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Lanthanein Resources


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Our Big Bet for LNR

LNR discovers and proves a rare earths deposit significant enough to become an acquisition target for one of its bigger neighbours Dreadnought or Hastings - OR LNR becomes part of a consolidation play for all three companies.

Investment Memo: Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) - LIVE

Opened: 10-Feb-2022

Shares Held at Open: 12,823,582

What does LNR do?

Lanthanein Resources Limited (ASX:LNR) is exploring for rare earths in the Gascoyne region, WA located in close proximity to Hasting Technology Metals’ advanced Yangibana Rare Earths project.

What is the macro theme?

Rare earths are crucial for the clean energy transition. As China is by far the world’s largest producer of Rare Earths, there is a strong geopolitical element to the industry as major global powers look to secure domestic or friendly supply of strategic resources.

Specific to LNR, rare earths like Neodymium (Nd) and Praseodymium (Pr) are used in the permanent magnets found in EVs and wind turbines, where we expect demand to surge over the next decade.

Why did we invest in LNR?

Rare earths are strategic resources and highly leveraged to energy transition

With demand for the specific Rare Earths that LNR is exploring for (Nd, Pr) set to quintuple by 2030 - governments and investors are quickly moving to secure or get exposure to Rare Earth resources. This is because Nd and Pr are essential for the manufacture of permanent magnets found in EVs and wind turbines.

LNR's tenements are adjacent to the “next major Rare Earths project in Australia”

Hastings’ Yangibana project is due to come into production in 2023 and it boasts the highest grade of its peers in the rare earth space. Additionally, we believe LNR's geology setting could lead to another rare earths discovery in the region.

Key catalysts in the pipeline

As this is a high risk, very early stage exploration company there are a large number of catalysts to look forward to. This includes EM surveys, drilling and assays.

Optionality for project commercialisation

Depending on LNR's progress, they could become an acquisition target, or should the exploration yield a sizeable deposit they could look to bring in a development/JV partner to de-risk or carve their own path. This is a long way off though, which we highlight in our risks section.

What do we expect LNR to deliver?

Objective #1: Complete EM surveys to generate targets

EM surveys are the first step LNR needs to take in order to get the exploration project in the Gascoyne region up and running. Prior to our investment, LNR signalled that these EM surveys were imminent and we want to see drilling targets generated from the EM surveys.

Objective #2: Delivering a drilling campaign on WA rare earths project

Initial drilling and the subsequent assays should give LNR a basic understanding of the grounds they are working with.

Objective #3: Deliver enough successful Rare Earths drilling results to warrant further drilling campaigns

  • Early stage exploration is risky, and successfully striking enough rare earths to warrant more drilling programs to determine if there is a commercial quantity would be an excellent result in our opinion during 2022.
  • Getting positive drilling results is not in the companies control so this objective is partly reliant on exploration luck

What could go wrong?

Exploration risk

Despite LNR’s tenements existing in an established rare earths region - there is no guarantee that EM surveys deliver any attractive drill targets. Even if the targets they generate are worthy of further exploration, drilling could return limited or no mineralisation. If they do return significant mineralisation the potential deposits may not prove economic.

Commodity pricing

While the two rare earths that LNR are seeking are trading at elevated prices with significant further demand projected, a number of market factors could impact the underlying commodity prices. This includes but is not limited to, an increase in Chinese production or a “flooded market” scenario, new resources coming online, cooling investor interest or a lack of government support for new projects.

Delay risk

Metals exploration is booming at the moment, meaning many companies want to be drilling. We understand there is currently a shortage of drill rigs, drill crews and delays at assay labs, which means the companies drilling timelines may blow out.

What is our investment plan?

LNR is a new portfolio addition, our position was taken at ~2.93¢.

As with all our new investments, we have a 90 day trading blackout. After 90 days we are allowed to sell a maximum of 20% of our total position, which we will do if the LNR share price has risen from a positive drilling campaign or pre-drill speculation.

This is our standard plan across all early stage exploration investments.

The rest of the investment will be held into the drilling results, and hopefully over several further delineation drill campaigns if the initial drill campaign delivers encouraging results.

Disclosure: The authors of this memo and owners of Catalyst Hunter, S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and associated entities, own 12,823,582 LNR shares at the time of writing this memo. S3 Consortium Pty Ltd has been engaged by LNR to share our commentary on the progress of our investment in LNR over time.

Investment Milestones for LNR

Initial Investment: @2.9c
🔲 Top Slice
🔲 Free Carry
Initial Investment: @2.9c
🔲 Free Carry
🔲 Take Profit
🔲 Price increases 300% from initial entry
🔲 Price increases 500% from initial entry
🔲 Price increases 1000% from initial entry
🔲 12 Month Capital Gain Discount
🔲 Hold remaining Position for next 2+ years

LNR releases rare earths assays, big target to test in 2023


Dec 14, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Objective 3 : Deliver enough successful Rare Earths drilling results to warrant further drilling campaigns

Shares Held: 15,923,582

Options Held: 5,250,000

Trust Centre

Today, our rare earths Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) returned assay results from its maiden drilling campaign in the Gascoyne region, WA.

The hits are shallow (from as little as 6m below the surface) and have a grade that is 3x the global average.

LNR returned a peak hit of 5m at 0.69% TREO from 20m, including 2m at 1.06% TREO (41% NdPr:TREO) from 21m.

Our view here is that this means the results are good enough to potentially be part of the ore used by adjacent and larger neighbours, which includes the next Australian rare earths producer in Hastings Technology Metals (capped at $480M) and advanced explorer, Dreadnought Resources (capped at $280M).

What’s more LNR has now identified over 1km of strike which appears to run almost directly into Hastings’ tenement:

So we think there’s value at Lyons already.

The results also include a hint of niobium mineralisation, a metal we’re increasingly interested in as it shows up on government lists of critical raw materials.

One hole came in with: 1m at 0.71% TREO (47% NdPr:TREO) and 1.20% Nb2O5 from 34m.

In this drilling campaign LNR was primarily pursuing Neodymium (Nd) and Praseodymium (Pr) - and in particular hits with a high ratio of these rare earths.

These are the two rare earths that go into wind turbines and EV permanent magnets - key pillars of the energy transition.

All up we see today’s assays as having satisfied our base case for this round of drilling:

What’s next for LNR? Further assay results from this drilling campaign are expected over December and January. LNR received $200k from the WA government to drill test the outer magnetic rim of the carbonatite structures which LNR has modelled previously - the plan is to drill these targets next year. These are big carbonatite targets that are 2-4km in diameter and go up to 2km deep.

LNR has visuals of 30m of kaolin from 4m


Dec 09, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022

Shares Held: 15,923,582

Options Held: 5,250,000

Trust Centre

Our rare earths Investment, Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) announced today that it had intersected “high quality” kaolin at its Koolya Project in WA.

The best visual result of 30m from a 4m depth looks like this on the drill site:

While we await the assays from LNR’s maiden drill campaign at the Lyons prospect in Gascoyne, WA we think this is a promising early sign from the kaolin project.

LNR will now analyse the samples to, “quantify the specific characteristics such as ISO Brightness, Alumina content, presence of Halloysite and rare earth elements.”

These are all important factors to determine the overall economic viability of the deposit which essentially starts at surface level.

What’s next for LNR? The Lyons assays and a follow up drilling campaign at a large carbonatite structure in the coming year.

Lanthanein finds more ironstones in WA


Nov 09, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022

Our rare earths Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) discovered what could be more ironstones at its project in WA using satellite imaging.

By examining Worldview‐3 satellite imagery, the company has identified 41 new targets that could be related to rare earths bearing ironstones.

We think this is a promising development that could help generate further drill targets for LNR to follow-up after recently completing its maiden drilling program at its project.

While we wait for assays from that initial drill program, LNR said they would be trying to correlate the satellite imagery with rock sampling to identify the highest priority targets.

We also note that LNR mentioned it would be drilling its “LI‐01 Crown Carbonatite” in either Q4 2022 or Q1 2023.

This is a big target for us as it shares some geological similarities with Lynas’ Mt Weld, this drill program has been co-funded with help from the WA government who chipped in $200k.

This is what that looks like:

Note the presence of an array of ironstone targets within the LI-01 Crown Carbonatite intrusive.

And for reference, this is what Mt Weld’s carbonatite looks like (green line):

Obviously, these are just targets and exploration risk is an ever present feature here. But we do like the looks of this carbonatite target that LNR is aiming to drill.

What’s next for LNR?

The next catalyst will be the results from the recent round of drilling LNR completed.

After this, our focus will be on the “LI‐01 Crown Carbonatite” drilling program.

Visuals from LNR’s first WA rare earths drill


Oct 20, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Risk 1 : Exploration risk

This morning our rare earths Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) said it has visuals in RC chips from its now completed maiden drill campaign at the Lyons Project in the Gascoyne region of WA.

While it's still early days, and assays in mid-November should confirm if LNR has hit rare earths in this drilling program, we think the results from today are pretty good for a first pass.

Key bits of information from today’s LNR announcement:

  • The visual logs of RC chips from the 4 prospects confirm the ironstones are continuous along strike and at depth.
  • Lyons 27 prospect, in the north‐western area, intercepted up to 6m thick ironstone, open in all directions.
  • Widths of main ironstone trend intersected at Lyons 12 and Lyons 13 recorded a thick zone of 1-4m, analogous to Hastings Technology Metals ($464M market cap) deposits Simons Find, Frasers, and Bald Hill ~2.5km away.

LNR’s Lyons 12 and 13 prospects are closest to Hastings’ project:

These are our bull, base, and bear cases for LNR from our latest note:

Bull case = ~10-20m with rare earth grades of 2-3% (TREO)

Base case = ~5-10m with rare earth grades of 1-2% (TREO)

Bear case = No mineralisation is found

For now, it looks like we could be on track to hit our base case, but assays will confirm.

What’s next for LNR?

First assay results are expected mid-November.

There’s plenty more to look forward to as well with “multiple interpreted ironstone trends and carbonatites under thin cover still to be drill tested in Q4, 2022 and 2023”.

We’re particularly interested in drilling of the carbonatite structures that LNR has found to the SE of this drilling. These are very big targets that go up to 2km deep. The WA Government has tipped in $200k to co-fund the drilling and results from this drilling program loom as a big catalyst for LNR going forward.

WA government tips in $200k for LNR’s drill program


Oct 17, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022

This morning our rare earths exploration Investment, Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR), announced that it has been awarded $200k by the WA government for its current drill program at the Lyons prospect in the Gascoyne region of WA.

The funding is designed to drill test the outer magnetic rim of the carbonatite structures which LNR has modelled.

Below is an image showing the proposed drilling locations:

Any additional government funding is a bonus, and the assays from these two drillholes should be very interesting when they do come in.

Our take on this development:

  • These two holes allow LNR to explorer high risk (potentially higher reward targets) - i.e the WA government is providing LNR a “free swing” at Lyons
  • These BIG carbonatite targets and are between 2-4km in diameter and go up to 2km deep
  • LNR has once again worked with independent consultant Franco Pirajno who is an academic exploration expert. We like that LNR’s drilling program has this additional academic rigour (Pirajno is an expert on ASX-listed rare earth giant Lynas’ Mt Weld carbonatite deposit)

We have set the following expectations for this round of drilling:

Bull case = ~10-20m with rare earth grades of 2-3% (TREO)

Base case = ~5-10m with rare earth grades of 1-2% (TREO)

Bear case = No mineralisation is found

But today’s announcement is an added bonus because this drilling will go 450m deep at these large targets using a combination of diamond and reverse circulation (RC) drilling.

What’s next? First assays from the Gascoyne drilling.

Critical minerals quickly becoming a priority in the EU

Sep 20, 2022

Macro: Commodities

Readers who follow our Investment Portfolios will know that we have been making strategic Investments in commodities that have made critical minerals lists for the EU, USA, Japan, India and Australia.

These minerals are considered critical to the digitisation and decarbonisation macro thematic and include lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel and PGE’s, to name a few.

Over the weekend, the following speech from the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave a speech announcing that the EU would look to pass a “European Critical Minerals Act”.

The aim is to avoid the position Europe finds itself in with oil and gas, where it relies on a single trading partner like Russia.

The act would see the EU put in place:

  1. Agreements with partners like Chile, New Zealand, Mexico, India and Australia for the supply of critical minerals.
  2. Identification of strategic projects across all along the supply chain from mine sites to processing/refining projects.
  3. The act would also see the setting up of strategic reserves of these critical minerals.

All of this bodes well for our Investments across commodities identified as “critical minerals” giving these projects strategic importance on the world stage.

To see a list of all the critical minerals in the Australian Critical Minerals strategy document, check out the following link.

Here is a snippet from that speech:

Rare earths drilling almost 50% complete


Sep 19, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Objective 2 : Delivering a drilling campaign on WA rare earths project

On Friday, our rare earths exploration Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX: LNR) put out an update on its drilling program in Australia’s hottest rare earths real estate in WA.

LNR confirmed that it has completed 13 of the planned 30 holes and that drilling will be paused whilst a new rig is brought on site.

LNR expects the drilling program to recommence after ten days (from Friday).

Meanwhile, LNR will be scanning the first 13 holes with handheld XRF guns (on-site assaying tool) to see which holes warrant follow up drilling as the company waits for assays to come back from the lab.

This should mean LNR can calibrate its drilling program based on the most interesting drill hits to date.

LNR’s drilling program is less than 2.5km from Hastings Technology Metals’ Yangibana rare earths deposit (dubbed Australia’s next rare earths mine) and ~32km from Dreadnought Resourcs’ recent rare earths discoveries.

LNR shares important geological similarities with its bigger neighbours Hastings Technology Metals and Dreadnought Resources, which followed almost identical pathways to discoveries.

Here’s the exploration pathway and how LNR has followed it:

  1. They each confirmed that the outcropping ironstones were mineralised with rare earths through rock chip sampling programs - LNR has done this, returning grades of up to 8.01% in rock chips taken from outcroppings ✅
  2. They each ran geophysical surveys and ranked the highest priority targets ahead of drilling - LNR did this, pinpointing 12 high priority drill targets, ranked using the same methods Hastings used leading up to its discovery in 2016 ✅
  3. They each drilled into these targets and confirmed discoveries - LNR is drilling NOW 🔃

Hastings trades at a market cap of $496M, Dreadnought trades at a market cap of $350M.

LNR, on the other hand, currently trades with a market cap of just $53M.

We hope that a discovery by LNR can re-rate the company’s market cap in line with its peers, which trade at multiples of LNR’s current market cap.

Neighbour Dreadnought confirms significant discovery


Sep 05, 2022

Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Investment Thesis 2 : LNR's tenements are adjacent to the “next major Rare Earths project in Australia”

Today, LNR’s Gascoyne neighbour Dreadnought Resources (capped at $430M) announced some of its best drilling results to date, extending its “Yin” rare earths discovery with high grade rare earths assays.

Dreadnought’s results continue to demonstrate a very good thickness and grade of intercept along what is now ~3kms of strike at Yin.

At the same time Dreadnought also announced that it may have made an entirely new discovery at one of its other drilling targets with hand held XRF analysis confirming the presence of rare earths mineralisation.

Dreadnought’s discoveries sit roughly 30km away from LNR’s ground, which also shares similar geological characteristics to both Dreadnought and Hastings - more on this below.

All of this bodes well for LNR which is set to commence its own drilling program in the region any day now.

Dreadnought has been on a tear up the charts in the last month, with its share price moving up more than 300% since mid-June from low to high.

Dreadnought is chasing another Gascoyne rare earths company Hastings Technology Metals (capped at ~$550M) - which Twiggy Forest’s Wyloo Metals recently backed with $150M, and has just entered a trading halt ahead of a capital raise this morning.

As we mentioned above, LNR’s project sits on similar geology to both Hastings’ discovery and the recent discoveries made by Dreadnought, in particular:

  1. Outcropping ironstones confirmed to host rare earths (through rock chip sampling) - LNR has returned rock chips grading as high as 8.01% total rare earths oxide (TREO).
  2. Geophysical anomalies used to rank the highest priority drill targets - LNR has 12 high priority geophysical anomalies over its project area.

The only difference between LNR and its neighbours is that LNR is yet to drill and make a rare earths discovery.

We are hoping LNR can emulate the success of its neighbours and close in on the market caps of its neighbours with a successful drilling program set to run over the coming weeks and months.

What’s next for LNR? The commencement of drilling. This should be imminent as the company flagged “early September” for the start of drilling.

Siteworks commenced for maiden rare earths drill program


Aug 30, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Objective 2 : Delivering a drilling campaign on WA rare earths project

This morning, our rare earths Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) announced that siteworks had commenced to set up access tracks and prepare drill sites.

LNR Technical Director Brian Thomas said “drill rig is scheduled to mobilise to site by weeks end with drilling to start in the first week of September - which is right around the corner.

Our LNR Progress Tracker is available here - we use it to see how progress on projects evolve over time:

LNR Progress Tracker

LNR is chasing a rare earths discovery in its maiden drill program - this comes as interest in the Gascoyne region’s rare earths potential heats up.

Dreadnought Resources 32kms to the west of LNR’s tenement has made a discovery at Yin and Hastings Technology Metals has announced the acquisition of a 22.1% shareholding in Canadian listed Neo Performance Materials Inc for C$135 million ($150M).

We like the look of the intrusive carbonatite structures LNR is targeting (yellow circles) in the below map at the Lyons project:

What’s next for LNR: We expect drilling to commence next week, and are keen to see early results.

Rare Earths neighbourhood heating up - enter Andrew Forrest


Aug 26, 2022

Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Investment Thesis 2 : LNR's tenements are adjacent to the “next major Rare Earths project in Australia”

With our rare earths exploration Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) just weeks away from its maiden rare earths drill campaign in the Gascoyne region (due to start in early September) we couldn't help but notice the moves that LNR’s much bigger neighbour is making.

LNR’s rare earths neighbour Hastings Technology Metals is set to acquire a 22.1% shareholding in Canadian listed Neo Performance Materials Inc for C$135 million ($150M).

Neo is a global leader in the downstream processing of rare earth elements, and the production of advanced materials, including permanent magnets. In fact it owns the only operating commercial rare earth separation and rare metals facility in Europe.

This acquisition puts Hastings on track to eventually become a more vertically integrated company, rather than just a rare earth miner.

The move has been backed by Andrew Forrest’s private company Wyloo Metals, to the tune of $150M.

Wyloo’s entry into Hastings is via a loan of $150M, in the form of convertible notes. The three year notes can be converted into Hastings shares at a fixed rate of $5.50 per share.

Here’s what we think this means for LNR:

  • There’s a lot of capital available in the market for rare earths projects, as demonstrated by the appetite of the parties in this proposed transaction to fund such a big deal
  • Interest in Gascoyne rare earths projects is heating up - there could be more deals to come
  • Because Hastings’ tenements are immediately adjacent to LNR’s project and the closest Hastings’ deposit is ~2.5kms to LNR’s Lyons prospect, we think it’s reasonable to conclude that should LNR prove it has commercial levels of rare earths in its upcoming drill campaign - it could become more appealing to institutional investors.

Here is our full preview note for LNR’s maiden drill campaign.

Heritage surveys completed, drilling soon.


Aug 23, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Objective 2 : Delivering a drilling campaign on WA rare earths project

With heritage surveys completed, Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) is slated to begin drilling in early September.

This drilling campaign is the key catalyst for our rare earths Investment, and we’ve been waiting for LNR to get the go ahead on this for the last two months.

The area that LNR will be drilling in has seen a wave of interest hit it over the last couple months as Dreadnaught Resources hit excellent grades at its Yin discovery and the more established Hastings Technology Metals edges closer towards production.

Having looked at both Dreadnought’s drilling results and Hastings’ most recent drilling results, we’ve outlined the following cases for LNR’s maiden drilling campaign:

Bull case: Significant mineralisation is found (approaching Dreadnought results, ~10-20m at 2-3% TREO)

Base case: Enough mineralisation is found to warrant follow up drilling (similar hits to nearby Hastings - ~5-10m at ~1-2% TREO).

Bear case: No mineralisation is found

We note the proximity of Hastings’ latest drilling, just 2.5kms away in the same geological setting.

What’s next for LNR? Site works will begin shortly, with drill sites being prepared after the drill targets were finalised in June.

Gold project sold, balance sheet now even stronger


Aug 09, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022

Earlier this week our rare earths exploration Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX: LNR) put out an update on the sale of its PNG gold project.

The deal comes after ASX listed Tempest Minerals put in a takeover offer for Lole Mining which holds the gold project.

As part of the deal LNR will receive a total of $2M split as follows:

Initial consideration:

  • $500,000 cash
  • $1.5M in either cash or shares at the election of Lole Mining

Deferred consideration:

  • $1M within 5 years or before a JORC resource of 500,000 oz of gold in the indicated category is defined.

LNR therefore should receive the initial consideration of ~$2M in cash/shares no later than 28 September 2022.

After recently completing a $1.75M capital raise and with $4M in cash in the bank at 30 June 2022, LNR is adding to what we think is an already extremely strong balance sheet for an exploration company.

With a market cap of just $24M (after the recent placement shares are issued), we expect LNR to have ~$7.75M in cash/financial assets after the placement is completed and the gold project is sold.

This should mean the company trades with an enterprise value (EV) of ~$13.25M leading up to its drilling program at its REE projects along strike from Hastings Technology Metals (capped at $416M) and next door to Dreadnought Resources (capped at $228M).

Next: We want to see LNR start and complete all of the pre-drilling works to enable the company to drill its REE targets this quarter.

Noosa Mining Investor Conference round-up

Jul 22, 2022

Macro: Commodities

Spanning three days on the pristine Sunshine Coast of Queensland, the Noosa Mining Investor Conference kicked off its 12th year on Wednesday. Attracting a diverse and large spread of corporates, brokers, retail and institutional investors, this year’s event featured over 60 companies presenting and over 1,000 people in attendance, all hosted within the coastal town's Peppers Resort.

At the event, we caught up with a number of executives from our Investment companies (including AKN, AOU, BPM and PFE) as well as companies of interest, either as potential additions to one of our Portfolios, or to gain expert insight to macro and regional headwinds impacting the markets.

The conference is held in the ideal location to mix work with pleasure, and meet a host of CEOs of ASX juniors. Each day ends with a short ‘business at the bar’ session that quickly morphs into talking tactics about where to eat and drink. On Thursday and Friday nights, many head to the Noosa Surf Club for its networking sessions, enjoying its glassed indoor area and open deck to the beach.

We look forward to providing updates on companies we met with down the road.

China considering US$1.1 trillion infrastructure stimulus

Jul 15, 2022

Macro: Commodities

China plans to make up to US$1.1 trillion in financing available for infrastructure spending, which we think will increase commodity demand. Read the following Bloomberg article for details.

Read the full article here.

Below are our key takeaways:

  • China is making 7.2 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) in funds available for infrastructure spending.
  • According to Citigroup, infrastructure investment in 2022 is likely to rise by 7.7% versus 2021.
  • President Xi Jinping has called for an “all out” effort to increase infrastructure spending this year to fuel economic growth and meet a GDP growth target of around 5.5%.

The Bloomberg article touches on the impacts of China’s COVID induced lockdowns on the domestic economy.

With economic growth tipped to slow, the Chinese government is getting ready to lean on fiscal stimulus through infrastructure investment to spur economic growth.

We think this type of fiscal stimulus is likely to become a common theme in China and the West, with macro themes like decarbonisation requiring massive CAPEX.

This infrastructure spending forms part of our “commodities supercycle” investment thesis, where we see increased fiscal stimulus and CAPEX investment spurring higher demand for commodities already facing supply shortages.

China considering US$220Bn in infrastructure stimulus

Jul 08, 2022

Macro: Commodities

The following Bloomberg article highlights China’s plan to spend up to US$220 billion to spur economic growth through infrastructure spending.

All of this new infrastructure will require more commodities.

Read the full article here.

Below are our key takeaways:

  • China’s Ministry of Finance is considering US$220 billion of infrastructure funding aimed at shoring up the country’s beleaguered economy.

  • The funding is to be brought forward from next year’s quota, marking the first time the issuance has been brought forward due to concerns around the dire state of the world’s second largest economy.

  • The funding would primarily be used on infrastructure spending to boost an economy hit by Covid lockdowns and a housing downturn.

  • Commodities rallied in European trading hours following the news, with copper moving 3.6% higher on the London Metal Exchange.

For over two years, we have been writing about an upcoming commodities supercycle brought about by infrastructure spending, following decades of underinvestment in the “real economy”.

All this investment in the “real economy” requires raw materials, which is why we think the macro backdrop for commodities over the next decade is strong.

The Bloomberg article highlights the readiness of the Chinese government to lean on fiscal stimulus to spur economic growth at a time when the Chinese economy is slowing down.

Generally, governments would try to respond to slowdowns in economic growth by cutting interest rates. With this tool exhausted after the COVID pandemic, we think infrastructure spending will become the new policy of choice for governments worldwide.

Again, this infrastructure spending will increase demand for commodities which we expect will take commodity prices higher.

VW CEO breaks down batteries and supply chain issues

Jul 08, 2022

Macro: Commodities

The following Bloomberg article showcases the moves major carmaker Volkswagen is making in the batteries industry.

Read the full article here.

Below are our key takeaways:

  • VW is pressing forward with investments along its battery supply chain, commencing construction at a new cell factory in Salzgitter, Germany, one of five facilities in Europe under the carmaker’s PowerCo subsidiary.
  • Salzgitter is home to VW’s main motor factory, and it is where the company last year opened an $80 million facility to research, develop and test EV batteries.
  • Roughly $2 billion will be invested in the new cell factory, where production is scheduled to begin in 2025.
  • VW expects its battery business to generate €20 billion in revenue by the end of this decade.
  • VW CEO Herbert Diess said, “We are invested in some startups and we are looking forward to a joint venture together with Bosch for the machine tools and equipment for those plants, so we’re really gearing up to become one of the bigger battery cell producers”.

The news is just another sign that downstream investment in battery supply chains is showing no signs of slowing down.

VW is one of the world's largest carmakers and is heavily investing in downstream production capacity. It expects this part of its business to generate over €20 billion in revenues by the end of the decade.

This is a situation where investment in midstream/downstream (manufacturing/battery industry) is far ahead of upstream investment (mining), this leads to the supply/demand imbalances for the raw materials required to produce batteries only becoming worse.

The imbalance comes from the timing of these mega projects. Building a downstream / midstream facility could take 1-4 years whereas it takes around 7 years on average to bring a new resource discovery into the production stage.

As a result, we think that raw materials prices will remain high for at least the next decade whilst the mining industry catches up to demand.

3D Models reveal carbonatite REE Targets


Jun 10, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR 2022

Objective #1: Complete EM surveys to generate targets

This morning our rare earths exploration Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX: LNR) announced the results from more geophysical works being done ahead of the maiden drilling program at its REE project.

Today’s news highlighted the presence of a number of intrusive carbonatite occurrences. LNR believes these represent “larger tonnage style REE targets that extend to over 2km depth”.

The 3D modelling has put together at least three different occurrences, varying in size as follows:

Intrusive target LI01:

  • 4.3km in diameter at surface, extending ~1km at depth.

Intrusive target LI03:

  • Circular ~2.8km diameter from a depth greater >2km.

Intrusive target LI05:

  • 2km x 1.3km structure with the source at ~2km depth.

This brings to light a geophysical target that LNR likens to the Mount Weld Project owned by Lynas Rare Earths (capped at $8.2 billion). The Mount Weld Project is well defined by similar geophysical works that describe a “vertical cylindrical body, 3 to 4 km in diameter”.

It is still far too early to draw conclusions from all of this, but the target generation works have thrown up some really interesting targets that we can't wait for LNR to drill.

Heritage surveys delayed to the second half of June


Jun 10, 2022


Investment Memo: LNR 2022

Objective #2: Delivering a drilling campaign on WA rare earths project

Our rare earths exploration Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX: LNR) has postponed its heritage avoidance surveys due to positive COVID-19 cases on site at its REE project in WA.

In our last note, we said that we expected drilling to commence in early April/May, so it’s a little disappointing to see the drill program delayed to the second half of the year. But these sort of things are outside of the company’s control.

Without completing the heritage avoidance surveys, LNR can’t get its drill rig on site, hence drilling has to be delayed.

We are hoping there are no further delays and this is resolved in June/early July.

We now await an update to the market on when LNR expects to commence drilling — we hope that it will be at some point in the current quarter.

Frontier Resources is Now Lanthanein Resources


May 24, 2022

Investment Memo: FNT (LRN) 2022

General: Name change

Our rare earths Investment, Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT), is now Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LRN).

We’ve reflected this on our website, with the new logo and new name.

From time to time, companies rename themselves to reflect a new direction. In the case of FNT, (now LRN) we like the new name and slick logo - good branding is important.

For the etymology nerds out there, Lanthanein is Greek for ‘lies hidden’ and is the origin of the word "lanthanide" which was introduced by a Norwegian mineralogist called Victor Goldschmidt in 1925.

Goldschmidt was one of the founders of modern geochemistry.

In what feels like a paradox - rare earths are abundant in the Earth’s crust but hard to find. Hence the ‘lies hidden’ phrase that Goldschmidt attached to it.

The lanthanide series on the periodic table can be found below:

The two lanthanide series elements we’re most hoping LRN can find in abundance are Neodymium (Nd) and Praseodymium (Pr). These are essential in the manufacture of wind turbines and the permanent magnets found in electric vehicles.

You can see the Neodymium price chart over a 5 year period below:

What’s next for LRN: We’re looking for a clear date to be nailed down for their Gascoyne, WA drilling program near Hastings Technology Metals’ Yangibana project. We view this as a major catalyst in the context of current market sentiment towards rare earths.

960.1ppm (~.1%) TREO from Historic Sampling + Pegmatites?


May 05, 2022


Our rare earths exploration investment, Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT), has found promising results from a historic soil sampling campaign at its second rare earths project in the Gascoyne region.

In yesterday’s announcement, FNT also flagged that they will be on the hunt for lithium at this project as well.

From the soil sampling campaign, the highest recorded presence of Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) was 960.1ppm.

While not related to our three Key Objectives from our 2022 FNT Investment Memo, we’re pleased with the results from this project - as it indicates to us that FNT is building up a portfolio of promising rare earths exploration projects.

Importantly, the results come from a soil sampling program - which was followed up by a rock chip program in key target areas.

We think that given the fact that rare earths were detected at such an early stage, this bodes well for the rock chip sample assays which are due later this month.

There’s another aspect to FNT’s work at Mt Clere as well - and that’s its prospectivity for lithium.

As per yesterday’s announcement:

Mt Clere is located along the northern margin of the Yarlarweelor Gneiss Belt, with major bodies of Proterozoic Durlacher Supersuite and Moorarie Supersuite granites also prospective for lithium bearing pegmatites. The review of publicly available data recorded fifty-one (51) pegmatites mapped across the Mt Clere Project area by the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA). The surface extent and potential for these pegmatites to host lithium mineralisation will be a primary focus of initial work programs.

Below is a map of pegmatite occurrences on FNT’s project (circled in blue):

What’s next for FNT? While we are yet to get word on when drilling will commence at their primary rare earths project in the Gascoyne region, we’re looking forward to the assays from their rock chip sampling program at Mt Clare, which are due later this month.

Here is why we invested in FNT and what we expect them to achieve in 2022 - FNT Investment Memo.

Rare earths drilling scheduled for May, drill plan confirmed


Apr 26, 2022


Our Catalyst Hunter rare earths investment, Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT), gave us a closer look at the targets that the company will be drilling in May.

We previously covered the EM surveys that FNT ran where it generated 12 high priority drill targets and the results from a recent rock chip sampling program which returned peak rare earth grades >8% in and around these high priority drill targets.

To read the deep dives into both of these check out our previous Catalyst Hunter coverage below:

In today’s announcement, FNT detailed each proposed drillhole and the reasoning for its inclusion in the upcoming drilling program.

There are ~41 proposed drillholes across the Lyons prospects and ~22 across the Edmunds prospect.

Interestingly, FNT also confirmed that these priority drill targets were displaying more and more similarities to Hastings Technology Metals (capped at $558M) Yangibana rare earth deposit when compared using magnetic imagery.

FNT looks to have designed the drilling program to test all of the targets picked up via the EM surveys. FNT is following a similar strategy that Hastings used when it made the Yangibana discovery.

We detailed this similar approach in our previous article covering the EM targets here.

What’s next for FNT?

FNT have now confirmed that the programme of works for the RC drilling program has been approved and that heritage surveys were ongoing to allow for site works to commence.

In today’s announcement, FNT guided for drilling to commence at some point in May after the heritage survey approvals were granted.

Alongside this, FNT has also started some metallurgical test work to test whether or not the ironstones discovered on its project can be commercially processed. This is effectively FNT getting some of the work that would generally be done after drilling, earlier.

We have been looking forward to this upcoming drilling program ever since announcing our investment in FNT back in February, with the drilling program being key Objective #2 in our 2022 FNT Investment Memo.

To see all of the objectives we want to see FNT achieve in 2022, the reasons for our investment and the key risks to our Investment thesis, check out our 2022 Investment Memo here.

Exploration Licence Granted at Murraydium Rare Earth Project


Apr 21, 2022


Our rare earths exploration investment, Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT), announced this week that they were granted an exploration licence in South Australia.

While not one of our Key Objectives in our FNT Investment Memo, we think FNT’s exploration licence in South Australia could benefit the company down the track.

The licence is located near to the Koppamurra Project which is owned by $78M capped Australian Rare Earths.

That project has an Inferred Mineral Resource of 39.9 Mt @ 725 ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO).

Below is a map showing how FNT’s new rare earths project (brown) is located relative to Australian Rare Earths’ projects (green):

We think this licence is similar in approach to FNT’s WA rare earths project - snap up tenements near existing deposits of rare earths in an emerging rare earths district.

But instead of ironstone hosted rare earths, FNT will be looking for closer to surface ionic clay hosted rare earths.

FNT flagged that they will look to use auger, push tube and aircore drilling.

What’s next for FNT: The big one for us as investors, the 65 hole, 5,000m drilling program at their WA rare earths project. The program is scheduled to begin later this month/early May.

Trading halt pending assay results


Mar 18, 2022

This morning we saw our rare earths exploration investment FNT enter a trading halt pending some assay results.

In our latest FNT note, we mentioned that after uncovering 12 “priority 1” EM targets, the FNT team was on site conducting some “ground-truthing”. This is basically having the team on-site collecting rock chip samples in and around the target areas, looking at outcroppings, and pinpointing exactly where they intend to drill.

This forms part of the target generation works, whereby a junior explorer pinpoints high priority EM targets, checks if there are interesting outcroppings/high grade rock chips in that area so as to rank them from highest to lowest priority ahead of drilling .

For FNT to enter a trading halt ahead of announcing assays from these rock chips, we suspect the team must have picked up some interesting results.

FNT’s rock chip sampling is another step towards the maiden drilling program expected in the upcoming quarter.

Next week could make for an interesting one for FNT, with the results due. We also note that the share price of next door neighbour Dreadnought Resources moved from ~2.5c to a high of ~6.2c off the back of its rock chip sampling results (adding ~$91M to Dreadnoughts market cap).

One reason that we invested in FNT was to see it drill its rare earths project next door to Hasting's rare earths project, which is due to come into production in 2023.

To see all of the reasons why we invested and what we want to see FNT achieve in 2022, click here to see our 2022 Investment Memo.

Critical mineral processing nabs $243M in government grants


Mar 17, 2022

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday announced that the federal government has committed $243m in grant funding for the processing and refinement of critical minerals, as listed in Australia’s 2022 critical minerals strategy.

This is the first grant as part of the federal government's $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

The $243m in grant funding will be split across four projects, including vanadium and rare earths.

Of the four projects that received funding, we were most interested in the $30M grant that Arafura Resources received for its rare earths (NdPr) project in the NT. Here the company plans to construct a “first of its kind” rare earth separation plant - only the second of such plant outside of China.

With the government stepping in and providing capital to develop a rare earths processing and refining industry in Australia, the future for local rare earths explorers and producers looks bright.

All of this affirms our macro thinking behind the latest addition to the Catalyst Hunter portfolio - Frontier Resources (ASX: FNT). FNT is preparing for a drilling program right next door to another Hastings technology metals “Yangibana project”, which is expected to come into production 2023 and has the highest grade resource of its peers in the rare earths space.

Interestingly, Hastings was also a recipient of a government loan of ~$140M which is being used to develop its project.

Click here to view our 2022 Investment Memo and see why we invested in FNT and what we want the company to achieve in the year ahead.

More outcropping ironstones found at FNT's REE project


Mar 03, 2022

Today FNT’s field sampling program yielded what we think are good early signs that Rare Earths could be present on their tenements.

154 rock chip samples were taken and have been sent to the lab for assays.

FNT is getting the rocks classified into potential groupings of monazite, carbonatite and ironstone.

Ironstone is particularly interesting, as ironstones played a key role in the discovery that ~$500M market capped Hastings Technology Metals made at the next door Yangibana project.

The presence of carbonatite is also worth noting as Australia’s only Rare Earths producer, ~$10B market capped Lynas Corp, found their massive Mt Weld discovery in carbonatite.

For conext, the total grade of Rare Earths across Hasting’s project is ~1% and the nearby Dreadnought Resources re-rated in June-July 2021, in part, on the back of ironstone rock chip sample assays of 11.2% Total Rare Earth Oxide (“TREO”).

We think FNT is well placed in an emerging major Rare Earths district in WA, and we’re looking forward to what they come back with in terms of assays from the labs.

We wanted to see FNT advance their Rare Earth’s project by drilling (Key Objective #2) - and we now know that FNT is planning drilling for Q2 2022, which is just around the corner.

Here is why we invested in FNT and what we expect them to achieve in 2022 - FNT Investment Memo.

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