West Cobar Metals commences maiden drilling campaign at Nevada lithium project

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By Colin Hay - 
West Cobar Metals ASX WC1 maiden drilling campaign Nevada lithium project

West Cobar Metals (ASX: WC1) has reached a key milestone in its hunt for lithium in Nevada, USA, with the commencement of a maiden reverse circulation drilling campaign.

West Cobar is investigating the potential of its recently acquired landholding in the world-class Nevada lithium district, where it has staked 242 mining claims near the town of Tonopah.

The company has kicked off its initial drilling investigations in Nevada with 5 drill holes at its 100%-owned Montezuma Well project.

West Cobar is seeking lithium-rich claystone horizons at Montezuma Well, located just 1km west of American Lithium Corporation’s TLC lithium claystone deposit, which is currently being assessed as a potentially significant new lithium supplier to the US market.

Montezuma Well is also only 2.5km north of American Battery Technology’s recently announced Tonopah Flats discovery.

Big Smoky Valley test

Following the completion of the Montezuma Well program, West Cobar will shift the rig to its 100%-owned Big Smoky Valley project.

The company is aiming to drill 6 holes at that project.

Also located in a prime neighbourhood, Big Smoky Valley is 30km south-west of the TLC deposit and 30km north-east of Ioneer’s (ASX: INR) Rhyolite Ridge lithium claystone deposit in similar host lithology.

After completing a positive Rhyolite Ridge definitive feasibility study, Ioneer is aiming to begin operations there in 2026.

West Cobar’s claims lie in the Silver Peak-TLC zone, which hosts the single biggest US lithium producer – Albemarle’s Silver Peak lithium-in-brines operation – and some of the largest US lithium in claystone resources.

Montezuma Well consists of 59 claims, while Big Smoky Valley consists of 183 claims.

Funds raised to support drilling

The start of drilling in Nevada comes just one day after West Cobar received firm commitments from professional and sophisticated investors for a share placement which raised gross proceeds of $734,800.

At the same time the company revealed plans to undertake a share purchase plan (SPP) to raise a maximum of $570,000.

A portion of the funds raised from the placement and SPP will be used for the exploration drilling activities in Nevada.

Further Salazar studies

The funds raised will also support further commercialisation of West Cobar’s Salazar rare earth element project near Esperance in Western Australia.

The company recently added to its ground-holding at Salazar by acquiring contiguous tenements from Dundas Minerals (ASX: DUN) totalling 451 sq km.

That deal increased the Salazar landholding to a total of 1,171 sq km.

West Cobar has obtained a mineral resource estimate for the Newmont and O’Connor deposits at Salazar which estimated a total mineral resource of 190 million tonnes at 1,172 parts per million of total rare earth oxides (TREO).

Elsewhere, the company has leaching kinetics optimisation studies of the Newmont deposit material currently underway with ANSTO, while ongoing beneficiation testwork is being carried out at the University of Newcastle and Nagrom.