Since the 1800s, the Australian national colours, green and gold, have represented mineral prosperity, sporting prowess and a general proclivity for Australians to punch above their weight on an international stage.
Today, no other industry typifies this characteristic quite like the Australian mining industry. Gold has long been the standard for Australia’s mineral wealth and new green metals players are taking the world by storm as the EV revolution hits its stride.
It was Torrens Mining’s (ASX: TRN) turn this week to attract investor intention with a positive update from its hunt for the next Fosterville-esque gold mine in the Central Victorian Goldfields. Torrens reported high-grade intersections from nine of 13 holes from a major greenfields exploration push at its Mt Piper project.
Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR) has already found one world-class deposit – Gruyere is now on track to become a 350,000ozpa long-life, low-cost operation – and is on the hunt for more gold riches across its expansive Yamarna Greenstone Belt position in WA’s northern Goldfields. Investors lapped up news this week of promising high-grades from drilling at Smokebush and new prospect Abydos.
Green metals are fast matching gold for investor interest.
WA is blessed with significant rare earths opportunities and two proponents, in particular, who are kicking serious goals.
Plans by Hastings Technology Metals (ASX: HAS) to develop its world-scale Yangibana rare earths project in the Gascoyne received a fillip this week with green light from DevelopmentWA to secure a site for the hydrometallurgical plant to be located near Onslow.
And further north in the Kimberley, Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) told investors it had tested and commissioned an ore sorter at its Browns Range heavy rare earths project to greatly improved the grade of total rare earth oxides (TREO) passing through the processing plant.
In other news:
- Leading apartment development company Finbar Group publishes its annual report
- Zenith Minerals releases an updated investor presentation
- Focus Minerals reports its half-year results and activities
- St George drilling confirms prospectivity of new targets at high-grade Mt Alexander nickel-copper sulphide project
- Artemis gets the rig ready as St George, Rox eye the core
Torrens, which listed on the ASX at the start of this year, is targeting the next Fosterville-style gold mineralisation at the Northwood Hill prospect – a 5km-long gold anomalous corridor defined in the 1990 – within its Mt Piper project area.
Mt Piper is located only 1km from Mandalay Resources’ Costerfield mine and 30km south-east of Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville gold mine. Just like another advanced Victorian Goldfields explorer Catalyst Metals (ASX: CYL), Torrens is confident of the prospectivity of its tenement package.
Torrens’ maiden 13-hole diamond drilling program at Northwood Hill intersected high-grade gold in nine holes and – importantly – identified the structural control on gold mineralisation at the prospect.
Torrens said the program confirmed the presence of a highly-encouraging gold system, and validated the systematic exploration campaign in a poorly explored area.
“These structures may be comparable to upper-level Fosterville-style gold mineralisation, which tends to concentrate around the intersection of host rock bedding and fault plane,” Torrens managing directors Mr Shedden said.
Investors now eagerly wait interpretation of the results before the company announces follow-up drilling.
Torrens’ shares closed at 17¢ yesterday.
Gold Road has set the benchmark for world-class gold discoveries, with the 2013 Gruyere find still the most impressive in Australia in that time.
Gruyere has since been developed into a Tier 1 gold mine, working its way up to 350,000tpa in annual output, and delivering handsome profits to Gold Road – some of which are passed on to shareholders by way of dividends.
Just last week, Gold Road announced its half-year profit and a 0.5¢ a share fully franked interim dividend. And the Perth company followed up the newsflow this week with success from its turbo-charged $33 million greenfields exploration push in the southern section of its Yamarna position.
Eight assays from a program of 13 reverse circulation (RC) and six diamond holes at the Smokebush prospect returned intersections greater than 25 gram-metres, which Gold Road said supported the interpretation of the thicker high-grade mineralisation both along strike and down dip from previous drilling.
Further work at Smokebush will incorporate pending assays into an updated geological model, and Gold Road said it anticipated a maiden resource at Smokebush in its annual resource update early next year.
Gold Road also delivered encouraging results from its new prospect Abydos, which could become something substantial.
Gold Road’s share shares closed at $1.30 yesterday.
The green to go with the gold is turning to rare earths, particularly of the variety found in WA that is sought after by battery makers around the world.
Hastings this week received DevelopmentWA board sign-off to enter into a lease for a site to house the hydrometallurgical plant at the Ashburton North Strategic Industrial Area near Onslow. The DevelopmentWA sign-off is a critical tick for the company as it progresses Yangibana, which boasts world-high levels of neodymium and praseodymium (jointly referred to as NdPr).
Even better, Hastings shared with investors a letter of endorsement for Yangibana’s development from Premier Mark McGowan on behalf of the WA Government.
Hastings, cashed up from a major capital raising in March, is finalising Yangibana’s project economics and debt arrangements but has already begun early stage civil works at the mine site.
Hastings’ shares closed at 24.5¢ yesterday.
Northern Minerals, the only producer of the heavy rare earths element dysprosium outside of China, installed an ore sorter at its Browns Range pilot plant, south-east of Halls Creek, to test the impact on TREO grades.
The company told investors this week that test results from bulk samples completed on 4,479 tonnes of ore from the Wolverine orebody showed a 45 per cent grade increase in product delivered to the mill and a TREO recovery of more than 95 per cent.
A successful, full-scale ore sorting program, of course, has the potential to improve processing efficiencies and therefore lower operating costs per unit of dysprosium produced.
Northern Minerals shares closed at 4.2¢ yesterday.