The golden rule for junior explorers is to keep the newsflow coming and investors engaged. This past week has delivered significant newsflow in spades, including a few surprises.
Based on its $2 billion market capitalisation, Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) is no longer considered a junior though that belies a phenomenal share price revaluation over the past year from 21c to $1.22 last night.
The driver has been Core’s ability to secure finance and start construction of its Finniss lithium project near Darwin in the Northern Territory, positioning the company to become Australia’s next spodumene concentrate producer when first tonnes fall out of the processing plant by the end of this year.
News yesterday that Stephen Biggins, the founding managing director and driving force since pre-Core’s ASX listing, was retiring therefore came as a surprise in some quarters. But this ignores the fact Core is fully funded, has Tier 1 offtake partners including Tesla, construction activities at Finniss are underway and the company has depth in its management ranks.
Key person risk is often discussed among investors, as are appointments of key personnel.
Growth-focused nickel stock St George Mining (ASX: SGQ) received plaudits when it announced this month that Julian Hanna, best known for turning Western Areas into the ASX’s top nickel stop, had joined the explorer in the position of general manager growth and development.
Mr Hanna’s key role will be to help drive exploration and development at St George’s flagship Mt Alexander nickel project in the Goldfields, where the company has already made five high-grade discoveries, and at its relatively new Paterson copper-gold project in the eponymous high-excitement exploration province in the eastern Pilbara.
The appointment also helped St George to this week comfortably complete a $5 million placement, with a share purchase plan to raise up to $2 million now open. The newly raised cash will help St George keep the drill bit going and the news flowing.
Also chasing exploration glory, albeit in a different part of the world, is Lykos Metals (ASX: LYK).
The Perth company, one of the standout exploration IPOs of 2021, announced this week that well-known corporate adviser Steve Allen would become non-executive chairman from April 1. Mr Allen, a managing director at RFC Ambrian Group, was instrumental in Lykos’ creation and listing and will bring significant – and important – natural resources and capital markets expertise to the boardroom.
Lykos has three priority projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina that it believes are highly prospective for nickel, copper and gold and still untouched by modern exploration techniques.
The company also told investors this week it had been awarded an additional tenement – Jezero – and applied for another – Jajce – to extend the Sinjakovo project area.
Importantly, the new tenements are south-east of Sinjakovo’s original boundaries. Lykos has discovered a significant gold anomaly in that pocket of Sinjakovo and believes the mineralisation is likely to extend further the boundary – hence the tenement grab.
Lykos and St George, chasing their dreams to join Core as a project developer, are just two juniors poised to deliver significant exploration newsflow this year.
VRX Silica (ASX: VRX), which delighted investors earlier this month with a positive approvals update for its Arrowsmith North silica project north of Perth, is continuing its push to have a pipeline of assets at varying stages across the exploration-to-development spectrum.
Its least advanced venture is Boyatup, 100km east of Esperance in WA’s South. VRX said this week it had kicked off a maiden 100-hole air core drilling program to target a 2000-hectare area for high-grade silica sand. Assay results are due late next month.
And Tribune Resources (ASX: TBR), a gold producer courtesy of its stake in the East Kundana joint venture near Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields, is getting busy to drill again at the Adiembra deposit, part of the company’s 100%-owned Japa gold project in Ghana.
Resource infill and extension drilling at Adiembra is due to start around May and will build on the results of the Phase 2 drilling campaign that was completed late last year.
The campaign, of 3000m of diamond and 4000m of reverse circulation drilling, will contribute towards Tribune’s efforts to update Adiembra’s mineral resource, which stands at 20.99 million tonnes at 2.7 g/t Au for 1.81 million ounces.