03 per cent Li2O from 32m and 1m at 2.21 per cent Li2O from 37m; and » 9m at 1.62 per cent Li2O from 87m, including 1m at 2.28 per cent Li2O from 87m. The 2024 drill program is currently underway with a diamond rig drilling core tail extensions to select drillholes testing for lithium pegmatites beneath those previously intercepted in RC drillholes. Further RC drilling has been designed to intercept lithium pegmatites up dip from deeper intercepts and along strike, testing for continuity. “It is still early days with only 22 holes drilled into such a large mineralised system and each round of drilling results improves our understanding,” CEO David Selfe said.

We’re expecting a strong flow of news from Hammer Metals in 2024, with that expectation based on the amount of drilling the company was carrying out near the close of 2023 on its Mt Isa project in Queensland. Hammer Metals holds approx. 3,000 square kilometres within the Mount Isa mining district. The number of prospects across the project area continues to grow and it would seem Hammer is keen to get an RC drill rig onto as many as possible. Drilling at the Hardway prospect delivered further broad, shallow intercepts of copper and rare earth element (REE) mineralisation, further elevating the potential of this discovery. Results from initial drilling at the Tourist Zone and Bulonga prospects encouraged Hammer to commence planning for further drilling on these targets. Drilling also lifted the veil on an EM conductor at Kalman North by intersecting a graphitic unit with the final four metres of drilling at the prospect encountering an encouraging zone of gold mineralisation. Although the Bulonga prospect had not been drilled previously, Hammer conducted initial drill testing, from which results confirmed previous rock chip results, indicating mineralisation at Bulonga has a favourable gold-to-copper ratio. Planning is underway to further test the prospect in 2024. High-grade assay results from RC drilling at the Hope South and nearby Mt Mascotte prospects rounded out the year. “These outstanding results cap a highly successful drilling program and offer some great opportunities for further follow-up in early 2024,” managing director Daniel Thomas said. “As the copper inventories of the region grow, these prospects offer good grades of mineralisation close to surface and will provide opportunities for future development of the deposits in the region.”


Cygnus Metals

Dynamic Metals

(ASX: CY5)

(ASX: DYM) cygnusmetals.com


Cygnus Metals started 2024 where it finished 2023 by releasing further high-grade assays from air-core drilling carried out at the company’s Bencubbin rare earths project in Western Australia. In late 2023, the company completed an additional 40 air-core drill holes in the north-east part of the Bencubbin project to expand drill coverage and test the scale of REE enrichment along the entire 22km strike length of a major granitic body. Assay results from this drilling indicated a thick clay profile mineralised in areas from close to surface extending along the granite margin over widths of up to 2.8km within the body, including: » 25 metres at 2,745ppm total rare earth oxide (TREO) from 52m, including 8m at 5,617ppm TREO; » 51m at 1,108ppm TREO from 39m, including 14m at 2,032ppm TREO; and » 41m at 1,219ppm TREO from 47m. Samples from the drilling were sent for an initial metallurgy program to be conducted through industry leader ANSTO Minerals, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. “These results highlight the size potential of this promising rare earths discovery at Bencubbin,” managing director David Southam said. “Now that initial drilling has confirmed both the high-grade nature and substantial scale potential of the mineralisation, we have commenced metallurgical tests with the best in the business; the first program of its kind to be undertaken in this part of Western Australia.” Cygnus explained the Bencubbin rare earths exploration is being conducted in parallel with its extensive lithium exploration program in James Bay, Canada. “While our clear focus remains on lithium in James Bay, Quebec, we are going to complete the required work to unlock the full value of what Bencubbin could mean for our shareholders,” Southam said.

Dynamic Metals burst onto the boards of the ASX in January 2023 and has demonstrated no sign of slowing up ever since. The company’s stated ethos is to be a “dedicated exploration company focused on advancing a highly prospective portfolio of future facing critical minerals projects in Australia”. On the back of its $7 million IPO, Dynamic Metals kicked off an aggressive exploration program across its portfolio. The company’s initial focus has been on its flagship project, Widgiemooltha, in the Goldfields Region of Western Australia that covers an extensive area of some 880 square kilometres extending between Norseman and Kambalda. The region is well known for its numerous nickel and gold mines, but more recently has become a more modern, gentrified neighbourhood. Becoming known for its lithium mineralisation and prospectivity. First pass soil sampling completed at Spargos East, part of the larger Widgiemooltha project, in 2023 returned assays up to 409ppm lithium oxide (Li2O) in soils, supported by rubidium, tantalum, and caesium results. The company interpreted the results to reveal a robust and consistent lithium trend (>60ppm Li), which it flagged will be followed up with further infill soils and drilling in early 2024. The Spargos East prospect results came on the back of some 1900 soil samples Dynamic had taken as part of reconnaissance exploration program on another granted tenement E15/17211 at Pioneer Dome, which has emerged as highly prospective for lithium-caesium-tantalum pegmatites. Dynamic completed a first pass program that tested 12km of strike along the western side of Pioneer Dome adjacent to Essential Metals’ Dome North lithium project that identified an elevated lithium trend (>40ppm) defined to be extending over 2.8km through the centre of the sampling area.


Novo Resources

Bellavista Resources


(ASX: BVR) novoresources.com


Novo Resources signed up for a place on team-SQM with the latter agreeing to pay the former $10 million for a 75 per cent interest in five of Novo’s prospective lithium-nickel tenements in the West Pilbara, near Roebourne, Western Australia. The deal will result in the formation of the Harding Battery Metals Joint Venture, and for an option over additional Novo Pilbara tenements. It shouldn’t be of any great surprise that the Harding Battery Metals JV tenements are adjacent to or in the vicinity of Azure Minerals’ Andover lithium–nickel project that also attracted SQM to put its boots on that ground. Under the terms of the JV: » SQM will be manager; » Novo retains 100 per cent of gold, silver, PGE, copper, lead and zinc mineral rights; and » Novo free carried until a decision to mine. “To be participating in a JV with a global lithium leader like SQM is an excellent outcome for Novo and will see us receive an immediate payment of $10 million that will further boost cash reserves for our primary gold exploration focus,” executive co-chairman and acting CEO Mike Spreadborough said. “Meanwhile, SQM can focus on the battery metals prospectivity of the West Pilbara area and our shareholders can benefit from future exploration success with a free-carried interest until a decision to mine. “SQM has been very active in the Western Australian lithium sector with an approx. 19 per cent shareholding in Azure Minerals, and a 50 per cent JV with Wesfarmers in Mt. Holland, that among other investments demonstrates that SQM clearly sees the potential of Western Australia for battery metals, as do we for gold.”

Bellavista Resources’ Edmund Basin projects in the Upper-Gascoyne Region of Western Australia, include the Brumby deposit. Bellavista’s initial view of Brumby revealed primary zinc, copper, silver and gold mineralisation occurring over a 30-50m wide zone in the Lower Shale Member of the basin. Previous drilling had demonstrated mineralisation to be present over a large area. Two scout RC drill holes recently drilled by the company targeting a blind 300m x 250m sub-vertical EM plate intersected semi-massive sulphides (pyrite dominant) along the contact of what had been an un-mapped mafic intrusive. Rock chips subjected to pXRF blasting returning strong copper, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, antimony, zinc, and vanadium hits. Laboratory results are expected in the first quarter of 2024. Bellavista took the identification of the presence of unmapped mafic intrusives interacting with the mineralised horizon for the first time as very encouraging to continue with further exploration of the +4km N-S mafic trend. The company also see the leading-edge position of the top of the FLEM conductor and the main mineralised horizon as an obvious target for a future drilling program. Bellavista will maintain exploration field mapping and sampling as it continues to highlight the strong potential for rich areas mineralisation. “The presence of unmapped mafic intrusives in and around the Brumby deposit adds another dimension to the prospectivity of our Edmund Basin project,” executive director Mick Wilson said. “In less than two years, Bellavista’s technical team has unlocked our understanding of the truly massive Brumby system. “These recent developments suggest we should continue to target major structures and interactions between intrusives and the mineralised sediments, given the compelling surface indications for stronger mineralisation in this most recent work.”.


Infinity Lithium

Leeuwin Metals


(ASX: LM1) infinitylithium.com


Infinity Lithium is focussing on a green future as it develops the company’s 75 per cent-owned San José lithium project in the Extremadura region of Spain. The company aspires to use what it claims as being the European Union’s second largest JORC-compliant hard rock lithium Resource as feedstock for a lithium chemicals conversion plant with the aim of supplying a sustainable source of battery grade lithium chemicals to the European lithium-ion battery supply chain. A Scoping Study completed in 2023 assessed the potential for production of battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) from the proposed integrated lithium chemical conversion facility using the lithium bearing hard rock as feedstock from an underground mineral extraction operation at San José. The results from the Study highlighted a strong economic and strategic rationale for an integrated underground mine and lithium chemical conversion facility at San José. Infinity Lithium believes it has the potential to become a leading producer of lithium hydroxide in Europe through development of this integrated operation. “The significant advancements in our R&D programs have demonstrated material upside potential for San José and present an opportunity for other non-traditional sources of lithium bearing materials to utilise our intellectual property to maximise lithium recoveries whilst providing significant social and environmental upside,” CEO and managing director Ryan Parkin said. “We are pleased to align the project to the strategic objectives of the European Union whilst ensuring the highest calibre outcomes for the local community. “The advancement of San José is a generational opportunity for the region of Extremadura, and we are excited to progress the next stages of the project following the outcomes detailed in the Updated Scoping Study.”

Leeuwin Metals has five nickel, copper, PGE, and lithium projects, three located in Canada and two Western Australia. The company names its William Lake nickel project as its flagship asset where high-grade nickel, copper and PGE mineralisation is being targeted. The project is in the Thompson Nickel Belt, which is highly fertile with several existing nickel mines in production. Most recent news, however, has emerged from the company’s 100 per cent-owned Cross Lake lithium project in Manitoba, Canada. Manitoba provides access to important infrastructure for the project in the form of nearby hydro power availability and being only 100km from a rail line, each of which Leeuwin Metals considers advantageous to any discovery. Recent field work at Cross Lake validated a 4.7 kilometres lithium– caesium–tantalum (LCT) mineralised trend. The activities entailed channel sampling and rock chip sampling that identified multiple spodumene-bearing pegmatites, revealing high-grade lithium values up to 4.31 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) associated with coarse grained spodumene mineralisation. The fieldwork was primarily focused on the eastern target area, where assaying of historical drilling by the company identified a 700m strike by 300m across pegmatite swarm with high-grade and widths. The company believes the combination of historical and new data opens the potential for a large-scale discovery at Cross Lake. “As Leeuwin’s planned 2024 drilling and field exploration activities expand the footprint of outcropping pegmatites, we anticipate several catalysts in the coming months that will allow us to advance the project,” managing director Christopher Piggott said. Leeuwin Metals revealed it is aiming to complete a maiden drill program at the project in 2024, for which a drill permit has been submitted to the Manitoba Department of Economic Development, Investment and Trade.


Eagle Mountain Mining

Rox Resources (ASX: RXL)

(ASX: EM2)



Eagle Mountain Mining will be looking forward to a positive 202 for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Oracle Ridge copper project in Arizona, USA. Leading to the close of play for 2023, Eagle Mountain released an updated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 28.2 million tonnes at 1.35 per cent copper, 11.06 grams per tonne silver and 0.16g/t gold using a 0.8 per cent copper cut-off grade for 380,000 tonnes of contained copper. The update produced a 27 per cent increase in contained copper compared to the previous MRE with a 20 per cent increase in tonnes and six per cent increase in copper grade. Measured and Indicated Resources account for over half of the new MRE and better grades exist in these higher confidence categories. Eagle Mountain intends using the expanded Mineral Resource to underpin technical studies including metallurgical, processing and mining evaluations. “The new Mineral Resource Estimate reflects a 27 per cent increase in contained copper on a like-for-like basis from the previous resource and is on track to surpass more than 400 thousand tonnes of contained copper,” CEO Tim Mason said. “This update is a key milestone on our path to become a significant producer of copper, with a strong focus on low emission production.” Leading to the updated MRE, Eagle Mountain updated its geological model incorporating drilling and channel sampling data acquired since the earlier October 2022 Resource update. The company considers this revised geological model better reflects the style of mineralisation observed from the new data especially from the underground mapping. “We see a greater opportunity for a much larger mining operation at Oracle Ridge than previously contemplated, leveraging off recent advancements in processing and mining technologies,” Mason said.

Rox Resources provided some New Year reasons for joy after receiving results from an ultrafine soils and mapping program undertaken at the company’s Youanmi gold project in Western Australia. The program, conducted late last year, identified a large-scale lithium-in-soil anomaly at the Youanmi gold project. Multi-element analysis carried out during the program confirmed a lithium anomaly that is strongly correlated with anomalous zones of the lithium pathfinder elements caesium (Cs) and tantalum (Ta). In other words – there’s lithium in them thar gold hills! The ultrafine soils and mapping program highlighted areas in the south of Rox’s 100 per cent-owned tenure to be prospective for lithium exploration. The company’s Exploration Licence E57/1123 is located along strike from the regional geological trend and directly south of the recent lithium-bearing pegmatite discovery by Venus Metals, of which Rox non-executive director Matthew Hogan is managing director. “The regional exploration program has shown that the under-explored Youanmi shear zone has the potential to host new discoveries that are not limited to just gold,” Rox Resources Managing Director Robert Ryan commented: “Early indications suggest that the mapped pegmatites are fractionated, fertile LCT pegmatites. “The anomalous lithium soil and rock chip samples sit on a now defined trend immediately to the south of Venus Metals’ recent lithium pegmatite discovery, which returned several rock chip samples of over four per cent lithium oxide.” As exciting as any potential lithium discovery may be, Rox Resources declared its primary focus remains on progressing the Youanmi gold project. At time of writing, an updated Mineral Resource Estimate was on target to be released in Quarter 1 2024 that is earmarked as the basis for a Pre-Feasibility Study, which is anticipated to be completed in June 2024.


Black Cat Syndicate

Matsa Resources

(ASX: BC8)

(ASX: MAT) bc8.com.au


We hope Santa delivered Black Cat Syndicate new hiking boots to walk, what is now, the substantial tenure of the company’s Paulsens project in Western Australia. Black Cat acquired a 100 per cent interest in five tenements in the Ashburton Basin covering approx. 700 square kilometres located between and surrounding the company’s Mt Clement and Paulsens projects. The deal provides a 74 per cent increase in tenure expanding the overall Paulsens project to around 1,650sqkm. The tenements host widespread copper-gold surface mineralisation and have only seen limited drilling. Black Cat sees the acquisition as strategic give the tenements are located between its Paulsens gold operation, Mt Clement gold-silver-antimony deposit and the historical Big Sarah gold mine. Although gold has been a focus of the company, it has maintained a view that base metals have been largely overlooked in this region. As such, it considers this acquisition will add to its base metal portfolio, confident the presence of outcropping high-grade copper within 10km of the Mt Clement Resource will provide multiple opportunities. Black Cat sees new undrilled gold in soil anomalies within 15km of the Paulsens processing plant to represent an attractive opportunity. “Black Cat’s vision is to be the dominant player in three prolific gold districts and this acquisition marks another significant step in achieving that goal,” managing director Gareth Solly said. “Combined with our updated Restart Study for Paulsens, we are well-positioned to become the dominant player in the district and look forward to having the only operating gold processing facility within 400km once Paulsens is operational.” Surface drilling around Paulsens continued throughout November and December 2023 along with surface mapping and sampling within the Paulsens region.

Matsa Resources had the passport stamped to open 2024 to have two applications for Special Prospecting Licences (SPL) approved by Thailand’s Department of Primary Industry and Mines (DPIM). Matsa Resources received the approvals for the SPLs at two newly granted Ratchaburi tenements in western Thailand (SPL 11-2023 and SPL 12-2023). The gubernatorial nod will enable Matsa to advance exploration activities where it discovered the Spotted Panther lithium pegmatite prospect and sample testwork has returned a 2.06 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) concentrate with metallurgical recoveries of 86 per cent. The tenements are the first of six SPLs and three EPLs (Exclusive Prospecting Licences) Matsa has submitted for grant across three different provinces. Work already undertaken by Matsa has resulted in multiple discoveries of lithium bearing pegmatites (lepidolite and polylithionite lithium micas) at Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi and Phang Nga, which it is progressing through the grant process. “With these tenements now granted, Matsa will be the second international entity to advance lithium exploration in Thailand,” executive chairman Paul Poli said. “With these first grants now complete, we are confident the remaining applications will progress to grant.” Matsa’s enthusiasm for the development of lithium projects in Thailand are shared by the country’s government. The Thailand Ministry of Industry declared its intent to prioritise lithium exploration and mining to support a booming Thailand EV manufacturing industry, which Matsa believes will have a positive impact on its lithium exploration ambitions. “There have been significant developments in Thailand’s minerals industry, where the government is reducing red tape to fast track exploration and mining of lithium resources,” Poli said. “We are very excited to see the Thai government’s motivated approach to exploration and mining of lithium in Thailand.”


Basin Energy

Rumble Resources


(ASX: RTR) basinenergy.com.au


Basin Energy had a chilly start to 2024 launching winter exploration activities on its Athabasca uranium projects in the southeast corner and margins of the Athabasca Basin in Canada. At the North Millennium and Marshall projects in the southeastern portion of the Athabasca Basin, Basin Energy commenced a groundbased high-resolution Stepwise Moving Loop Time-Domain EM survey consisting of around 100-line kilometres. The survey is the final step at North Millennium and Marshall to progress the projects to a drill ready status. At North Millennium, Basin is exploring along an interpreted extension of the ‘Mother Fault’ that hosts Cameco’s Millennium deposit. Although being close to and possessing similarities to known uranium deposits, there has been minimal mineral exploration at the project with no known historical exploration drill holes. At the Marshall Project, Basin is exploring a series of large-scale geophysical features where modelling of historic geophysical data in 2022 defined a series of anomalies both below and above the Athabasca unconformity contact. Drilling is scheduled to commence in early February at the Geikie uranium project following up Basin’s 2023 maiden drill program that identified large complex fault systems associated with locally extensive hydrothermal alteration patterns. Assay results returned anomalous uranium intersected in four of the eight holes drilled and pathfinder element anomalism for uranium mineralisation, specifically lead isotopes, in five of the eight holes drilled. “Basin is taking an aggressive approach to its winter exploration program with teams back on the ground following the holiday season,” managing director Peter Moorhouse said. “2024 is setting up to be a big year for the company as the uranium market continues to heat up. “We have no shortage of targets in the world’s premier uranium district which we will be systematically testing.”

Rumble Resources completed a diamond drilling campaign in January designed to supply metallurgical samples from the company’s Earaheedy zinc-lead-silver project northeast of Wiluna in Western Australia. Rumble announced a major discovery at Earaheedy in April 2021, which it followed up in 2023 with a pit constrained, maiden inferred Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 94 million tonnes at 3.1 per cent zinc+lead (Zn+Pb) and 4.1 grams per tonne silver. The diamond drilling campaign completed in January focused on Chinook, the largest of the pit constrained inferred sulphide resource areas, where a MRE of 63 million tonnes at 3 per cent Zn+Pb and 4.6g/t silver was outlined last year within optimised pit shells. A total of 10 PQ3 diamond holes were completed yielding an estimated 2300kg of representative metallurgical core sample earmarked for pilot beneficiation trials, including dense media separation (DMS) and sensor ore sorting to assess the potential to upgrade the volumes of lower grade Zn+Pb mineralisation highlighted within the pit constrained MRE. The 10 diamond holes were geologically and geotechnically logged and photographed. A geologically domained quarter core sample was sent to ALS for laboratory analysis. The remaining three quarters of mineralised core was delivered to the Auralia Metallurgy laboratory in Perth, ready to commence beneficiation testing and further flowsheet optimisation. The program is due to commence in the March quarter with results to be reported in the first half of 2024. Rumble’s confidence in the project has led to acquisition of four granted exploration licences that lie north and northwest of the existing tenure. The addition of these tenements is expected to increase the company’s Earaheedy project landholding tenure to over 1760 square kilometres.


Lunnon Metals

Caspin Resources

(ASX: LM8)

(ASX: CPN) lunnonmetals.com.au


Lunnon Metals is into history in a big way that is breathing new life into the company’s Kambalda nickel project (KNP) in Western Australia. Lunnon Metals’ recent stroll through the project archives resulted in a first-time, initial nickel JORC 2012-compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) at the historical Fisher mine, within the KNP. The company generated this new Fisher MRE via its signature Historical Core Program (HCP) that was applied to mineralised shoots and surfaces in an area at Fisher termed ‘F Zone’. F Zone was previously mined and would be readily accessible from the historical decline upon any potential mine re-start in the future. The first-time MRE for F Zone stands at 252,000 tonnes at 1.9 per cent nickel for 4,700 contained nickel tonnes, comprising: 56,000 tonnes at 2.7 per cent nickel for 1,500 nickel tonnes in Indicated Resource; and 196,000 tonnes at 1.6 per cent nickel for 3,200 nickel tonnes in Inferred Resource. This new MRE means Lunnon Metals has now discovered 2.8 million tonnes at 2.5 per cent nickel containing 70,100 tonnes of nickel metal since its June 2021 listing on the ASX. The global MRE across the KNP now stands at: 4.06 million tonnes at 2.7 per cent nickel for 109,100 contained nickel tonnes. Lunnon has just begun this journey with some 260km of historical diamond core up its sleeve to re-access, resample and assay at its Silver Lake-Fisher mines. “This initial Mineral Resource provides a focus and starting point for that discovery effort with our own surface drilling program,” managing director Edmund Ainscough said. “Fisher presents the same excellent opportunity for continued growth that the Kambalda nickel mines are famous for.”

Caspin Resources spent a great deal of 2023 conducting exploration activities at the company’s Yarawindah Brook and Mount Squires projects in Western Australia. Caspin Resources is keen on progressing opportunities across both projects and has progressed Mount Squires to the point it has become a priority for the company, due mainly to the prospectivity of the region for large scale deposits of nickel and copper and Caspin’s operational advantage and experience in the region. Although the development of the company’s former Nebo-Babel deposits by BHP, only 10km from its current project boundary, provides confidence that new discoveries of nickel and copper can be developed in the region, Caspin believes its recent discovery of rare earth mineralisation has provided an additional pathway to value creation in parallel with its nickel and copper exploration activities. This belief in Mount Squires was reinforced with Caspin hitting its highest-grade REE mineralisation intersection to date at the Duchess prospect of 2m at 2.03 per cent total rare earth oxide (TREO) within 17m at 0.41 per cent TREO with a consistent high proportion of heavy REE, averaging over 30 per cent of TREO. At Yarawindah Brook, Caspin hopes to maintain strategic value via discovery of high-grade PGE-nickel-copper deposits, however, it is struggling to ignore the potential for lithium bearing pegmatites in Greenbushes type geological settings. “Our geological team has recognised Yarawindah Brook to have the right source rocks and the right structural setting for the emplacement of LCT pegmatites,” managing director Greg Miles said. “We’re in a fortunate position that our systematic soil geochemistry gives us a head start on assessing the lithium prospectivity of the project and in fact shows signs of lithium pathfinder elements such as tin and tantalum.”


Carnaby Resources

Talga Group


(ASX: TLG) carnabyresources.com.au


Carnaby Resources has a lot to look forward to in 2024 if the close of play for 2023 is anything to go by. Carnaby has a Scoping Study underway for the company’s Greater Duchess copper gold project in Mt Isa, Queensland, which is slated for completion in early 2024. The study has been tasked with evaluation of all potential future scenarios for mine development and process route options, including comparing a standalone development to utilising third party processing facilities in the region as a low Capex start up option. There are several third-party processing facilities within the region that could be considered economically viable for the Greater Duchess project, and the Carnaby is wisely assessing each of these, although the company is covering all bases with the Scoping Study also considering a standalone option to build a processing facility on site. The project received further good news with new exploration results returned form of drilling at the Mount Hope Central prospect that included 38 metres at 3 per cent copper, 0.3 grams per tonne gold, including 26m at 4 per cent copper, 0.4g/t gold. “The Mount Hope Central deposit continues to show all the hallmarks of a major iron oxide copper gold discovery that is getting bigger and better with every hole drilled,” managing director Rob Watkins said. “The exceptional result of 38 metres at 3 per cent copper, 0.3g/t gold, including 26m at 4 per cent copper, 0.4g/t gold on the Boomerang Lode highlights the high-grade quality and continuity of the mineralisation.” Carnaby’s drillbit fixation continues with a maiden drilling program underway at the Rio Tinto Devoncourt JV, where large scale intrusion hosted IOCG mineralisation is being targeted at Wimberu.

Talga Group is gearing up to extract 120,000 tonnes of high-grade natural graphite per annum from the company’s Nunasvaara South mine near Vittangi in northern Sweden. Talga Group is building a European battery materials supply chain to offer products critical to a green transition. Talga’s innovative technology and vertical integration of 100 per cent-owned Swedish graphite resources provides security of supply. Talga’s Nunasvaara South graphite mining operation has emerged as an important resource for both Europe’s and Sweden’s green transition, due mainly to its high-grade and unique geological characteristics that make the deposit’s natural graphite an ideal fit to produce anode material for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. In September 2023, Talga commenced early works and construction of its 19,500 tonne per annum graphite anode refinery in Luleå, Sweden. The refinery is projected to be the first commercial anode production in Europe for electric vehicle Li-ion batteries. Talga’s Luleå anode refinery will be the first of its kind in Europe, manufacturing sustainable anode material for greener lithium-ion batteries using Talga’s high-grade natural graphite. Employing renewable electricity, high-grade graphite ore and proprietary technology, the plant can produce highly credentialed green anode material for EV lithium-ion batteries. Luleå is close to Talga’s natural graphite resources and has access to low-cost renewable electricity, road-rail-ship transport hub, advanced local economy, and skilled workforce. “[By breaking ground] at our Swedish anode refinery, we mark a major milestone in Talga’s journey to build Europe’s first domestic supply of sustainable graphite anode for EV batteries,” managing director Mark Thompson said. “I am immensely proud of the global Talga team and our joint achievements as we progress towards becoming a leading producer of Li-ion battery materials with high ESG standards.”








IGO is an ASX 100 listed company focused on discovering, developing, and delivering products critical to clean energy. IGO owns and operates the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation, the Forrestania nickel operation and the Cosmos nickel operation - all in Western Australia. IGO is also invested in a lithium focused joint venture with partner, Tianqi Lithium Corporation, which comprises a 51 per cent stake in the Greenbushes lithium mine and 100 per cent interest in a downstream processing refinery at Kwinana producing battery grade lithium hydroxide. In FY23, Nova achieved total production of 22,915 tonnes of nickel, 10,266 tonnes of copper, and 803 tonnes of cobalt. That’s enough to make most companies happy, but not one to rest on its laurels, IGO sees an important part to its future being its Nova growth strategy. This strategy sees IGO seeking opportunities to extend mine life through exploration and the development of resources near the Nova infrastructure. IGO acquired the Forrestania Operation in 2022 as part of its acquisition of Western Areas. The acquisition came with the Spotted Quoll underground mine, which has operated for over 10 years, delivering high-grade ore feed to the Cosmic Boy concentrator. In FY23, Forrestania achieved total production of 11,931 tonnes of nickel. The Cosmos project was also part of the Western Areas acquisition where IGO is currently developing the Odysseus underground mine. Once in production, Odysseus will deliver high quality nickel concentrates into the global nickel market to meet anticipated demand for nickel rich lithium-ion batteries. In 2021, Tianqi Lithium Corporation (51%) and IGO Limited (49%) struck the Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (TLEA) Joint Venture. TLEA is focused on developing and operating the world class lithium assets mentioned above.

Belararox posted a New Year update to bring marketeers up to speed on field activities underway at the company’s Toro-Malambo-Tambo (TMT) project in Argentina. The TMT project is situated within Argentina’s San Juan Province and occupies an unexplored area between the mineralised El Indo and Maricunga Metallogenic Belts. Belararox has identified numerous promising targets within the TMT project it has pencilled in to undergo thorough exploration as part of an extensive program led by an experienced Belararox team that is currently present on-site in Argentina. Recent field work At the TMT project resulted in splitting of the Toro target into three separate targets, Toro North, Central, and Toro South stretching the total target number to twelve Fieldwork and exploration activities concentrated on these three main targets involving geochemical sampling of rock-outcrop and colluvium to assist in the delineation of metal-zoning in three-dimensions and the targeting of potential centres of copper-gold mineralisation therein. The Toro North target has been shown to host B-type quartz veins with minor chalcopyrite, hydrothermal alteration mineral zoning and increased fracture abundance consistent with that associated with global porphyry systems. Toro South contains copper-oxide minerals and geology consistent with the intermediate to upper levels of a porphyry system. Mapping in both target areas has identified discrete zones of high interest for follow-up exploration. “The exploration results to date in our initial season have delivered outstanding results and indicates that the entire project area is conducive to potential large scale porphyry systems,” managing director Arvind Misra said. “Geochemical sampling results of outcrop and colluvium are due soon at the Toro North, Toro Central, and Toro South targets which we anticipate will identify drill target areas.”


Accelerate Resources

Kin Mining

(ASX: AX8)

(ASX: KIN) ax8.com.au


Accelerate Resources should be delivering news this year from the company’s Woodie Woodie North Manganese Project in Western Australia’s Pilbara Region Woodie Woodie North manganese project in Western Australia’s Pilbara Region. The company ended 2023 on a high having declared a maiden Inferred Mineral Resources Estimate (MRE) totalling 1.2 million tonnes at 19.1 per cent manganese (at 15% Mn cut-off) for the project. Encouraged by the MRE result, Accelerate began planning a Phase 5 RC drilling program for 2024 comprising extensional resource definition drilling to grow the MRE inventory and follow-up on the recent discovery of large manganese outcrops in the Parsons Creek and Gum Creek corridors. The Parsons Creek Corridor hosts manganese outcrops spanning an area of approximately 5km x 2.5km demonstrating size and mineralisation characteristics consistent with a potentially large mineralised system. Other drilling was touted for Areas 40, 41 and 46, where manganese outcrops were identified. The Gum Creek Corridor contains several large areas of manganese outcrop that are yet to be drilled. The largest being Area 43 that the company views as a high-priority target for the Phase 5 RC drilling program. Metallurgical testwork was also being floated as possible future scoping to pre-feasibility level technical studies for a beneficiation plant, comprising sighter metallurgical testwork to determine the response of mineralisation to extraction methods, which will provide a basis for further detailed metallurgical testing. “The maiden Mineral Resources represent a significant step forward for the Woodie Woodie North project and our shareholders,” executive director - technical Steve Bodon said. “We are focused on growing the Mineral Resource inventory over the project area, and the company is well positioned to achieve this with the significant upside opportunity.”

In what may or may not have been a New Years’ resolution, noted gold exploration company Kin Mining added a new bow string with a volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) discovery. Kin Mining surprised the market by declaring the discovery of VMS mineralisation between the Helens and Rangoon gold deposits at its 100 per cent-owned Cardinia East project, in a belt with no previously known VMS deposits or prospects. Kin re-logged and assayed a previously drilled diamond hole, IP22DD001, from the Albus base metal prospect that had caught its attention when drilled in 2022. The new assessments confirmed that the hole had intersected a zone of sphalerite-dominated massive sulphides with subordinate chalcopyrite, pyrite and galena revealing a base metal intercept of: 5.7 metres at 5.3 per cent zinc, 0.34 per cent copper, 0.3 per cent lead, 40ppm silver, 1ppm gold from 270.3m down-hole, including 0.7m at 10 per cent zinc and 77ppm silver from 270.3m down-hole. This zone of strong base metal mineralisation was intercepted within cherty sediments along a contact of basalt and felsic volcaniclastics, a typical host setting for VMS mineralisation. Kin, however, did not seem totally surprised by the discovery explaining it came as part of a wider and ongoing strategic review of the broader potential of the Cardinia project the company is undertaking for new discoveries and other styles of mineralisation including base metals. “Although just an early indication from re-logging and laboratory assaying of a gold-focused hole drilled back in 2022, this discovery is very encouraging, as VMS deposits are usually found in clusters and it appears that we have intersected the edge of something very interesting and potentially game-changing for the company,” executive chairman Rowan Johnston said.


Astral Resources

Alicanto Minerals


(ASX: AQI) astralresources.com.au


The year ahead is augers well for Astral Resources mainly due to the achievements of the company at its 100 per cent-owned Mandilla gold project in Western Australia. The Mandilla gold project sits in the northern Widgiemooltha greenstone belt in the western part of the Kalgoorlie geological domain. In July 2023, Astral announced an updated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 37 million tonnes at 1.1 grams per tonne gold for 1.27 million ounces of contained gold for the Mandilla gold project. The company saw this as a solid demonstration of its ability to deliver cost-effective resource growth at the project, especially as it provided an increase in the higher confidence Indicated Mineral Resource category. From here the Astral team was able to complete the maiden Mandilla gold project Scoping Study, which outlined an 845,000 ounces production target, with 70 per cent of the potential gold production sourced from the Indicated category. Taking the MRE update and Scoping Study outcome onboard, Astral continued to demonstrate its belief in the growth potential of the Mandilla project by completing further in-fill and extensional drill programs the September and December Quarters. The in-fill and extensional diamond drilling at project’s cornerstone Theia prospect returned the faith returning broad zones of high-grade gold mineralisation, including high-grade gold intercepts of 1 metre at 199 grams per tonne gold and 0.3m at 211g/t gold. “These latest diamond drill results further reinforce the significant upside potential of the project as we continue to enhance our understanding of the complexities of the Mandilla gold deposits,” Managing Director Marc Ducler said “Diamond drilling at Mandilla has a strong history of delivering thick gold intercepts with many greater than 100 gram-metres of gold.”

Alicanto Minerals was careful when reporting on drilling undertaken at the high-priority Skyttgruvan-Naverberg target at the company’s Falun project in Sweden. The Skyttgruvan-Naverberg target is situated along a 3.5 kilometres mineralised limestone horizon that hosts the historical Falun mine. This target is located at the site of historical copper-zinc production from a small open pit (Naverberg) and underground mine (Skyttgruvan). Alicanto reported drilling at Skyttgruvan-Naverberg had intersected “visual” mineralisation meaning that assays were yet to be received, but the company had been excited by what it had seen. Making initial interpretations from these visual cues, Alicanto said the drilling could “suggest that the known footprint of the zinc-mineralised system at Skyttgruvan-Naverberg and proximal copper bearing footwall alteration…is significantly larger than previously thought”. “These results are important for two reasons: they extend the interpreted size of the Skyttgruvan-Naverberg system and they support Alicanto’s view of the strong potential for repeats of the rich Falun system along the 10 kilometres mineralised horizon contained on Alicanto’s permits,” managing director Rob Sennitt said. “Based on our understanding of the historical Falun deposit mineralisation, the presence of strongly magnesium altered rocks with disseminated base metals is highly encouraging.” Alicanto completed a downhole electromagnetic survey on the drillhole that confirmed the intersection of semi-massive sulphides aligns with the southern edge of a strong in-hole conductor, which was interpreted to indicate a continuation of the system. A second off-hole conductor was also modelled beyond the end of the drillhole. Alicanto Minerals indicated its next drilling efforts are planned to target the strong in-hole conductor north of current drilling, which is directed towards the more central part of the deposit and the potential copper-gold mineralisation.


Tempest Minerals

Future Metals


(ASX: FME) tempestminerals.com


Tempest Minerals holds a diversified portfolio of projects in Western Australia it considers highly prospective for precious, base and energy metals. This portfolio includes the Rocky Hill Yigarn Lithium Projects (YLP) the Mount Magnet gold and precious metals project, the Yalgoo group of copper gold base metals and precious metals projects, and the Five Wheels gold copper lead zinc project in the Earaheedy Basin. Tempest Minerals added to this portfolio with the addition of the Elephant project, a large-scale exploration target located on the periphery of the Albany Fraser Belt in WA. The Elephant project liked what it saw from the start at Elephant, commencing the deal in 2023, viewing the project as having “exciting coincident geochemical and geophysical targets with a footprint comparable to other world class gold deposits in the region”. The project comprises 194 square kilometres (135km2 granted 59km2 application) of exploration leases the company considers highly prospective for gold and base metals. This consideration stems from the project location on the suture between the Yilgarn and Albany-Fraser geological blocks that is thought to be a favourable location for major discoveries, which has been borne out by multiple world-class deposits in similar geology being made along this trend. “We have a beautiful geochem and geophysical anomaly there, which makes it stand out as a great target for a gold discovery,” managing director Don Smith said in a company video. At time of writing the company was already in preparation for future Elephant-focused activity. This is to include finalisation of a heritage agreement, after which submissions will be made for approvals for work on ground that should include some drilling later in the year.

Future Metals owns 100 per cent of the Panton PGM-nickel-chromite project in the eastern Kimberley region of Western Australia. Future Metals claims Panton as being the highest grade PGM deposit in Australia, with mineralisation defined across three components within a JORC (2012) Mineral Resource Estimate. These components being; the Reef, the High Grade Dunite and the Bulk Dunite. The High Grade Dunite is at the contact and runs parallel to the Reef throughout the entire deposit. These two components of the Resource were the focus for a recent Scoping Study and planned future operations to produce high-grade PGM and chromite concentrates. The Scoping Study declared Panton to have potential to be one of few major primary PGM operations in the western world. The Study determined a high-grade, initial nine-year operation for Paton processing both Reef and High-Grade Dunite material through a conventional crush, grind and flotation flow sheet. “Future Metals’ team has capitalised on the significant bank of prior work completed on the project and its superior grades to develop a conventional flow sheet producing saleable PGM and chromite concentrates at a meaningful scale in a global context,” managing director Jardee Kininmonth said. “Coupled with the fact that Panton is one of the only near-term development prospects for PGM supply outside of Russia and South Africa, the company is in a tremendous position to grow value through 2024 and beyond. “The Scoping Study shows a robust project which can withstand downturns in the PGM price cycle and provide significant leverage to upswings in prices too. “The company plans to progress Panton swiftly through the various feasibility stages in order to be as production-ready as possible during the next upswing.


Koba Resources

Bulletin Resources


(ASX: BNR) kobaresources.com


Koba Resources hitched a ride on the uranium bandwagon by entering a binding agreement with Havilah Resources to acquire an 80 per cent-interest in the uranium rights to the Yarramba uranium project in South Australia. The 4000 square kilometres Yarramba uranium project is in a world-class uranium district that boasts neighbours that include the Honeymoon and Beverley uranium operations. The Yarramba project includes the advanced Oban uranium deposit that already hosts a JORC 2004-compliant Mineral Resource Estimate, of which the company is aware requires plenty of work to bring up to JORC 2012 standards. Koba Resources is confident opportunities to discover extensions of thick, high-grade mineralisation exist at the Oban deposit with previous drill intersections including 7.5m at 831ppm uranium, 4.5m at 964ppm uranium, and 3.9m at 1,104ppm uranium pumping up its confidence. This confidence is heightened by the project including an extensive pipeline of under-explored prospects throughout 250 kilometres of prospective paleochannels, which Koba believes provides considerable opportunities to make sizeable discoveries of high-grade mineralisation. Koba has already declared its intent to commence an inaugural drilling program in Q2 2024 immediately following completion of the transaction, which will be the first uranium exploration undertaken at the Yarramba project since 2012. Initial drill targets include extensions of the Oban uranium deposit and the Mt John prospect. The company is reviewing project-wide technical data in anticipation that multiple additional targets will be prioritised for drilling later in 2024, including the Yarramba North prospect. “No exploration has been undertaken at Yarramba since 2012, therefore the 4,000 square kilometres project provides us excellent opportunities to make sizeable discoveries in close proximity to existing infrastructure,” managing director and CEO Ben Vallerine said.

Bulletin Resources’ main project is the company’s Ravensthorpe lithium project in Western Australia. Early 2023, Bulletin reported finding a new high-grade spodumene pegmatite at Ravensthorpe, which declared at the time had greatly increased the prospectivity of the southern extent of the Western Pegmatite Trend. Ost recently Bulletin has been in the process of presenting further and better details to the WA Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation ad Safety as it awaits the department to provide a Native Vegetation Clearance Permit to be granted. Bulletin, however, has not been sitting on its hands and as it waits for DIMRS to make contact the company carried out exploration activities at its Chifley gold project located outside of Kalgoorlie situated on an extension of the Claypan Fault, a major north-south structure that hosts the Lake Roe gold deposit owned by Ramelius Resources that sits 20kms along strike to the northwest. Results from an infill ultrafine soil sampling program refined and confirmed a one square kilometre gold in soil anomaly toward the southern boundary of the project. Bulletin interpreted this gold anomalism to be associated with a discreet magnetic and gravity high within a wedge of basalt and ultramafics between granitic units along a splay of the Claypan Fault. A total of 183 samples were taken as infill and extensional sampling. The results received were moderately elevated and in the order of three times background gold levels. The company considered the coherent and extensive nature of the anomaly meant it was deserving of more attention that will entail further investigation and sampling to better define the anomalous area with a view to determine whether an aircore drilling program is appropriate.


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