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Quarterly explorers round-up – what’s been happening in the small cap space?

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By Lorna Nicholas - 
Quarterly explorers report September 2022 ASX small cap

矿产和能源小型股勘探者在 9 月季度取得的主要成就回顾。


It was a busy September quarter in the small cap resource and energy spaces, with some major discoveries and project milestones achieved amid a strong outlook for most commodities.

With rapidly rising inflation and volatile markets, the junior gold space continued to shine.


Gold explorers making headlines in the September quarter included:

Kin Mining (ASX: KIN)

Kin Mining boosted the resource for its flagship Cardinia gold project in Western Australia’s Leonora district during the period.

Cardinia now has a resource of 34.5Mt at 1.27g/t gold for 1.41Moz.

This represented a 10% increase in contained ounces on the previous resource released in September 2021.

The company also managed to top up its cash reserves with a $13.7 million capital raising during the period to fund ongoing exploration and development of the project.

Kin managing director Andrew Munckton said the bulk of the resource update came from the highly prospective eastern corridor of the project including a maiden 95,000oz resource for the recently discovered Rangoon deposit.

“The eastern corridor remains the key focus for our ongoing exploration programs, with outstanding opportunity for further significant mineral resource growth,” Mr Munckton added.

Gascoyne Resources (ASX: GCY)

Miner Gascoyne Resources attracted investor attention during the September quarter as brownfields exploration continued to generate high-grade hits at the major Never Never gold discovery.

Never Never is immediately north of the main operating pit at Gascoyne’s Dalgaranga gold project in WA.

Recent drilling at Never Never returned highlights of 12m at 34.5g/t gold from 397m, including 0.47m at 643g/t gold. Another hole intercepted 39m at 4.6g/t gold from 233m, including 10m at 6.4g/t gold.

A maiden resource for the discovery was released in September of 79,600oz, with an update expected in the December quarter as drilling continues to generate broad and high-grade intercepts.

Gold production for the September quarter was 13,905oz, with the 13,950oz sold for an average A$2,548/oz.

For H1 FY2023, Gascoyne expects to produce 25,000-30,000oz gold.

Classic Minerals (ASX: CLZ)

Making “good progress” on its path to becoming a gold producer was Classic Minerals during the September quarter.

The company secured formal approval to begin mining from WA’s Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS). Classic is also working with DMIRS and other agencies to begin on-site processing using its Gekko plant.

Also, during the quarter, Classic entered into a binding terms sheet with Goldvalley Brown Stone – giving it $10 million in funding to help start mining.

In return for the $10 million, Goldvalley will receive 30% of net profits from gold sales.

Meanwhile, infill drilling at Kat Gap continued to generate high-grade gold hits with highlight results of 3m at 13.23g/t gold from 32m, including 1m at 17g/t gold from 34m; and 2m at 17.2g/t from 53m, including 1m at 19.9g/t gold from 53m.

Infill drilling is helping to finalise the pit design.

Test work on Classic’s modular processing plant continued during the period. Once final approvals are received, Classic will reassemble the plant on-site at Kat Gap in the current quarter.

Kalamazoo Resources (ASX: KZR)

Work at Kalamazoo Resources’ Ashburton 1.65Moz gold project in WA’s Pilbara has progressed.

The company completed an IP survey between the Mt Olympus and West Olympus pits and advanced resource update work along with a preliminary project development study.

With the recent discovery of lithium at Kalamazoo’s Dom’s Hill and Marble Bar projects in the Pilbara, a 4,000m drilling program was completed at those during the period.

Major lithium miner SQM is earning into the projects by sole funding a minimum of $12 million on exploration over four years.

Assays are pending from the program, along with those from a 2,500m campaign at Kalamazoo’s Mallina West gold project.

Other key developments for Kalamazoo during the September quarter included acquiring the Mt Piper gold project in Victoria and the Jingellic lithium asset in NSW.

New York-based Lind Partners also made a $3 million cornerstone investment in Kalamazoo, with funds to be used to accelerate its gold and lithium strategy.

Gateway Mining (ASX: GML)

It was a busy September quarter exploring the Montague gold project for Gateway Mining, with resources increasing to 526,000oz of contained gold.

Infill drilling at the Julias oxide discovery intercepted 11m at 6g/t gold from 58m; 4m at 6.1g/t gold from 30m; and 8m at 3.2g/t gold.

These results underpinned a maiden resource for Julias of 1.9Mt at 1.3g/t gold for 77,000oz.

Gateway is continuing to focus on new discoveries within 5km of existing resources at Montague to build its inventory.

Also, during the period, Gateway appointed former Westgold chief executive officer Deb Fullarton as the board’s non-executive chairperson. Ms Fullarton has been a non-executive director with Gateway since 20108.

Mining engineer Peter Lester also joined Gateway’s board as a non-executive director.

Emmerson Resources (ASX: ERM)

Following a 4,500m drilling program at its Golden Forty and Golden Forty East targets, Emmerson Resources expects assays later this year or early 2023.

Golden Forty and Golden Forty East are within Emmerson’s Tennent Creek landholding in the Northern Territory.

All holes from the program intersected magnetite-hematite ironstone, which is typically known to host iron oxide-copper-gold mineralisation.

Drilling also continued at Emmerson’s wholly-owned Hermitage project in the region, which returned thick and high-grade mineralisation.

A highlight intercept was 94.4m at 2.74% copper, 5.58g/t gold, 17.88g/t silver, 0.44% bismuth from 85m.

This comprised numerous higher-grade intervals including 21.6m at 4.11% copper, 25.91g/t gold, 74.89g/t silver and 1.83% bismuth from 157m, including 4.8m 19.44% copper, 214.39g/t gold, 103.8g/t silver, 13.75% bismuth and 0.12% cobalt from 164m.

Emmerson has been pioneering new technology and techniques in exploring the Tennant Creek region, which has led to the recent successes.

Further drilling and geophysical surveys across the landholding are expected to continue into 2023.

Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE)

Emerging gold producer Tietto Minerals remains on-track for first production before year-end from its flagship Abujar project in Cote d’Ivoire.

During the September quarter, on-site mine and infrastructure works advanced with crushing of ore scheduled to begin in mid-November, followed by milling in December.

Tietto remains fully funded to first gold, with a maiden gold pour scheduled for late December.

In parallel with mine and associated infrastructure development, Tietto is actively drilling the project to increase confidence in resources and discover new mineralisation.

Eight diamond rigs are on site and are on track to have completed 120,000m of drilling at the project in 2022.

Step-out drilling returned a highlight result during the September quarter of 4m at 24.73g/t gold from 85m, including 0.5m at 195.3g/t gold.

Notable infill drilling assays were 12m at 20.96g/t gold and 5m at 48.57g/t gold.

Alderan Resources (ASX: AL8)

A 22-hole drilling program was completed at Alderan Resources’ Mizpah oxide deposit, which is part of the Detroit project in Utah during the September quarter.

The deposit is 2km north of Alderan’s historical Drum gold mine, which produced 125,000oz gold between 1984 and 1989.

Assays have been received from the first six holes, with all hitting gold.

Highlight results were 21.3m at 0.69g/t gold from 3m, including 7.6m at 1.1g/t gold; and 42.7m at 0.76g/t gold from 18.3m, including 9.1m at 2.1g/t gold.

Remaining assays are expected in the coming weeks, along with results from a redrilled hole at Drum and infill soil sampling.

Alderan managing director Scott Caithness said the program had taken less than three weeks to complete and was “very cost effective”.

Rio Tinto’s subsidiary Kennecott has identified new high-potential copper targets at Alderan’s Frisco project in Utah. Kennecott is earning up to 70% of the asset by spending US$30 million on exploration over three stages in 10 years.

To fund its ongoing exploration at Detroit, Alderan raised $1.78 million via a placement and option entitlement offer.

Navarre Minerals (ASX: NML)

Producer and explorer Navarre Minerals generated 5,113oz gold, 73,126oz silver and 214t of copper during the September quarter from its Mt Carlton operation south of Townsville in Queensland.

Mt Carlton currently comprises an open pit mine (V2) and five potential satellite gold deposits. The site also has a 960,000tpa processing plant that can produce a polymetallic concentrate of gold, copper and silver. It can also generate gold dore.

Production during the quarter was sourced from V2, with 240,000t of ore mined grading 0.81g/t gold, 75g/t silver and 0.37% copper.

The project covers 815sq km of ground and hosts satellite ore sources at the Mount Carlton United, Telstra Hill and Crush Creek.

Post quarter, Navarre secured final approvals for mining to begin at Mount Carlton United.

The mid-year resource update also led to the company achieving global resources exceeding 1Moz gold equivalent, which was reported in October.

Other September quarter milestones comprised a maiden resource for the BV1 deposit, which totals 40,000oz gold and 116,000oz silver. It is the fifth potential satellite deposit announced by Navarre at the project in 12 months.

Throughout the remainder of FY2023, ore will be mined from V2, with the second half of FY2023 to include new higher-grade ore from Mount Carlton United.

Venus Metals (ASX: VMC)

With what it describes as a “significant portfolio” with varying minerals, Venus Metals’ most advanced asset is its 30%-owned Youanmi gold project which it holds in joint venture with Rox Resources.

A scoping study was recently completed on Youanmi, which was based on a resource of 27.9Mt at 3.57g/t gold for 3.2Moz.

The study assumes annual gold production of 71,000oz over an eight year mine life. Only 20% of the resource was included in the scoping study. Infill drilling at the asset will feed into further feasibility studies next year.

During the September quarter, Venus completed a reconnaissance field sampling program at its Mangaroon North project, which abuts Dreadnought Resources’ Mangaroon asset, which is host to several REE discoveries.

Venus is also exploring for REE at its Marvel Loch East project, which has 25km of potential strike. Using UltraFine technology, soil samples from the project returned up to 6,092 parts per million total rare earth oxides, including 702ppm neodymium.

Drilling at Venus’ Pincher Well copper-zinc prospect identified strong gold mineralisation along with the base metals.

Over at the Henderson project, Venus is exploring for lithium, gold and nickel. A phase two RC program was recently completed.

E2 Metals (ASX: E2M)

E2 Metals advanced its Conserrat gold and silver project in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province during the September quarter.

This comprised prioritising 21 regional targets for scout drilling, with preliminary works underway for the 2022-2023 field season.

Over at E2 Metals’ Western Rio Negro assets, also in Argentina, drilling concluded in August at the Rosillo project. Samples were submitted for secondary analysis via screen fire assays and results are due in November.

Sampling, mapping, and reconnaissance activities are underway across Rosillo Sur and Parades.

Additionally, a regional baseline sampling of pegmatites is being carried out to assess the lithium potential.

E2 Metals closed out the September quarter with $9.29 million in the bank.

E79 Gold Mines (ASX: E79)

More than 10,000m of aircore drilling was completed at Target 3 within E79 Gold Mines’ Laverton South project in WA’s Laverton gold district.

Target 3 is located on the Pinjin gold tenements, which were acquired from St Barbara. E79 secured full control of the land in July.

Results from the aircore drilling program will underpin a deeper RC program, which will begin in the December quarter.

“Surface samples were also taken at various locations at Laverton South to assist with future exploration programs, while at Jungar Flats in the Murchison, our tenement area was increased by 37% to 541sq km,” E79 chief executive officer Ned Summerhayes said.

Jungar Flats is E79’s second major project, and with the recent acquisition of extra land, it now covers 90km of strike of the prospective Big Bell Shear Zone in WA’s Murchison.

Alto Metals (ASX: AME)

Alto Metals says the September quarter was “outstanding” in relation to exploration success at the Indomitable Camp within its Sandstone gold project in WA’s east Murchison.

Step-out and extensional drilling at the Indomitable Camp returned many more shallow oxide gold hits.

Highlight results were 13m at 4.6g/t gold from 24m, including 1m at 31.8g/t gold from 27m; 44m at 2g/t gold from 58m, including 14m at 3.2g/t gold from 84m; and 4m at 9.1g/t gold from 83m, including 1m at 27.1g/t gold.

These intercepts were from the Indomitable and Indomitable North targets.

Over at Indomitable East, numerous holes hit gold with results to underpin a maiden resource.

Notable results from this target were 11m at 1g/t gold from 63m, including 4m at 2.1g/t gold from 70m; and 13m at 5.4g/t gold from 80m, including 3m at 16.7g/t gold.

Drilling also uncovered high-grade gold at the Musketeer prospect, with better results of 9m at 5g/t gold from 71m, including 1m at 15.3g/t gold from 74m.

Meanwhile, a review of historical drilling at the former Oroya Black Range and Hacks Reef Black Range mines within the project highlighted much more upside.

A historical intercept from Hacks Reef Black Range included 0.3m at 430g/t gold.

Resource and extensional drilling are continuing at Indomitable East. Once this is complete, the rig will be moved to Oroya Black Range to undertake 2,000m of drilling at historical high-grade targets.

Assays are expected from around 10,000m of drilling completed at Indomitable.

Kingston Resources (ASX: KSN)

Miner Kingston Resources achieved record production at its Mineral Hill operation in NSW during the September quarter.

Output from the mine was 3,359oz gold and 1,708oz silver.

In parallel, Kingston’s resource extension drilling at the mine returned “outstanding” results across three targets.

A highlight intercept from Pearson North was 12m at 3.68g/t gold and 9g/t silver, while the Southern Ore Zone (SOZ) yielded 39m at 1.1% copper, 0.7% lead, 0.8% zinc, 0.93g/t gold and 12g/t silver. The third area Jack’s Hut had a highlight assay of 77m at 0.93% copper and 0.16g/t gold from 7m.

Kingston managing director Andrew Corbett said the September quarter involved “significant achievements” across several work programs at Mineral Hill, which aim to establish a five-year mine life.

He noted Jack’s Hut is outside current reserves and resources and represents a new opportunity to add to mining inventory.

Drill results from the quarter will feed into updated resources and reserves, along with mine plans.

Over in Papua New Guinea, Kingston has nearly completed studies required for a mining licence for its Misima gold project. Additionally environmental and social impact assessment studies are being finalised for submission.

Kingston is also undertaking a strategic review of a range of funding and strategic options to develop Misima.

Kingston has secured a $10 million debt facility, with the first $5 million tranche drawn in July to fund the accelerated work programs at Mineral Hill.


Lithium explorers also had their time in the limelight, as analysts caution the commodity may be approaching its price peak, although, they expect it to remain at current elevated levels for at least the next 12 months.

Leading investment banks Goldman Sachs, Citi and Macquarie have offered predictions that the average lithium hydroxide price will command between US$41,318/t to US$58,465/t this year.

Explorers in the lithium space making headlines were:

ioneer (ASX: INR)

Emerging miner ioneer hit several milestones including inking binding offtake deals with “world-class” automakers.

ioneer is advancing its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada to a final investment decision.

Underpinning this was a binding offtake deal with Ford Motor Company, where ioneer will deliver 7,000tpa of lithium carbonate to the automaker over five years from Rhyolite Ridge.

Another deal was secured with Toyota Motor Corporation and Panasonic’s joint venture subsidiary Prime Planet Energy & Solutions.

Prime Planet has agreed to purchase 4,000tpa of lithium carbonate from the operation over five years.

The offtake deals follow one earlier in the year with EcoPro and all three represent the completion of ioneer’s pre-production supply commitments for its flagship asset.

In the coming months, ioneer will advance any outstanding permits for developing and operating Rhyolite Ridge, as well as debt funding agreements.

Power Minerals (ASX: PNN)

While it owns other critical mineral and gold assets, Power Minerals is focused on advancing its Salta lithium brine project in Argentina.

The company has made “strong progress” on a MoU with China’s Sunresin, which completed direct leach extraction (DLE) test work on brine samples from the project.

Test work indicated the brine was amenable to Sunresin’s DLE technology, which would eliminate the need for evaporation ponds and reduce future operating costs.

A geophysical survey over Salta identified potential lithium brines to build resources. This will feed into a resource drilling program.

Also in Argentina, Power is on the hunt for copper-gold at its Santa Ines asset. Results from maiden drilling at the project were revealed during the quarter and showed wide zones of near-surface copper had been hit.

Over in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsular, a first-phase drilling program delivered positive kaolin, halloysite and REE results.

Lake Resources (ASX: LKE)

David Dickson joined Lake Resources as chief executive officer during the September quarter. He was appointed to lead the company’s transition from lithium brine explorer through to producer from its Kachi project in Argentina.

At Kachi, Lake will use Lilac Solutions DLE technology, which has “significant” ESG benefits, a low carbon dioxide footprint as well as reduced water and land use requirements. The company expects to produce up to 50,000tpa lithium carbonate from Kachi.

During the September quarter, the project received indicative financing for 70% of the development costs from the UK Export Finance and Canada’s EDC.

The company completed installation of the Kachi demonstration plant and commissioning. Once lithium chloride has been produced at the plant, samples will be sent for conversion into lithium carbonate.

This will also support the Kachi definitive feasibility study and environmental impact assessment.

Also, during the quarter, Sean Miller was appointed to lead accelerated exploration at Lake’s three other lithium brine assets – Cauchari, Olaroz and Paso.

Lake closed out the quarter with $158.8 million in the bank to fund its plans.

Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN)

Galan Lithium progressed a resource upgrade for its Hombre Muerto West (HMW) lithium brine project in the September quarter.

The project is located in Argentina’s Catamarca Province and a “spectacular” 158% increase to the resource was announced in October.

HMW’s resource now contains 5.8Mt of lithium carbonate equivalent grading 866mg/l. Of this, 4.4Mt has been classified as measured.

Galan managing director JP Vargas de la Vega said the resource update had “amazed” the team.

“The outcome is game changing in terms of the step-up in the overall technical and economic potential of this world-class lithium brine asset.”

The resource will be included in a definitive feasibility study for HMW, which is due to be completed in the March quarter.

Back in WA, Galan announced in August it had discovered new pegmatites at the Greenbushes South hard rock lithium project.


The uranium space was also popular during the quarter as the world struggles with energy shortages and a transition to net zero.

Ongoing sanctions against Russia for waging war in the Ukraine have reinforced the importance of uranium as reliable base-load energy.

As a result of both the global shift to net zero and tight energy supplies, the outlook for uranium continues to strengthen, with several ASX-listed explorers fast-tracking their assets to take advantage of this forecast, including:

Boss Energy (ASX: BOE)

Describing itself as Australia’s next uranium producer is Boss Energy, which plans to generate first uranium from its Honeymoon project in 12 months’ time.

The September quarter heralded numerous milestones for the South Australia-based project, which culminated in key approvals to restart the mine, which covered an updated program for environmental protection and rehabilitation in early October.

At Honeymoon, Boss can now produce up to 3.3Mlb of uranium a year and expand its mining footprint to increase the operational life.

As part of the project restart, 34 of the planned 86 pre-start wells were completed at Honeymoon during the September quarter.

Drilling also continued at Honeymoon to build on its current resource of 71.6Mlb uranium.

There was “solid construction” progress across the project site, and orders were placed for long-lead items.

Elevate Uranium (ASX: EL8)

Namibia focussed uranium explorer Elevate continues work at its Koppies project.

The Koppies project has a current resource of 20.3Mlb, which includes the Koppies 1 and Koppies 2 deposits.

During the September quarter, Elevate confirmed it had extended the mineralised envelope by 10km northeast of the existing Koppies 2 resource.

All five drill lines intercepted uranium exceeding 100ppm at the new area, which has been called Koppies 3.

A second rig was transported to the project in late September to better-explore the Koppies 3 discovery and surrounding areas.

Mineralisation was also identified at the Capri tenement in October, which is 35km northwest of Elevate’s flagship Marenica uranium project, which has a resource of 61Mlb uranium.

The Capri discovery hosts a 16km zone of continuous uranium mineralisation.

In addition to its Namibian uranium tenements, Elevate has several projects in Australia. A preliminary soil survey trial was completed at the Angela project in Alice Springs during the September quarter, with results expected to guide a tenement-wide survey.

Lotus Resources (ASX: LOT)

Lotus Resources unveiled the restart definitive feasibility study for its Kayelekera uranium project in Malawi, which was a key achievement during the September quarter.

The study estimated a quick 15-month development period with a low capital cost of US$88 million. According to Lotus, the capital cost ranks Kayelekera assets as one of the lowest capital cost uranium projects in the world.

Average production of 2.4Mlb uranium per annum over a 10-year mine life is forecast.

Underpinning the development is a reserve of 15.9Mt at 660ppm uranium for 23Mlb.

Additionally, compared to its historical operation, Lotus has curbed expected carbon dioxide emissions by more than 72% for the asset.

In early September, Lotus completed a $254 million placement to accelerate progress at Kayelekera.

Laramide Resources (ASX: LAM)

Uranium focused Laramide Resources is eagerly awaiting assays from a two-phase district-scale diamond drilling program across its Westmoreland asset in Queensland.

Laramide describes Westmoreland as a “company maker” project that was previously owned by Rio Tinto.

With 51.9Mlb of contained uranium, Westmoreland is one of the world’s largest undeveloped uranium deposits that isn’t under the control of a major player.

A second phase exploration drilling program is underway at Westmoreland and is targeting the Longpocket satellite prospect.

Laramide is also advancing its other uranium assets in the Northern Territory, and the US.

At its Churchrock project in the US, planning has been completed for a hydrology and mineral resource program that will assist with initiating a preliminary economic assessment and fulfil permitting requirements.

Critical and industrial minerals

Critical minerals are also attracting investor and government attention worldwide as countries scramble to shore up domestic supplies to avoid dependence on China and Russia.

These minerals are vital in the technology required to transition to net zero, maintaining industry, and ensuring sovereign independence.

Many explorers with critical minerals progressed their projects during the September period, such as:


One explorer with an advanced critical mineral project is TNG. The company’s flagship Mount Peake asset has major project status from the Australian Government.

At Mount Peake, TNG plans to develop a fully-integrated mining and processing operation to generate three high-value products for export: vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment and iron oxide.

During the September quarter, the company secured conditional letters of support and interest amounting up to $800 million in debt funding. The support and interest came from Australian, German and Korean government sources.

Clough Projects Australia progressed an updated equipment pricing and expenditure estimate for the operation, while technical reports for the environmental impact assessment are “well advanced”.

TNG has also engaged Metso Outotec to assess the use of hydrogen reduction and its technology into the process flowsheet.

As TNG moves into the development phase, there was also a board reshuffle during the September quarter including appointing Neil Biddle as non-executive chairman, and Dr Anthony Robinson and Rowan Johnston as non-executive directors.

The search for a new chief executive officer is underway.

Revolver Resources (ASX: RRR)

Revolver Resources continued its exploration momentum at its Dianne copper project in Queensland.

The project hosts one of the world’s highest-grade historical copper mines, with a remaining orebody.

When operational between 1979 and 1983, 63,758t of ore was mined from Dianne, with copper grades averaging at 22.7%.

During the September quarter, a major new conductive EM anomaly was pinpointed beneath the existing Dianne deposit.

Other geophysical surveys across the project also showed numerous “exciting” anomalies for follow up at the project.

In the coming months, Revolver is undertaking a systematic testing program at the project – comprising one to two diamond drill holes per target followed by down hole EM surveys and associated step-out drilling.

Revolver also owns the Osprey project in Queensland, which is prospective for iron oxide-copper-gold.

Evaluation of previous drill core during the September quarter showed a “clear iron oxide-copper-gold deposit signature”.

Genmin (ASX: GEN)

It was another “landmark quarter” for Genmin as it advanced its Baniaka and Bakoumba iron ore tenements in Gabon.

The company secured a US$10 million cash payment from Anglo American during the September quarter as part of a royalty agreement.

Meanwhile, workstreams for the Baniaka pre-feasibility study progressed, with results expected in early November.

The study is assessing a bulk, open pit mining operation at Baniaka that would initially produce 5Mtpa of iron ore products, with potential to expand this to 10Mtpa.

A 3,000m resource definition program at Bakoumba, which is also in Gabon, continued during the period.

Genmin has pegged up 5,000sq km of tenements in Gabon that are prospective for iron ore.

Heavy Minerals (ASX: HVY)

Heavy Minerals closed out a “significant” September quarter, with results from a scoping study released for its Port Gregory project north of Geraldton in WA.

Non-executive chairman Adam Schofield said the scoping study for Port Gregory indicates it has the potential to become a “world class producing asset”.

The study gave the project a $253 million net present value, with a 16-year mine life – generating 141,000tpa of garnet and 6,000t of ilmenite.

Life-of-mine revenue of $1.59 billion was forecast after an $110 million capital expenditure to develop the asset.

Metallurgical test work on Port Gregory ore also produced “highly encouraging” results.

Heavy Minerals will undertake a 4,600m aircore infill and extensional drilling program at Port Gregory in the current quarter to upgrade the resource. A maiden drilling program is also planned at the recently discovered Red Hill prospect.

Group 6 Metals (ASX: G6M)

Emerging tungsten producer Group 6 Metals has revealed it expects more “robust returns” than originally forecast for its flagship Dolphin mine on Tasmania’s King Island.

Following a comprehensive review of the project’s economics, the asset’s NPV has risen 24% to $300 million on the original December 2020 forecast.

During the September quarter, construction activities at the site remained on-track for first tungsten concentrate production in the March quarter of next year.

Highlight achievements during the period including completing civil works and a “significant increase” in equipment installation work.

Group 6 managing director and chief executive officer Keith McKnight said the market fundamentals for tungsten were “increasingly positive”.

“There is an anticipated shortage of tungsten concentrate in 2023 due to increasing demand and limited new supply coming online.”

“The price for APT has remained stable at US$335-340 per metric tonne unit of tungsten, for much of the last six months and given the current AUD: USD exchange rate, is the highest APT price in Australian dollar terms since the mine last operated.”

Group 6 plans to build the mine life at Dolphin with drilling to begin at the Investigator targets in the current quarter.

Cyprium Metals (ASX: CYM)

During the September quarter, Cyprium Metals progressed the financing process for its Nifty copper restart.

The company is targeting $240-260 million in a debt funding package to finance the project restart.

Cyprium managing director Barry Cahill said the project was “in a state of readiness” for construction then commissioning through to first production.

He noted positive discussions, due diligence activities, documentation and term negotiations were continuing with numerous potential financiers.

“We look forward to commencing construction post finance, then producing and shipping copper metal, not ore or concentrate, but LME Grade A copper metal cathode, in the north of Western Australia,” Mr Cahill said.

Commissioning is targeted for the first half of 2024, and once operational, the project will deliver 146,100t of copper plate during phase one.

Nifty has 940,200t of contained copper resources, with 84% classified as measured and indicated.

At present, Cyprium is undertaking optimisation of the pit shape against the current resource.

Cyprium is also exploring for copper at its Nanadie Well (copper-gold) and Maroochydore (copper-cobalt) projects.

Nimy Resources (ASX: NIM)

Nickel focused explorer Nimy Resources’ September quarter activities involved advancing its Mons project in WA, with work comprising interpreting EM surveys and completing diamond drilling at the Dease and Godley targets.

At Godley, drilling intercepted 368m at 0.14% nickel and 25.72% manganese; and 427m at 0.14% nickel and 26.03% manganese.

Anomalous nickel was also uncovered at Dease, with one hole intercepting 226m at 0.16% nickel and 22.49% manganese.

The company has identified further gossan outcrops for testing up to 5km north and 10km south of the Dease gossan discovery.

A consultant was recently engaged to consolidate and review all available geophysical data to determine further EM anomalies.

Nimy’s Mons project encompasses 2,456sq km of tenements in WA’s Yilgarn Craton.

Eclipse Metals (ASX: EPM)

Work during the September quarter led to Eclipse Metals kicking-off a maiden drilling program at its Ivittuut project in Greenland in early October.

The program is targeting the Ivigtut and Gronnedal prospects within the project and is searching for REE, and base metals.

Also, during the September quarter, Eclipse engaged an international consultancy group to begin environmental and social impact assessments for Ivittuut. This work will assist Eclipse in securing a mining licence.

In addition to the drilling program, Eclipse is conducting near mine-site investigations at Ivigtut including sampling of remnant waste dumps to access cryolite, fluorite and base metals, along with REE and lithium.

Ivittuut was previously the world’s largest known naturally occurring cryolite mine, which was exploited between 1865 and 1985.

NickelX (ASX: NKL)

Heritage and program of works approvals were granted to NickelX during the quarter, paving the way for a maiden diamond drilling program at Cosmos South in WA’s world class nickel producing Wiluna Greenstone Belt.

Cosmos South is only 10km from IGO’s Cosmos nickel operation and 20km from BHP’s Leinster nickel mine.

Drilling kicked off at Cosmos South in October and will total 1,500m with a focus on FLEM and MLEM conductors at the CS1 target.

Results will be released as soon as they become available.

Also during the period, NickelX agreed to acquire the Dalwallinu nickel-copper-PGE asset in WA’s Yilgarn.

The company is focused on discovering Julimar-style mineralisation at the new project.

Additionally, $2.25 million was raised post quarter to fund exploration plans.

Aston Minerals (ASX: ASO)

Aston Minerals’ Bardwell prospect has continued to grow, with drilling extending the known strike to 2,000m and mineralisation remaining open at depth and along strike.

A total of 44 holes were drilled into the 2,000m strike, with results to feed into a resource.

Better drill results included a 149.5m intercept grading 0.36% nickel and 0.012% cobalt. Additionally, metallurgical test work has confirmed the mineralisation is amenable to conventional processing.

As well as firming up Bardwell, Aston is calculating a nickel-cobalt resource and exploration target for the Boomerang prospect within the project. Drilling at Boomerang intercepted 163m at 0.52% nickel.

Bardwell and Boomerang are part of the Edleston project in Ontario, Canada. The project is surrounded by major deposits, key infrastructure and is also prospective for gold.

As well as determining nickel resources, Aston is developing estimates for the gold mineralisation at Edleston, including exploration targets for gold at Edleston Main and Sirola Zone.

BBX Minerals (ASX: BBX)

The September quarter saw BBX Minerals reanalyse 20 drill holes from its Três Estados project in Brazil.

Reanalysed drill core led to a maiden resource for the Adelar prospect within the project, which was unveiled in October.

The resource contains 590,300oz combined platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium and gold, and mineralisation remains open at depth and to the east and west.

This maiden resource is for a 31ha area, which makes up only 8% of the known gabbroic bodies at Três Estados.

BBX chief executive officer Andre J Douchane said the presence of rhodium and iridium have contributed significantly to the average weighted price per ounce of Adelar’s PGM suite.

Mr Douchane said the company was “extremely pleased” with the work completed in the quarter.

The company is now reanalysing remaining drill core from the Ema and Três Estados prospects – with all holes to have been assayed using BBX’s proprietary process by the end of the March quarter.

Dreadnought Resources (ASX: DRE)

Dreadnought Resources continued drilling its wholly-owned Mangaroon REE project in WA during the September quarter.

During the period, 13,725m of RC and 1,100m of diamond drilling were completed.

At the Yin Ironstone Complex, assays have confirmed thick high-grade REE over 3km of the 16km trend.

Highlight results were 54m at 2.07% TREO from 24m; 43m at 0.93% TREO from 6m; and 30m at 1.82% TREO from surface.

RC drilling is now underway across the C1-C5 carbonatite targets within the project, where visible mineralisation has already been identified.

Outcropping REE has also been noted at 22 targets across Mangaroon, with mapping and sampling at a further 100 targets continuing.

Also, during the September quarter, Dreadnought confirmed that major miner First Quantum Minerals was earning into the Mangaroon nickel-copper-PGE tenements in the region. These are separate from Dreadnought’s REE land.

Investigator Resources (ASX: IVR)

A major milestone for Investigator Resources during the September quarter was the discovery of REE at its Apollo prospect in South Australia.

The silver focused explorer revealed drilling at Apollo had intercepted 15m at 3,221ppm TREO and 1,099ppm MREO from 66m, including 9m at 4,700ppm TREO and 1,772ppm MRE from 72m.

Investigator says the high value MREO is “significant” and has begun a round of scoping metallurgical test work to better understand the mineralisation, with results expected in the current quarter.

Drilling also uncovered 8m at 1,262g/t silver from 149m, including 1m at 6,530g/t silver.

Apollo is 4km northwest of Investigator’s flagship Paris silver deposit, which has a resource of 18.8Mt at 88g/t silver and 0.52% lead for 53.1Moz silver and 97,600t lead.

Investigator is currently completing a definitive feasibility study for the deposit, with exploration underway across its wider landholding in the region.

Regional exploration is designed to support the economics of Paris, with silver, zinc and lead also identified at Ares, Helen East and Diomedes prospects.

Further resource drilling has been planned for the Paris project, with assays expected from early-stage exploration at the Curnamona tenement package, which is also in South Australia.

iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM)

Another South Australian explorer is iTech Minerals, which is actively searching for REE, kaolin, halloysite and graphite across its broad landholding.

A highlight during the period was metallurgical test work on a bulk sample of ore from iTech’s Campoona graphite project. The test work produced a high purity fine flake graphite that was successfully refined and spheronised to create a high-quality battery grade spherical graphite.

Campoona has a resource of 8.55Mt at 9% total graphitic carbon (TGC) and comprises a granted mining lease and multipurpose licences for processing infrastructure and ground water extraction.

iTech is evaluating the best way to produce “green graphite” from the project using renewable energy.

During the quarter, iTech generated an exploration target for the Sugarloaf prospect within Campoona of 158-264Mt grading 7-12% TGC.

iTech will continue to firm up the prospect and other targets within the project.

At its Eyre Peninsula landholding drilling at the Caralue Bluff REE-kaolin prospect has led to an exploration target of 110-220Mt at 635-832ppm TREO and 19-22% aluminium oxide.

Koba Resources (ASX: KOB)

Koba Resources focused on its Blackpine cobalt-copper project in the US during the September quarter as part of its strategy to support the electric vehicle revolution and the world’s path to net zero.

Blackpine is located in Idaho close to the Blackbird cobalt district and the historical Blackbird mine. It is also near Jervois’ Idaho cobalt operation, where commissioning began in October.

During the quarter, Koba delineated multiple strong IP anomalies over 4km of strike at Blackpine, which correlate with limited previous exploration that returned anomalous cobalt and copper.

A diamond drilling program was completed at Blackpine during the period that tested shallow IP targets and extensions to known mineralisation. Assays are expected in the current quarter.

The company has submitted applications to drill other high priority targets at the project, with approval anticipated early next year.

A maiden drilling program was also completed at Koba’s Colson copper-gold-cobalt project in Idaho, with assays from this also pending.

Post quarter, Koba shouldered into the North American lithium space with the acquisition of the Whitlock project in southern Manitoba.

The project is immediately along strike of Canada’s only operating lithium mine, Tanco, and other major deposits.

Extensive pegmatites have been mapped at Whitlock and the company is undertaking a detail review of all available data and will completed mapping and sampling to firm up drill targets.

Mamba Exploration (ASX: M24)

Multi-commodity explorer Mamba Exploration progressed exploration at its projects in WA’s north.

The company undertook surface sampling at the Copper Flats in the Kimberley.

Field validation at Area 4 within Copper Flats involved collected samples where previous rock chips had graded up to 30% copper and 275g/t silver. Assays are pending form the program. Additionally, a 2,600-point soil sampling program was completed at the Ord Hill prospect within the project, with assays also pending.

Initial field investigations were also completed at the Ashburton gold project in WA’s eastern Gascoyne.

Mamba has an option to acquire The Don project in the Kimberley, which is prospective for REE and gold. Field investigations were carried out during the period to evaluate the project’s potential.

In WA’s Great Southern region, Mamba is gearing up to drill the Calyerup Creek gold project where drilling early in the year uncovered 15m at 2.2g/t gold from 1m, and 15m at 2.08g/t gold from 3m.

Upcoming work will also include a fixed loop EM survey at the Darling Range nickel, copper, PGE project near Toodyay in WA.

New World Resources (ASX: NWC)

Ongoing drilling at New World Resources’ Antler copper project in Arizona returned a best assay of 26.8m at 7% copper equivalent during the September quarter.

This single hole comprised 10.8m at 2% copper, 6.7% zinc, 0.7% lead, 22.6g/t silver and 0.2g/t gold from 934m (10.8m at 4.5% copper equivalent); and 15.9m at 4.8% copper, 10.9% zinc, 0.8% lead, 42.6g/t silver and 0.52g/t gold from 948.8m (15.9m at 8.7% copper equivalent).

The intervals were from the deepest hole drilled into the South Shoot, where mineralisation remains open at depth.

Drilling at the Main Shoot intersected high-grade mineralisation in the deepest hole completed at the entire project to-date.

The Main Shoot now has continuous mineralisation from outcrop at surface to more than 1,000m at depth, and remains open.

Also, during the September quarter, New World completed an IP survey over high-priority geochemistry targets across 6km of strike at Antler.

Once the data has been processed, further drill targets will be planned.

To fund its ongoing exploration, New World completed an $8 million placement during the period.

Peel Mining (ASX: PEX)

Peel Mining has continued resource growth drilling at the Wirlong prospect within its South Cobar project in NSW.

During the September quarter, a round of extensional and infill drilling was completed at Wirlong with highlight assays of 16m at 3.01% copper and 5g/t silver from 613m; 48m at 1.4% copper and 2g/t silver from 573m; and 23.05m at 2.1% copper and 8g/t silver from 267.95m, including 3.83m at 6.01% copper and 23g/t silver from 281.79m.

Assays for 16 final holes are pending, with copper mineralisation remaining open along strike and down plunge.

Once all assays are at hand, they will be incorporated into a resource update for the South Cobar project.

The project’s resources are made up from the Mallee Bull, Wirlong and Southern Nights-Wagga Tank deposits.

Mallee Bull’s estimate totals 6.76Mt at 2.6% copper equivalent, while Wirlong’s currently stands at 2.45Mt at 2.4% copper and 8.7g/t silver, and Southern Nights-Wagga Tank’s is 4.95Mt at 5% zinc, 2% lead, 78g/t silver, 0.3% copper and 0.4g/t gold.

Peel had $16.83 million in the bank at the end of the period to fund its ongoing exploration and development.

QMines (ASX: QML)

It was a busy September quarter for QMines as drilling continued at its flagship Mt Chalmers copper project, which is 17km northeast of Rockhampton in Queensland.

The project hosts the historical high-grade Mt Chalmers mine that produced 1.2Mt at 3.6g/t gold, 2% copper and 19g/t silver between 1898 and 1982.

Resource definition continued at Mt Chalmers during the period and kicked-off at the Woods Shaft target.

All-up, 26 holes for 4,456m were completed at the project with highlight results of 37m at 2.86% copper equivalent from 118m, including 4 mat 17.3% copper equivalent from 145m; and 25m at 1.65% copper equivalent from 81m, including 3m at 7.3% copper equivalent from 100m.

Post quarter, results from 11 holes at Woods Shaft were announced, with notable hits of 37m at 3.6% copper equivalent, including 4m at 8.26% copper equivalent from 30m; and 58m at 1.26% copper equivalent from 15m, including 10m at 5.26% copper equivalent from 38m.

Assays are still pending for several holes.

Results from drilling will feed into an updated resource for Mt Chalmers and a maiden one for Woods Shaft.

The current resource for Mt Chalmers totals 5.8Mt at 1.04% copper, 0.62g/t gold, 5.16g/t silver, 0.2% zinc and 0.08% lead.

Other work for the project during the quarter involved updating the geological model, collating and reviewing all available data and completing an DHEM survey.

A $2 million placement was also completed to fund accelerated exploration.

Recharge Metals (ASX: REC)

Another copper explorer Recharge Metals confirmed “significant mineralisation” at its Brandy Hill South project during the September quarter.

Assays from diamond drilling at Brandy Hill South returned copper, nickel and silver mineralisation.

A review of previous RC drill results identified nickel, with intercepts of 34m at 0.25% nickel from 72m; and 25m at 0.29% nickel from 32m.

Three diamond holes at Brandy Hill South uncovered 93m at 0.35% copper from 209m, including 0.3m at 2.66% copper; 42.1m at 0.26% nickel from 96.9m, including 1m at 1.41% copper from 200m; and 234m at 1.5g/t silver from 159m, including 1.2m at 18g/t silver from 173m.

Drilling began in September to test high-order conductors at the project, which were identified from DHTEM surveys, with assays pending.

Results from rock chip sampling are also expected in the current quarter.

Stavely Minerals (ASX: SVY)

Stavely Minerals advanced its projects in Western Victoria, which are prospective for a range of minerals including REE, copper and gold.

The September quarter saw the company plan exploration programs for either the current quarter or the March quarter next year – depending on ground conditions.

Planning follows a review of regional and near-resource opportunities.

The company engaged porphyry expert Dr Steve Garwin to review of the Stavely project, including the Cayley Lode.

Dr Garwin’s review included a site visit to examine drill core, as well as evaluating geochemical and geophysical datasets. Dr Garwin’s report on the review will be published on the website once available.

During the September quarter, Stavely topped up its cash reserves with a $4 million placement and a $5.3 million share purchase plan.

The funds will be used for the next phase of exploration and resource definition drilling at the Stavely project.

Taruga Minerals (ASX: TAR)

On the hunt for copper and REE in South Australia is Taruga Minerals and it has $650,000 in funding from the state government to pursue its exploration.

The state government funding has been granted for REE and copper exploration at the flagship Mt Craig project, which hosts 34km of prospective strike.

Clay-hosted REE have already been discovered at the Morgan’s Creek prospect within the project with up to 0.91% TREO (9,082ppm) identified.

Highlight intercepts comprise 43m at 1,687ppm TREO from surface to end of hole (40% MREO), including 1m at 9,082ppm TREO from 13m (44% MREO); and 14m at 2,979ppm TREO from 29m to end of hole, including 2m at 7,052ppm TREO from 29m (42% MREO).

Mineralisation remains open and there are large expanses of strike that remain untested. Upcoming work will involve optimising the commercial flowsheet through metallurgical testing and planning further drilling and developing a maiden resource before the end of the June quarter.

Also during the September period, Taruga picked up the 491sq km Curnamona project close to Mt Craig in South Australia.

The project is believed prospective for REE and copper and the company is seeking joint venture partners to advance the asset.


With the world facing an energy crisis, several oil and gas explorers progressed assets that hope to fill the supply gap – particularly on Australia’s east coast.

Meanwhile, aspiring hydrogen producers and also made headway at their respective assets.

Vintage Energy (ASX: VEN)

With first gas expected in December, Vintage Energy plans to supply the east coast for many years from its Vali and Odin fields in Queensland’s Cooper Basin.

Vintage has a 50% stake in both fields and is operator of the joint venture, with partners Metgasco (ASX: MEL) and Bridgeport, each owning remaining 25% interest.

Vintage managing director Neil Gibbons said interest in the company’s gas had “never been higher” during the September quarter.

“We are focussed on getting our gas to market, first from Vali this year and then Odin. Our efforts for the quarter have seen both projects move forward.”

“The Vali gas wells are completed and ready for production on connection.”

The well completion campaign began in July and finished in August, with Vali-1 ST1, Vali-2 and Vali-3 ready for future gas production.

Mechanical handover is expected in December, with first gas later that month. Well completion was also completed at Odin-1 on an adjacent permit, with gas sales from this well anticipated in the second half of next year.

Vintage has contracted 9-16PJ of gas to AGL from first production from Vali through to the end of 2026 – representing between 9-16% of the field’s proved and probable reserves.

“The coming months promise to be significant for the company and our shareholders as we complete the work to enable what we expect will be the first of many years of gas supply from Vintage to energy users in eastern and southern Australia,” Mr Gibbons added.

Blue Energy (ASX: BLU)

Also exploring in Queensland is Blue Energy with its ATP-814 in the north Bowen Basin.

During the quarter, Blue kicked-off a well appraisal program at the Sapphire Block within the permit.

The program involves drilling two pilot wells (Sapphire 5V and Sapphire 6V), with each comprising four separate lateral wells.

Each lateral well is accessing an individual coal seam and intersects its respective pilot well, which acts as the water producers.

Sapphire 5V and Sapphire 6V will aid the lateral wells in metering and measuring gas flow from each coal seam to enable better allocation of seam reserves.

During the quarter, the Sapphire 5V was largely completed and the Sapphire 6V set is currently being finalised.

Silver City Drilling is undertaking the well appraisal program, which aims to firm up gas resources and reserves for eventual supply to the east coast market.

In July, Blue raised $20 million to fund its activities at ATP-814.

Montem Resources (ASX: MR1)

A pre-feasibility study was completed in July for the pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) and green hydrogen electrolyser elements of Montem Resources’ proposed Tent Mountain renewable energy complex (TM-REX) in Canada.

During the September quarter, Montem progressed work at Tent Mountain in Alberta where it is looking to convert the historical coal mine into a renewable energy complex.

The project includes developing a 320MW/2,560MWh PHES, a 100MW green hydrogen electrolyser and a 100MW offsite windfarm.

Montem has begun the process to sell up to 50% of the PHES project component, with managing director Peter Doyle saying this is expected to complete before the end of the year.

“On the back of releasing results for the TM-REX prefeasibility study release, Montem raised $1 million to institutional and sophisticated investors, and completed a non-renounceable entitlement offer to shareholders.”

“This funding enables us to complete the partial sale of the PHES element of the TM-REX while in parallel undertake the necessary steps required for ASX re-compliance and reinstatement of trading,” Mr Doyle added.

BPH Energy (ASX: BPH)

It was a major quarter for BPH Energy, which secured a holding in Clean Hydrogen Technologies Corporation, which has developed a more sustainable process to generate hydrogen from methane or gas without emitting carbon dioxide.

In August, BPH’s board approved the investment in Clean Hydrogen, which saw it secure 8% of the company for US$800,000. BPH’s investee Advent Energy took up 2% for US$200,000. Both companies can secure a further 8% and 2% under the same terms before the end of the year.

BPH has a 36.1% direct holding in Advent and during the period, the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Asset Energy launched proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia in relation to it 85%-owned PEP-11 offshore gas permit in NSW.

The legal proceedings follow revelations of former Australian Prime Minister’s Scott Morrison’s use of non-public ministerial powers to block the permit.

Asset alleges that the former PM was “biased” and “failed to afford procedural fairness” in his decision after Mr Morrison made secret ministerial self-appointments to five ministerial portfolios including resources.

BPH’s other investee Cortical Dynamics progressed its electric activity brain function brain anaesthesia response monitor (BARM), with a key patent relating to the technology granted in the US.

The technology has 36 granted patents and has received TGA, Korean MFDS, and CE Mark approvals, with an application in the US for FDA approval in progress.

Also, during the quarter, BPH raised $1.5 million to fund its plans for Clean Hydrogen and PEP-11.

Trigg Minerals (ASX: TMG)

In a completely different space is Trigg Minerals, which plans to help supply essential sulphate of potash fertiliser to global markets from its Lake Throssell, Lake Yeo and Lake Rason projects in WA.

The September quarter heralded the start of another drilling program at Lake Throssell with the first four aircore holes completed for 524m.

Additionally, 40km of access tracks and 2km of causeways were constructed to facilitate access to remote areas of the lake.

A mud rig was mobilised to site to begin monitoring and test-production bore drilling.

In parallel, evaluation studies were advanced with a bulk evaporation trial underway and geotechnical sampling completed from a number of test pits on the lake surface.

The company is also assessing alternative process routes that could reduce the ramp-up time to production and lower recovery losses.

Lake Throssell covers 1,085sq km and is the most advanced of Trigg’s projects. It has a drainable resource of 14.4Mt of SOP, and a forecast 21-year mine life with annual production of 245,000tpa SOP.

Trigg managing director Keren Paterson says results from the current drilling will underpin an updated resource.