Emerging lithium producer Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) has found itself in good company after this week joining Albermarle and Rio Tinto in the European Battery Alliance (EBA250), an organisation focused on establishing a sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe in the next five years.
The EBA250’s self-imposed deadline is in line with the European Union’s Clean Vehicle Directive, which was adopted a year ago and will be transposed to national law by August next year so that, by 1 January 2026, only zero-emission light vehicles will be permitted for sale in the EU member countries.
Core is one of only three Australian companies – and the only company with an Australian project – to be a member of EBA250. The other two Australian companies are European Metals and Infinity Lithium.
With Europe positioning itself to be the second major hub in the EV revolution behind China, EBA250 brings together more than 440 major players including the European Commission, EU countries, investors and key industrial, innovation and academia stakeholders.
Joining the EBA250 is the latest step for Core as it marches toward first production from its 100%-owned Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory.
Core has already secured offtake agreements for 125,000 tonnes of Finniss’ proposed 175,000tpa output, with agreements in place with Chinese company Yahua for 75,000tpa over a two-year period and Swiss-based Transamine for 50,000tpa over five years.
Late last month, Core increased the ore reserve at Finniss by 159% to 5.7Mt, which will support an extended seven-year mine life. The company closed out the week at 4.5c per share.
Core managing director Stephen Biggins said membership of the EBA250 would open the door for his company to many business development connections as well as the alliance’s funding and financial partners, which include the European Investment Bank.
“To date, the Asian markets have been the critical offtake partners of lithium production from Australia. However, as Core looks towards beginning our exports in 2022, we aim to be producing for a diversified portfolio of partners,” he said.
“Europe is focused on building sophisticated capabilities across the entire battery value chain.
“It is a market emerging at just the right time.”
Core shares ended the week at 4.5¢, above the 4.25¢ price of the successful $7.6 million capital raising completed last month.
Also emerging at the right time, albeit in the gold sector, is Focus Minerals (ASX: FML).
The WA Goldfields-focused project developer has given investors plenty to smile about after diamond drilling at its Beasley Creek South deposit, part of the 100%-owned Laverton Gold Project, delivered a 213% increase in mineral resource to 1.01Mt grading at an average 3.55g/t for 115,761oz. The mineralisation at Beasley Creek South remains open at depth and along strike.
Beasley Creek South is shaping as a key deposit in the plans for Focus’ Stage 1 mining operation at Laverton, which remains subject to a prefeasibility study (PFS) due for completion by the end of this year.
The Beasley Creek South news further buoyed Focus shareholders, who pushed the company’s tightly held stock up 24% to 33¢ this week amid expectations of more positive newsflow in coming weeks.
Just last week Focus surprised shareholders with news that it was updating the PFS for its stalled Coolgardie project, based on the strong gold price and a reassessment of the Greenfields open pit deposit. The fresh look at Greenfields delivered an 81% increase in mineral resource to 2.66Mt at 1.62 g/t for 139,123oz, with suggestions of more to come at its Greenfields deposit.
Artemis Resources (ASX: ARV), meanwhile, became the latest Cannings Purple client to toast a heavily oversubscribed capital raising, after receiving firm commitments to raise $5.6 million for exploration drilling at its Paterson Central and Greater Carlow gold-copper projects in the East and West Pilbara, respectively.
Artemis, whose Paterson Central prospect next to Greatland Gold’s world-class Havieron discovery is attracting attention, has seen its share price run more than double over the past month from 3.9¢ to last night’s 8.1¢ close.
Artemis had chased $4.2 million in the capital raise, at 7¢, but was swamped by interest to open the door for more investors.
Artemis non-executive chairman Mark Potter echoed the market sentiment that there was plenty of money to be raised for good projects.
“The capital raising received a substantial number of bids representing significantly more than the Company was seeking,” he said.
“We have an exceptional exploration opportunity in one of the world’s most exciting new gold-copper frontiers, adjacent to and surrounding on three sides, the Havieron gold and copper discovery being drilled by Newcrest and Greatland Gold.”
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