Conference confidence returns as explorers round up RIU audience
Undaunted by the ever-present threat of flash lockdowns and border closures, some of WA’s most exciting exploration stories made the trip across the Nullarbor to the RIU Resources Round-Up conference, relishing the ability to press the flesh again en masse with east coast investors.
The strong audience turnout in Sydney for an equally impressive line-up of mostly WA-based stocks – spread across metals and minerals including the gold, nickel, copper, silica and zinc – made clear the capital markets interest in the next exploration growth story.
St George Mining (ASX: SGQ) was among those to showcase its wares, fresh from announcing a new nickel discovery at its Mt Alexander project in WA followed by a $7 million raising, VRX Silica (ASX: VRX) flagged its Muchea project in WA as a key supplier for flat glass for solar panels, Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) focused investors on commercial-grade gold hits at its Red Mountain project in Queensland and Rox Resources (ASX: ROX) highlighted its advanced Younami gold project in WA.
Others to present at the Resources Round-Up included BMG Resources (ASX: BMG), which attracted significant interest in its three high-grade gold exploration projects across WA, and Brightstar Resources (ASX: BTR), which unveiled the low cost of returning its namesake gold mill into operation.
Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR), whose world-class Gruyere discovery remains one of the best in Australia this century, and established gold-copper producer Aeris Resources (ASX: AIS) were among the sector leaders across the three-day talk-and-meet fest.
“Drilling, drilling and more drilling,” was the message from St George Mining executive chairman John Prineas.
The cashed-up WA nickel explorer celebrated a heavily oversubscribed $7 million capital raising after a new discovery last month at the Mt Alexander project, near Leonora, with drill hole MAD199 intersecting high-grade nickel-copper sulphides.
Speaking from RIU, Mr Prineas told Resources Roadhouse that MAD199 was the ‘breakthrough hole’ and the scale of the deposit could be much larger than anticipated. And he told the Ausbiz TV channel: “The prize is to find that bigger mineralisation at depth. That’s the one that can turn us into a billion-dollar company.”
St George’s share price closed the week at 8.9¢ per share.
Silica sand is the most used commodity on earth after water and air and, as VRX Silica managing director Bruce Maluish told RIU, it is running out.
He told conference delegates that surging demand in Asia for the key glass-making material, and especially the need for high-quality sand for solar panel glass, placed VRX at the centre of a potential new export industry for WA.
“There is a huge amount of interest in the high-quality sand that goes into plate glass used to make solar panels,” Mr Maluish later told Resources Roadhouse.
“That’s a market that is growing at about 30% per year. Every glassmaker in Asia wants to be making that glass, but you have to start off with very good-quality sand.”
VRX’s three WA silica sand projects – Arrowsmith North, Muchea and Arrowsmith Central – have the potential to supply the ultra-clear glass market with high-quality silica sand for more than 100 years.
VRX’s share price closed the week at 28¢ per share.
Zenith Minerals executive chairman Peter Bird was bullish about the Red Mountain project, describing it as a rare greenfields discovery in such a well-explored country as Australia.
Red Mountain sits on prime gold real estate between the Cracow, Mt Rawdon and Mt Morgan’s gold mines in Queensland.
Mr Bird compared Red Mountain to the ~1Moz Mt Wright gold mine further to the north.
“It’s the same geology, the same chemistry, and looks like a very similar breccia pipe structure,” he said.
“We’ve already hit free gold, commercial-grade mineralisation down to about 200 vertical metres and we continue to drill to drill for the rest of the year.”
The company also commenced drilling at the Develin Creek copper-zinc project in Queensland this week, accelerating the copper drilling program and further building upon the JORC resource at the project. Drilling is anticipated to take three weeks to complete with assays to follow.
Zenith Minerals share price continues its stellar run, up 115% for the year to date including on the back of success at its Earaheedy zinc discovery north-east of Wiluna in WA, closing the week at 27¢ per share.
Rox Resources is progressing the Younami Gold Project in the Yilgarn region of WA.
As managing director Alex Passmore told the conference, the company is aggressively exploring, drilling the new high-priority tartes, Link and Junction, after completing work at the Grace deposit.
Rox is the operator and owns 70% of Youanmi, alongside 30% JV partner Venus Metals.
Youanmi has an existing Indicated and Inferred JORC 2012 Gold Resource of 12.4Mt at 2.97 grams per tonne for 1.19 Moz, including a near-surface resource of 10Mt at 1.65 grams per tonne for 553koz.
The project has an existing and developed underground mine and surface infrastructure that includes access roads, airstrip, core shed and workshop, borefield, tailings disposal facility, mine offices, process water from local aquifers and an established mine village.
Rox Resources’ share price closed the week at 3.6¢ per share.
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