TMR: Private placement completed raising $762k

ASX:TMR   Apr 06, 2022 Announcement

This morning our gold exploration investment Tempus Resources’ (ASX:TMR) raised $762k via a private non-brokered placement at CAD$0.07 (7.4c).

With TMR currently trading at ~9c per share the placement comes at a ~18% discount to the current market price.

TMR had ~$2.4M of cash left at the 31st of December 2021 and the exploration window in Canada is set to re-open in ~May with TMR expecting to get its drill rigs turning in ~June.

TMR is planning a ~30 hole, 8,500m drilling program for 2022 focussed mainly on expanding the Blue Vein discovery (15 of the 30 holes to target the Blue Vein) as well as the development of other vein targets including the Main Vein, West Vein and Ella Zone.

The ultimate aim of the 2022 drilling program will be to put out an updated NI43-101 (Canadian resource estimation code) Resource estimate for the Elizabeth project following the completion of the 2022 drill program.

Two of the three objectives we set for what we wanted to see TMR achieve in 2022 relate to exploration at its Canadian gold project, to see these objectives and why we continue to hold TMR in our portfolio check out our 2022 Investment Memo here.

Air core drilling commenced at its Warrior Project in WA.

ASX:PUR   Apr 06, 2022 Announcement

This morning our junior exploration investment Pursuit Minerals (ASX:PUR) confirmed that air core drilling at its Warrior project in WA had commenced.

The drilling program comes less than 1 week after the company put together a ~700m x 250m target area where copper/gold anomalies were found during a previous round of sampling. We covered this in a previous Quick Take which can be viewed here.

The announcement last week detailing the new copper/gold anomalies seems to have caught the markets interest with the share price moving from ~2c per share to now trade just below 4c per share.

Our initial investment in PUR was made in December 2020, and was largely based around the company’s nearology to Chalice Mining’s multi billion dollar Julimar discovery. These new gold/copper targets come as a complete surprise to us so we haven't set any expectations for the upcoming drilling program.

PUR are using an air core drill rig so we don't expect to see a new copper/gold discovery being made with this round of drilling but if the company can put together some decent intercepts and find enough mineralisation to warrant follow up drilling then the project could become a lot more interesting.

PUR expects to have the assays back in ~June of this year.

PFE: Aerial survey helps pinpoint targets for Hellcat campaign

ASX:PFE   Apr 06, 2022 Announcement

Our multi-commodity exploration investment Pantera Minerals (PFE) today announced that it had completed a VTEM survey over its recently acquired Hellcat lead/silver project in WA.

VTEM stands for versatile time-domain electromagnetic - it is essentially an airborne survey system that can identify moderate to excellent conductors beneath the surface - which in turn can point to possible mineralisation/ ore bodies underground.

The results of the VTEM survey have helped refine drill targets for the upcoming maiden drilling program at Hellcat, expected later this quarter. This ties in with our Objective #2 that we want to see PFE deliver in the year ahead, as outlined in our Investment Memo.

In particular, high priority gravity targets at the Teano and Yarvi prospects (within the Hellcat project) are coincident with electro-magnetic conductors (as revealed by VTEM), a promising sign prior to drilling.

We like that Hellcat is down the road from one of the world’s next significant lead/zinc/silver operations expected to go into production next year - the Abra mine, a joint venture between Galena Mining and Japanese smelter Toho Zinc. Abra is expected to operate for an initial 16 years, producing 95 ktpa of lead alongside by-products.

Aside from upcoming drilling at Hellcat, we expect PFE to also be drilling at their WA manganese project in this current quarter, and so will be keen to see the results.

GGE: Commences Trading on OTCQB Market in the USA

ASX:GGE   Apr 06, 2022 Announcement

This morning our 2021 Catalyst Hunter Pick of the Year confirmed that it has commenced trading on the OTCQB market in the USA.

The company is trading under the ticker “GRGUF” and trading activity can be viewed via the following link:

GGE is less than 10 days out from drilling its pure play helium well in Utah and has managed to get this OTC listing done at just the right time.

Helium is a critical raw material in the supply chain for producing semiconductors and has recently been getting a lot of domestic US interest.

Supply side disruptions are coming mainly from:

  1. Sanctions on Russia and the Armur facility (which was expected to produce ~11% of the world's helium supply)
  2. The recent unplanned shutdown of the US’s largest producing project (The Cliffside helium field)

This at a time when US semiconductor manufacturing capacity is increasing with the world's biggest chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company investing $12 billion in a new US facility and competitor ploughing $20 billion into a facility of its own also in the US.

The US is now facing a potential structural shortage in the helium markets and the OTC listing for GGE could not have come at a better time.

We suspect that those in the US who are aware of all of this will look at GGE as a potential investment exposure in the helium space.

GGE’s Managing Director Dane Lane hinted at this in today’s announcement saying the company's “assets and helium offtake partner located in the US, Grand Gulf has received significant interest from investors based in North America”.

We wrote about GGE’s upcoming drilling on Catalyst Hunter yesterday - you can read that note here.

To see why we are invested in GGE and why it is our 2021 Catalyst Hunter pick of the year, check out our 2022 Investment Memo by clicking the image below:

LRS gets new lithium tenement. Drilling to start immediately

ASX:LRS   Apr 06, 2022 Announcement

Our lithium exploration investment, Latin Resources (ASX:LRS), expanded its footprint at its Brazilian hard rock lithium project today and plans to immediately move one of its two diamond drill rigs to drill the new tenement.

The agreement with the vendor is for an additional 50 hectares to the east of Latin’s existing tenements which features outcroppings of spodumene bearing pegmatites grading up 2.3% lithium.

As long term LRS investors, we like to see companies acquire additional land when they’ve had early success as it increases exploration optionality.

Below in orange is the new tenements:

The best assay results from the rock chips include - 1.27%,1.34%, 1.77% and 2.30% lithium.

We’ve circled where these grades came in on the map of the tenement below:

We think LRS might be able to replicate their early success at the tenements to west in these new tenements, as it looks structurally similar to what they were working with when they got their most recent assay results back.

The process for LRS is quite straightforward - find pegmatites, get high grade rock chip samples and then drill.

LRS flagged that they will immediately shift one of their two diamond drill rigs over to this new tenement to drill a 2,000m reconnaissance program.

Given the high grade rock chip samples, we believe the terms for this new tenement are reasonable within the context of a very hot lithium market - US$21k to be paid in 30 days, US$4.2k to be paid monthly for a period of 12 months, with a Call Option (if LRS chooses wants to keep the tenements) to pay US$240k in cash, and LRS shares worth US$120k at a 30 day VWAP.

This agreement includes a 3% net smelter royalty, an additional milestone payment of US$50k and US$50k worth of LRS shares within 30 days of declaration of the JORC Resource.

It’s our view that the Call Option is a good move - LRS gets a shot at expanding on their initial success and can pull out if drilling disappoints.

We also note that the closest lithium miner to LRS in Brazil, Sigma, pulled together a variety of smaller deposits to create a larger resource.

A more detailed look at those deposits can be found in our most recent LRS coverage.

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

Anagrelide patent for the United States

ASX:ALA   Apr 05, 2022 Announcement

ALA today announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office has accepted its patent application covering its legacy asset, Anagrelide, and the patent will proceed to grant.

Anagrelide is part of ALA’s OroMist portfolio of treatments and the US patent comes in addition to existing patents in the EU, Japan and Australia.

While not part of our Key Objectives from our ALA Investment Memo, we did flag that legacy assets could play a role in reducing cash burn and help ALA focus on their iNKT Cell Therapy Platform and DKK1-CAR/mAb in our portfolio launch note.

Anagrelide may prove to be complementary to drugs called checkpoint inhibitors.

Two of these drugs, Keytruda (Merck, generated US$17B in revenue in 2021) and Opdivo (Bristol Myers Squibb, US$7.5B in revenue in 2021) are the dominant treatments.

We think the muted market reaction to today’s news is indicative of the limited interest in ALA’s legacy assets. As recent ALA investors, we are looking for ALA to piggyback on the larger market for checkpoint inhibitors and derive some revenue from these assets.

ALA stated it intends to pursue this:

Arovella is actively seeking to find co-development partners to fund ongoing research or to out-licence the anagrelide intellectual property.

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

Galileo presents at Mines & Money

ASX:GAL   Apr 05, 2022 Announcement

Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) is presenting at the Mines and Money conference this week and has today released its presentation to the ASX.

GAL is exploring for base metals in WA and has been held in our Next Investors portfolio for over two years.

The primary reason that we continue to hold GAL in our portfolio is in hope of a large metals discovery. GAL holds highly prospective grounds in the Fraser Range nickel belt which hosts the $1.8 billion Nova Nickel discovery and the more recent Silver Knight discovery (65% sold for $45M). We are invested in GAL to see it replicate a discovery of this magnitude.

However, we have also been impressed with the company’s progress at its Norseman Project, which has delivered strong nickel-copper-cobalt-palladium assays from aircore drilling.

You can see all the reasons why we continue to hold GAL in our portfolio and the objectives that we have set for it to achieve this year in our 2022 Investment Memo, here.

The presentation slides outline GAL’s planned upcoming drilling at its Norseman Project where it has identified palladium, nickel, and copper sulphide targets. A 1,500 metre RC drill campaign is planned to commence this month at Norseman’s Mt Thirsty prospect over five kilometres of untested strike.

This follows first aircore drilling at the project late last year that identified a massive nickel-copper-palladium sulphide intercept at just 60m depth. The follow up geophysical surveys and RC drilling is planned around and below nickel, cobalt, palladium, and platinum drill intercepts.

AuKing to move to full ownership of flagship project

ASX:AKN   Apr 05, 2022 Announcement

Today our Catalyst Hunter base metals junior investment AKN announced a deal to move to full ownership of its flagship Koongie Park project in WA.

AKN will acquire Anglo Australian Resources’ remaining 25% stake in Koongie Park for A$6M payable in 3 tranches:

  • $3M cash in May 2022;
  • $1.5M in AKN shares to be issued after shareholder approval on or before 30 June 2022; and
  • $1.5M cash by 31 October 2022.

The AKN shares will be issued to Anglo Australian at an issue price that is calculated by references to the 20 day VWAP for AKN’s shares on the ASX prior to the date of issue, and will be escrowed for 3 months from the date of issue.

Importantly, the transaction provides AKN the PGE rights to the project.

This matters as the project is next to Pantoro’s Lamboo PGE Deposit. Pantoro has delivered several outstanding platinum group element (PGE) drill results over the past year, leading to the company green lighting a further 20,000m of drilling for 2022. Pantoro is currently capped at $464M.

We like that AKN has moved to a 100% ownership prior to the important metallurgical testwork program completing, because should a processing solution for its shallow copper resource be found, AKN gets to keep 100% of it. This ties in with our Objective #2 we would like to see AKN deliver this year.


This also should simplify development funding options down the track.

We also like the acquisition of the PGE rights, although this sits outside of our 2022 Investment memo.

We mentioned in our initial investment note that AKN’s neighbour Pantoro went from a share price of ~21.5¢ to a high of ~42.5¢ off the back of its PGE discovery next door to AKN. We also note that the market for platinum and palladium has been soaring for a while now, and further aggravated by sanctions against Russia, which formerly provided some 40% of global palladium supply.

Palladium market

We are still primarily interested in seeing the results from the metallurgical testing which AKN expects to take ~6-8 weeks to complete, with the results expected in April.

To see why we are invested in AKN and what we want to see the company achieve in 2022 click here to read our 2022 Investment Memo.

Of note, AKN proposes to conduct a rights issue to existing shareholders in order to raise most of the funds needed in order to complete the transaction. This raising will be complemented by a strategic private placement to certain sophisticated investors.

Expediting geothermal energy amid German energy crisis

ASX:VUL   Apr 05, 2022

As reported in the AFR, Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) is upping its focus on its geothermal business in Germany amid Europe’s energy crisis.

Just over half of Germany’s energy consumption is used to produce heat and the main fuel used is gas, half of which comes from Russia.

But now, with gas prices surging after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany is scrambling to secure local energy supplies and wean itself off its dependence on Russian gas imports.

The AFR quoted VUL Chairman Gavin Rezos, who explained that “Germany’s first response was wind and solar. But now they are looking at the assets they have, and geothermal is the way forward.”

While much of the enthusiasm around VUL to date has been to do with its world first Zero Carbon Lithium ambitions, the geothermal energy side of its business has been seen as somewhat of an afterthought.

Located in the Upper Rhine Valley, VUL already has a 5 megawatt operational geothermal plant. It is now looking to convert that energy to heat, which would allow it to produce about 35 megawatts of heat for local use.

While geothermal is still a relatively expensive way to produce baseload power, VUL says that “in heating, [geothermal] is in pole position”.

The company is now stepping up efforts to sign offtake heat agreements and is lobbying planning authorities to cut red tape.

This was something that we identified in our VUL 2022 Investment Memo, with securing heat offtake agreements outlined as one of the five objectives that we want to see VUL achieve this year.

(You can see all five of those objectives, plus our reasons for continuing to hold VUL this year — even after its impressive share price rise in recent years — in our VUL Investment Memo here.)

Once offtake agreements are secured, VUL will make some infrastructure adjustments at its geothermal plant to switch from electricity to heat production, while the Upper Rhine Valley already has a lot of the core heating-supply infrastructure in place.

Rezos said that the opportunity in geothermal has also prompted VUL to look at potential additional medium- to longer-term opportunities on the French side of the Upper Rhine Valley and in Italy.

CEO Francis Wedin added, “We have the drillers, the rigs, the operations. We are already a producer, we just want to repeat these plants on a larger scale across the Upper Rhine Valley.”

$3M cash raised ahead of Hawkins drilling

ASX:BPM   Apr 05, 2022 Announcement

This morning BPM came out of a trading halt having raised $3M via a well supported placement @21c per share to leading domestic institutional investors and high-net-worth investors. The placement also came with 1 free option that will be exercisable @28c with a two year expiry.

We like that the funds have been earmarked to drive “aggressive exploration” at the Hawkins lead-zinc Project, at which BPM has planned a 7,500m Air Core/Reverse Circulation drilling program later this month.

The shares from the capital raise will be issued as follows:

  1. $2.6M of the shares issued on 11 April.
  2. $400k of the shares + the options issued after shareholder approvals in May.

In our 2022 Investment Memo, we mentioned that the Hawkins Project which sits along strike Rumble Resources’ lead/zinc discovery in the Earaheedy Basin. We are primarily invested in BPM to see it attempt to replicate the success of Rumble in this part of WA.

The placement follows an announcement a few weeks ago, that BPM is moving forward with the 7,500 metre Aircore/RC drilling program that’s planned for mid-April.

As you can see, this drilling program was the primary objective that we wanted to see BPM achieve this year.

What’s next: we’ll be looking for confirmation that the drilling program has begun, ahead of any updates on drilling progress/results.

To see why we think the Hawkins Project is BPM’s best drilling prospect check out our previous note on BPM here.

Pilbara Minerals MD on why lithium prices will remain strong

Next Investors   Apr 05, 2022

We recently came across this presentation by Ken Brinsden the Managing Director of ASX listed Pilbara Minerals ($11 billion capped), one of Australia’s largest lithium exporters operating out of the Pilbara, WA.

The presentation had a lot of great insights into the future of the lithium market and the market dynamics at play right now. But one point that Ken Brinsden made really stood out to us.

When asked if the current lithium price could stay where it is, Ken replied that investment in midstream/downstream (manufacturing/battery industry) was far ahead of upstream (mining industry).

We have seen this with the major OEM’s including Tesla, VW, Daimler all making large capital investments in developing large scale battery manufacturing facilities, and in the case of the legacy automakers, making large commitments to electrifying their car fleets.

Ken highlighted that it takes 1-2 years to build out these facilities whereas it takes ~7 years to bring a new resources discovery into the production stage.

Ken also mentioned that he expects prices to remain high in the near future because the market will need to keep miners incentivised to bring new supply onto the market.

With lithium carbonate prices trading at ~US$78,000/t, up from ~US$13,000/t this time last year, Ken’s comments clearly highlight the structural supply/demand issues behind this move.

We hold a number of lithium exposures in our portfolio, and have been invested in these from way back when the lithium prices were below US$10,000/t.

Click on the company names below to read our 2022 Investment Memos to see why we continue to hold them in our portfolio and what we want to see achieved in 2022.

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) - Next Investors portfolio

  • Zero Carbon Lithium, development stage, EU (Germany)

European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) - Wise Owl portfolio

  • Development stage, European Union (Czech Republic)

Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Exploration Stage WA (Brazil)

Aldoro Resources (ASX:ARN) - Catalyst Hunter portfolio

  • Exploration stage (WA)

PUR share price up 100% in two days

ASX:PUR   Apr 04, 2022

Last Friday we saw PUR release some sampling results from its PGE-nickel-copper project in WA that sits close to Chalice Mining’s Julimar Project.

PUR has now put together a ~700m x 250m gold anomaly and has secured an air core drilling rig that will be used to test this anomaly later this month.

We first announced our investment in PUR in December 2020 hoping to see the company replicate the success Chalice had with its Julimar Project. The gold anomalies are unexpected at this project so we will be watching closely to see what comes of the aircore drilling program later this month.

With the broader market looking relatively strong of late, we suspect the unexpected news from PUR was the reason for the buying over the last two trading days.

At this stage, the auger samples are still far too early to tell if PUR are onto something, but the aircore drilling program should shed some light on what the company has come across.

Video: recent milestones & potential economic development

ASX:LCL   Apr 04, 2022

Our gold investment Los Cerros (ASX:LCL), which is focussed on the emerging global minerals hotspot Colombia, recently announced a maiden resource at its Tesorito prospect. This lifted total resources within the wider Quinchia Project to 2.6Moz gold, along with silver credits.

The company is well funded (over $17M in the bank) and is now progressing a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA - similar to an advanced scoping study) for Quinchia, expected in the 2H22. This will outline the economic case for development.

Managing Director Jason Stirbinskis has provided an insightful update to Crux Investors, covering LCL’s recent milestones alongside what is coming up next for LCL.

With LCL already ticking off the #1 objective that we wanted them achieve in 2022 by — delivering the maiden resource estimate at Tesorito, our attention turns to the next objective:

We know that the first hole has been completed, terminating at a depth of 1,205m downhole due to the rig reaching its depth capability, and that a second hole has already commenced (even prior to returning the assays from hole #1, which is typically a good sign). The first assay is expected in April, so readers can expect our commentary once the results are announced.

Additional drilling locations identified

ASX:GGE   Apr 04, 2022 Announcement

This morning our 2021 Catalyst Hunter Pick of the Year Grand Gulf Energy (ASX:GGE) announced that it had identified three new independent drilling prospects at its helium project.

The three new prospects came about after GGE reprocessed ~315km of historic seismic data and through the analysis of historical drilling data available over its project area.

These three new prospects come in addition to the Jesse prospect which GGE is now expecting to drill on 15 April. In the event of a successful drilling program, GGE plans to follow up with a second round of drilling in ~Q3 of this year.

GGE also confirmed that given the size of the Jesse prospect, on a successful discovery of a helium system it could quickly go back and drill into four different step out locations that were also picked up when analysing all the historical data.

With a helium offtake agreement already sorted with Paradox Resources, which owns the nearby Lisbon helium processing plant, GGE now has the optionality to expand the size of its project by drilling the new prospects.

The significance of all of this is that GGE is now approaching a milestone drilling program which could see the company go from explorer to producer (contingent on a successful well) and now has the exploration upside to increase its production capacity either through step out wells at the Jesse prospect or by drilling the newly identified independent prospects.

The upcoming drilling program is the primary objective that we want to see GGE achieve this year:

What’s next: GGE has now confirmed that the drilling program will commence on 15 April. All that's left before then is for the drilling permits to be granted.

Onshoring semiconductor manufacturing a top priority for the USA

ASX:GGE   Apr 04, 2022

Overnight we saw a tweet from Gina Raimondo, the US commerce secretary, that links to a video in which she talks about the importance of onshoring semiconductor manufacturing in the USA.

Secretary Gina Raimondo highlights how 20 years ago the US accounted for 40% of global semiconductor manufacturing, leading to innovation across the US tech sector.

Today, the US accounts for just 12% of global chip production and purchases ~90% of its high tech semiconductors from Taiwan.

Clearly the US government recognises the importance of being a leader in the semiconductor manufacturing industry and how critical establishing domestic supply chains will be for the US economy.

This is why we invested in and made US-based helium explorer Grand Gulf Energy (ASX:GGE), our 2021 Catalyst Hunter Pick of the Year.

Helium is required for the production of all semiconductors. It cannot be replaced with any other gas due to its unique properties as an “inert gas”.

The US government is now treating this as a critical issue and intends to invest over US$50B of government funds into chip manufacturing in a bid to maintain its edge over China. We think the demand domestically for the raw materials required to produce semiconductors will mean more demand for helium.

With its first drilling program expected in less than two weeks and a helium offtake agreement signed BEFORE the drilling program, GGE is approaching a potentially transformational moment as a junior exploration company, where it could go from explorer to producer. Read more about the offtake agreement and the upcoming drilling program here.

Of course this is contingent on a successful drilling program which always carries the risk of failing to make a discovery.

What’s next: We are now waiting for GGE to sort out its permitting before the expected drilling date in the middle of this month.

Fertiliser prices up further, MNB plant design finalised

ASX:MNB   Apr 04, 2022

Our fertiliser and food security investment, Minbos Resources (ASX:MNB) is poised to benefit from elevated fertiliser prices.

CEO of MNB, Lindsay Reed, commented on the price moves and what that means for the company on LinkedIn:

Like many other commodities, fertiliser has seen prices rise on the back of supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. Russia was the world’s top exporter of fertilisers in 2019 and is a key supplier of urea and potash.

Based in Angola, Minbos Resources is putting the pieces in place for a low cost, high return (IRR) phosphate project.

With production slated to begin in the first half of 2023, we think MNB could play a critical role in food security for southern Africa.

Below is breakdown of the economics of MNB’s phosphate project:

For a quick high level summary of why we invested in MNB, key objectives, risks and our investment plan - here’s our MNB Investment Memo.

What’s next: Rising fertiliser prices will improve the economics of MNB’s project, and we are expecting a definitive feasibility study (DFS) and a final investment decision in the coming months.

Major shareholder converts $1.2M in options @ 1.2c

ASX:LRS   Apr 01, 2022 Announcement

This morning LRS major shareholder Mr Jose Luis Manzano converted $1.2M in options at 1.2c, increasing LRS’s cash balance by $1.2M.

In our previous notes we mentioned that LRS had already managed to secure a financing deal with financier Lind for $2.5M. As part of that financing arrangement any options converted would be used to pay off the $2.5M loan, except for conversions made by LRS’ biggest option holder.

This means that the entirety of the $1.2M will sit in LRS’s bank account, instead of being used to pay down this debt facility.

With LRS confirming high grade lithium mineralisation in the first two holes of its drilling program, these funds can now be used to aggressively drill out the rest of the project area.

The market seems to like this news too with the share price hitting a high of 14.5c, while at the time of writing LRS is up 49%.

What’s next: LRS is now moving its drill rigs back towards its southern target where it will be doing infill and extensional drilling over the ~500m strike zone that was identified with the first 6 holes of this drilling program.

We also expect to see some more assay results and hope to see these confirm more high grade lithium.

Farm-in process restarted, new offers being considered

ASX:IVZ   Mar 31, 2022 Announcement

In our most recent note on IVZ, in which we covered IVZ’s 7x increase in acreage from 100,000 to 709,300ha at its Zimbabwe gas project, we flagged that its farm-in option with Cluff Energy Africa might be put up for renegotiation.

Today, IVZ confirmed that Cluff Energy Africa’s option to commit to a farm-in over the project had been extended to 30 April and that it expects an updated binding farm-in offer by then.

IVZ also said that it is already in discussions with “multiple parties for additional farm-in offers”. This is a good sign as it will create competition amongst those interested parties.

With the seismic data reviews also likely to be nearing completion and the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe now backing the project we suspect that companies that alot of parties that may have been waiting on some of the political/permitting risks to be addressed are now interested in the project.

Today’s announcement now sets 30 April as the deadline for the farm-in process to be finalised leading up to the two well drilling program scheduled for June.

What’s next: We want to see the seismic data processing and analysis finalised, well locations confirmed, and some binding farm-in offers in the lead up to the maiden drilling program in June.

To see the key reasons we continue to hold IVZ in our portfolio and what we want to see the company achieve this year, check out our 2022 Investment Memo here.

Assays received from WA nickel, copper, PGE project

ASX:MAN   Mar 31, 2022 Announcement

This morning MAN announced the assay results from the last EM conductor (Conductor C) which was drilled at its WA nickel, copper, PGE project.

The bad news first: the results returned low grade nickel mineralisation, similar to the first two EM conductors that were drilled over this project, with the following results:

  • 4m @ 0.37% nickel from 82m
  • 1m @ 0.33% nickel from 69m

The good news: MAN ran some downhole EM surveys as soon as drilling was finished and managed to locate an off-hole EM plate measuring ~80 x 20m with strong conductance of 8,750 siemens at a depth of ~125m below the ground.

Despite the conductor being relatively small in size it has a high siemens count, classifying it as having “strong conductivity”. This could at some stage provide an opportunity for MAN to come back and test this project.

As we outlined in our 2022 MAN Investment Memo, we are now more interested in seeing the company drill its newly acquired copper projects in Chile. We’re happy to see MAN confirm in today’s announcement that it will now move its corporate and exploration focus over to that project.

Our recently launched Investment Memo explains all of our reasons for holding MAN in our portfolio, what we want to see the company achieve in 2022, and the risks to our investment thesis.

Brisbane Mining & Energy Conf hosting EXR, FYI, AKN, TMZ & NHE

Next Investors   Mar 21, 2022

Several of our Portfolio Companies will be presenting at this week’s Brisbane Mining and Energy Conference on Wednesday and Thursday (23-24 March).

These conferences are great for investors to hear companies present their investment case and to talk directly to management.

We will be in attendance and look forward to updating our readers on key developments from these presentations and chatting to management.

For those interested, you can attend in person or online by registering here.

Halloysite drilling to commence this week

ASX:RAS   Mar 21, 2022

Today, RAS announced that its maiden air core drilling program would commence at its WA halloysite project, right next door to Latin Resources’ Halloysite-Kaolin deposit which has a 207 million tonne inferred mineral resource.

The 60 hole, ~1,750m drilling program is set to be done on a ~400m strike zone right along the border of RAS and Latin Resources’ grounds. The ultimate aim of the drilling program will be to delineate a maiden JORC resource over RAS’s grounds.

Drilling is expected to commence on Wednesday (23 March).

We set the drilling of RAS’s halloysite project as objective #1 in our 2022 Investment Memo for what we want to see RAS achieve this year. With drilling now expected to commence in the coming days we will be watching to see the results.

To see what else we want to see RAS achieve in 2022 and why we continue to hold RAS in our portfolio, check out our 2022 Investment Memo here.

All-in podcast highlights food shortage risks

ASX:MNB   Mar 21, 2022

The latest episode of one of our favourite podcasts dropped over the weekend (All-in podcast E72: Impact of sanctions, deglobalization, food shortage risks, macroeconomic outlook and more).

Discussed from ~15:21 onwards is how the sanctions on Russia and disruption to the global agricultural supply chain is placing the world at risk of food shortages in the coming years.

The key takeaway was the heightened risks to the food supply chains. And as investors in MNB, we found the podcast particularly interesting.

Scientist and investor David Friedberg lays out the three types of fertiliser needed to grow the world’s food and how supply chains for all three are being impacted by geopolitical tensions/sanctions. The three types of fertiliser are:

  • Nitrogen fertiliser (Ammonia based) - MNB are working on this.
  • Phosphorus fertiliser - MNB are working on this.
  • Potassium fertiliser

He also touches on how the prices of all three of these have shot up in recent months with Russia being a key supplier and placing restrictions on exports to the rest of the world as it tries to safeguard its food supplies.

What really stood out to us was Friedberg’s take on the price of nitrogen fertilisers. He mentioned that with almost all of the world’s nitrogen fertilisers being produced using natural gas, and the price of gas now almost double where it was last year, the costs of these nitrogen based fertilisers have become out of reach for some farmers.

This is why we are invested in MNB. Its phosphate fertiliser project is nearing development and it has plans to build a hydro-powered ammonia plant to produce zero carbon ammonia (used to produce nitrogen fertiliser).

Angola has the world’s second cheapest source of energy so our investment MNB is perfectly positioned to establish alternative sources of supply when the world most desperately needs it.

To see all of the reasons why we invested in MNB, and what we want the company to achieve in 2022, check out our 2022 Investment Memo here.

Drilling program going to plan on Alaskan North Slope

ASX:88E   Mar 18, 2022

88 Energy has updated the market on the drilling progress at its Merlin-2 well at Project Peregrine on the Alaskan North Slope.

Drilling this well was our key objective that we wanted to see 88E achieve in 2022, as outlined in our 2022 88E Investment Memo.

So far, the oil and gas junior has successfully drilled the Merlin-2 surface hole to 2,005 feet. 88E anticipates that all target zones will be intersected prior to reaching the permitted Total Depth (TD) of approximately 8,000 feet, which it expects to reach in two weeks time.

The company confirmed that operations are progressing as planned with the Arctic Fox rig scheduled to commence drilling ahead to the reservoir targets imminently.

Initial indications as to the prospectivity of the target zones at the Merlin-2 location will come from logging while drilling and mudlogging that’s being completed during the current drilling phase.

Further updates will be available after 88E reaches total depth, after which a sophisticated wireline logging program will be run, spanning a further 5-7 days.

As we mentioned in our Investment Memo, the reason that drilling Merlin-2 is our single key objective for 88E this year is that a discovery here would be a potential company maker, and put 88E on the radar of oil and gas majors in the area.

Keep in mind that 88E’s 652 million barrel prospective resource at Peregrine is analogues to the Willow Oil Field that is owned by Alaska’s leading oil producer, ConocoPhillips.

Drilling was completed at Merlin-1 in April 2021, demonstrating the presence of oil in multiple targets in the Nanushuk Formation. The Merlin-2 well was designed to appraise primary targets that were encountered in Merlin-1.

While the placement of the Merlin-1 well was suboptimal with respect to reservoir development, it is anticipated that Merlin-2 will reveal thicker and higher porosity/permeability formations.

There is a lot riding on the results here, plus they will help us determine what we want to see the company deliver for the rest of the year.

More assays from WA nickel project

ASX:ARN   Mar 18, 2022

Today, ARN announced that it had received assays from two diamond drill holes at the VC1 target that we wrote about in our last note. Peak results from the two assays were as follows:

  • 0.55m @0.87% Nickel, 0.14% Copper and 0.06% Cobalt from 109.45m.
  • 1.5m @0.76% Nickel, 0.29% Copper and 0.06% Cobalt from 150.05m.

Overall, we don’t think these are spectacular results. But it is still a sign that there is nickel in and around the targets that ARN was focussing on with its last round of drilling.

ARN will be following up these drill results with EM surveys which will form the basis for the next round of drilling.

But we are more focussed on the assay results from ARN's recently completed rubidium/lithium drilling program — a precursor for what ARN hopes could be a maiden JORC resource.

We set these drilling results and a potential maiden JORC resource from its rubidium/lithium project as two of the three objectives we want to see from ARN in 2022. To see all of the objectives and why we continue to hold ARN in 2022, see our 2022 Investment Memo.

Project update

ASX:VUL   Mar 18, 2022

Today VUL provided an update on its Zero Carbon Lithium project in Germany.

The first point covered was around the development works of its Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) demo plant. At this stage, ~80% of all of the equipment is ordered and off site prefabrication works have started. VUL is expecting the demo plant commissioning stage to begin in the middle of this year.

VUL also confirmed that its DLE pilot plant was still operating and showing lithium recovery rates averaging ~94-95%. Importantly, this is well above the recovery rates used in the 2021 Pre Feasibility Study (which was assuming 88-90% recovery rates). The change might not sound big but the incremental difference makes a huge difference to project economics.

VUL also announced that it had kicked off discussions with BNP Paribas who would be helping secure project financing after the completion of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) which VUL expects to be completed in the second half of 2022.

Overall today’s announcement directly speaks to our Objectives #1 and #2 for VUL, as per our 2022 Investment Memo, which can be viewed here.

In particular, we think that the lithium recovery rates are important and should feed through to improved project economics when that DFS is completed. The 2021 PFS which delivered a €2.25 billion NPV was estimated using a US$14,925 lithium hydroxide price, compared to current spot prices of ~US$78,000.

We think there's a strong chance that VUL puts together a DFS with improved project economics, and hope that this leads to eventual project financing to propel its Zero Carbon lithium project into the development stage.

Trading halt pending assay results

ASX:LNR   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.

Share Purchase Plan completed, shares now trading

ASX:ALA   Mar 17, 2022

The shares from ALA’s Share Purchase Plan (SPP) were issued to investors yesterday. Approximately 58m shares were issued @3.8c, raising a total of ~$2m, and we expected the share price to naturally come back down towards the capital raise price.

After peaking at ~4.5c — which represents an almost 15% profit for those who took shares in the SPP — the share price closed down ~9%. But this is completely normal with some of the shareholders who took up the offer looking to sell out for a quick profit.

The share price might trade sideways in the short term as SPP investors look to sell out for the quick profits. The positive is that when those investors sell, the buyers of those shares help to form a new base for the company’s share price.

We expect that with a new base for ALA’s share price and progress on the key objectives (as set in our 2022 Investment Memo) will see the price move in line with the company’s progress, as opposed to general market dynamics.

Below is an image of the objectives we want ALA to achieve in 2022:

Drilling completed at WA rubidium/lithium project

ASX:ARN   Mar 17, 2022

Earlier in the week, ARN announced that its 65 hole RC drilling program had been completed at its Niobe rubidium/lithium project.

With the majority of the drill holes making pegmatite intercepts, all eyes will be on the assays which ARN will be looking to convert into a maiden JORC resource. In our last note on ARN’s drilling program we set the following expectations for the assays:

  • Excellent: Average rubidium grades at or above the 0.15% upper range ARN set for its exploration target, with the project also proving out a lithium resource at the same time.
  • Good: Average rubidium grades above 0.07% and some indication of lithium mineralisation.
  • Poor: Average grades <0.07% rubidium and no lithium mineralisation in the assays.

We set this based on the exploration target that ARN had set based on analysis of historic drilling results: 33,000-150,000 tonnes of rubidium oxide grades ranging from 0.07% to 0.15%. ‘

The drilling program and the announcement of a maiden JORC resource are two of the three primary objectives we set for ARN to achieve in 2022. To see these and why we continue to hold ARN in 2022 view the memo here.

Major shareholder Silver Mines sells $206k in shares on market

ASX:TMZ   Mar 17, 2022

TMZ has confirmed that its major shareholder Silver Mines had sold $206k in shares on market at 6c per share, leaving them with ~58.6m shares (9.98% of TMZ).

With such a large shareholding we would prefer to see Silver Mines exit via a block trade whereby someone buys their entire shareholding via one transaction as opposed to continuous selling pressure on market, which may put downward pressure on TMZ’s share price.

Generally, major shareholders who own >5% of a company will need to lodge any changes to their shareholdings within ~2 business days. With the first sale being made on the 11 March we will be watching to see if Silver Mines continue to slowly sell on market over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, TMZ is working on updating its mineral resource estimates across its deposits as it aims to reach the milestone combined 100 million ounce silver JORC resource.

The updated resource estimates are objective #1 in our 2022 Investment Memo for TMZ, to view the remaining two objectives we have set for the company in 2022 click here.

High purity alumina added to government's critical mineral list

ASX:FYI   Mar 17, 2022

Yesterday the Australian federal government updated its “critical minerals strategy” documents and added two new minerals to the list - silica and high purity alumina.

The list of now 26 critical minerals are made up of those that are needed to manufacture high tech devices, military applications and, importantly, those needed to aid the transition towards a low carbon economy.

High purity alumina has several different industrial applications from glass to LED lights, more recently however it is starting to be considered a “critical” mineral due to its use in high energy density batteries such as those used in electric vehicles.

Our battery metals investment FYI is aiming to be the first to market to deliver high purity alumina using a new kaolin clay based process that is cleaner, purer, and much less expensive than traditional methods of alumina production. It is doing this via a partnership with US$14 billion global alumina giant, Alcoa.

With ESG considerations becoming more and more important and high purity alumina now recognised as a “critical mineral” we expect the market to become more interested in FYI’s tech.

Fed to take “aggressive” stance on inflation, gold to move up?

Next Investors   Mar 17, 2022

The gold price is sitting at US$1933/oz after The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by .25% - the first rate hike in three years and Jerome Powell flagged that The Fed would keep raising rates until they hit between 1.75% and 2%.

Below is a chart of the gold price with some key levels:

As the crisis in Ukraine kicked off, gold punched as high as ~US$2075/oz but retraced and bounced off the US$1900/oz mark.

The interesting thing to note here is that historically, gold thrives in a rate tightening environment.

We’ve noticed some lag in our gold stocks - as in they’re not moving with the gold price. But we think that the lag period may be close to ending.

These are the gold stocks in our portfolio:

Los Ceros (ASX:LCL) - This is why we invested

  • Gold, Exploration Stage (Colombia)

Tempus Resources (ASX:TMR) - This is why we invested

  • Gold, Exploration Stage (Canada, Ecuador)

Titan Minerals (ASX:TTM) - This is why we invested

  • Gold, Exploration Stage (Ecuador)

Ragusa Minerals (ASX:RAS) - This is why we invested (Catalyst Hunter Portfolio)

  • Gold, Halloysite Exploration Stage WA (Australia and Alaska)

Critical mineral processing nabs $243M in government grants

ASX:LNR   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.

Helium offtake agreement locked in early

ASX:GGE   Mar 17, 2022

GGE yesterday announced that it has partnered with Paradox Resources to explore future opportunities together in the helium space.

Paradox is a major player in the North American premium helium market with advanced processing capability. It owns the Lisbon helium processing plant located 20 miles north of the GGE’s helium project.

GGE points to the gas sales and offtake agreement with Paradox as further validation of the technical merit of its pure-play Red Helium Project, where it is targeting a gross prospective resource of 10.9 bcf.

The signed drill contract and offtake agreement provide line of sight to monetisation on success GGE’s maiden helium well, Jesse#1 which is scheduled for spud next month.

The company notes that this deal comes at a time when helium, one of the world’s most critically scarce commodities, is needed most.

We provided our take on the deal in a Note to Wise-Owl readers yesterday: GGE gets helium offtake BEFORE drilling, and explain how it relates directly to the third objective in our Investment Memo (Progress commercialisation of the gas resource) that we want to see GGE achieve in 2022.

More spodumene intercepts at its Brazilian lithium project

ASX:LRS   Mar 16, 2022

Today, LRS announced that it has intersected more spodumene bearing pegmatites in both drillhole no 5 and 6.

In our last note we wrote that the results from drillhole four would start to prove out whether or not a spodumene structure is getting bigger across its project. Today LRS announced that in that particular hole LRS returned ~36m of cumulative pegmatite intercepts with one intercept alone measuring ~17m.

LRS also confirmed that both holes five and six also made pegmatite interceptions with hole six still ongoing.

All of this means LRS has now put together a ~500m section of its total ~1.5km strike zone, confirming spodumene bearing pegmatite intercepts across the entire 500m southern section of the prospective strike zone.

Finally, LRS confirmed that the assays from drill holes one and two are expected within the next few weeks.

If those assays confirm the presence of high grade lithium across the structure then we think LRS will be in a strong position to potentially tick off objective #1 in our 2022 Investment Memo of putting together a maiden JORC resource for its Brazilian lithium project.

Heritage surveys ongoing at the Hawkins zinc/lead project

ASX:BPM   Mar 16, 2022

Yesterday, BPM announced that heritage surveys had commenced across its Hawkins zinc/lead project in the Earaheedy basin in preparation for the 7,500-metre air core drilling program, scheduled for ~early April.

We are not expecting BPM to make a discovery with the air core drilling program but instead want to see the company throw up enough follow-up drill targets to warrant deeper RC/diamond drilling later in the year.

In our 2022 Investment Memo, we highlighted that the Hawkins project was the main reason we continue to hold BPM in our portfolio, With the project sitting ~40km away from Rumble Resources (capped at $269M) Chinook discovery.

It has been a long time coming for the Hawkins project but today’s announcement is the final step before BPM can start to tackle objective #1 from our 2022 Investment Memo and begin exploration works across the project.

Drilling permit granted for Skuterud Cobalt project

ASX:KNI   Mar 15, 2022

Yesterday, KNI announced that drilling permits had been granted for a 7-hole, 2,800m diamond drilling program at its Skuterud cobalt project.

The drilling program which is expected to commence in the first week of May will be targeting three high priority EM conductors that we have covered in our last two notes for KNI.

To read about the EM target we are most interested in check out our previous note here: KNI Geophysics Unveils EM Conductor Under Historic Cobalt Mine

With previous drilling missing the EM conductor we are hoping that the modern exploration technologies KNI have used can mean KNI can make a large scale cobalt discovery.

Trading halt “significant commercial agreement announcement"

ASX:GGE   Mar 15, 2022

Yesterday morning we also saw our 2021 Catalyst Hunter Pick of the Year GGE go into a trading halt pending an announcement regarding a commercial agreement.

In our 2022 Investment Memo our third objective for “what we want to see GGE achieve in 2022” was for it to commercialise its helium resource. GGE had mentioned to the market that it was in negotiations regarding some sort of offtake agreement but we didn’t think this would come until at least after the first well was drilled.

With the company now in a trading halt it looks like GGE may have managed to secure something before its drilling program targeted for mid-April.

The market usually responds well when a positive announcement is early or unexpected.

Of course a “commercial agreement” is still very vague so we will be watching to see what GGE announces on/before Wednesday this week.

Fraser Range Nickel exploration update

ASX:GAL   Mar 15, 2022

Yesterday morning GAL put out an update across all of the exploration work ongoing at its Fraser Range project.

The key takeaways for us from today’s announcement was:

  1. 940m of RC drilling has been completed so far across one prospect.
  2. EM surveys progressing across three prospects as part of target generation works for future drilling programs.

Todays announcement confirms to us that GAL is actively working towards delivering objectives #1 and #2 that we set in our 2022 Investment Memo as “what we wanted to see GAL achieve in 2022”.

With EM surveying ongoing across three different parts of its Fraser Range project and an RC drilling program running concurrently GAL is setting itself up for a busy year across its Fraser Range project.

One of the primary reasons we continue to hold GAL in our portfolio is because the company is busy all year round with exploration work which increases the probabilities that a discovery can be made, todays announcement is more confirmation of this.

Lithium projects applied for in the Northern Territory

ASX:RAS   Mar 15, 2022

Yesterday, RAS announced that it had successfully applied for three exploration licences prospective for lithium next door to Core Lithium (capped at $1.8 billion) in the Northern Territory, AUS.

The exploration licence applications sit next door to Core Lithium's Finnis hard rock lithium project which has a JORC resource of ~15 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.3% lithium oxide.

RAS’s grounds sit on similar geological structures which adds another project into the RAS stable with neurology to much bigger companies, although given the project is made up of exploration licence applications it is still far too early to tell what RAS has on its hands.

The acquisition sits outside of our 2022 Investment Memo which is focussed on RAS’s WA hallyosite project and its Alaskan gold project.

We will however be watching to see if the lithium project throws up any interesting exploration targets, and we are pretty happy with the concept given how hot the lithium market is and how well Core Lithium has performed.

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