Christmas comes early for Trek with game-changing
Plus, copper developers and explorers in focus
Trek Metals (ASX: TKM)
Trek Metals CEO Derek Marshall declared that Christmas had come early for the company’s shareholders with the recent acquisition of the Christmas Creek gold and rare earths project in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.
The world’s largest gold producer, Newmont Corporation, previously held the project and identified four major prospects.
Marshall said the mining sector was littered with stories of majors giving up projects and others going in and making a world-class discovery. And he would know, having previously been involved with the Havieron project, which was discovered by Newcrest, then given up and re-entered by the company.
Newmont spent $6 million on the project over six years.
Marshall said that work gave Trek a “leg up”.
“It’s very rare that a junior like Trek has the opportunity to get into project where the hard work has been done,” he said.
“We can capitalise on that and get the drill rigs turning.”
Trek also recently acquired 80% of the McEwen Hills niobium project in the Northern Territory.
McEwen Hills is along strike from WA1 Resources’ Luni niobium discovery, over the border in WA.
Trek also holds the Hendeka manganese and Tambourah lithium projects, both in WA.
“We’re leveraged for success,” Marshall said.
“If we find anything, we’re off to the races.”
Caravel Minerals (ASX: CVV)
Copper developer Caravel Minerals attracted some market interest this week after a resource update.
The company’s namesake project now hosts 3.03 million tonnes of contained copper, 60,600t of molybdenum, 895,100 ounces of gold and 46.3 million ounces of silver.
It makes Caravel the fourth-largest global copper discovery in the past decade and the largest in a tier one jurisdiction.
The project is just two hours’ drive from Perth in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt district, which Caravel executive director Alasdair Cooke admitted was not a typical place for a copper porphyry deposit.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Paul Howard this week reiterated his view that Caravel was the largest undeveloped copper deposit in Australia.
“In global terms, the resource places Caravel in the top 20 of active development projects, held outside the majors,” he said.
The prefeasibility study looked at a 25-year, 30Mt per annum operation, which would cost $1.67 billion and produce 65,000tpa of copper equivalent at all-in sustaining costs of US$2.07 per pound.
Cooke said the scale and access to grid power drove down costs and increased project margins.
The PFS returned a pre-tax net present value of A$2 billion and internal rate of return of 21%.
A bankable feasibility study is due in late 2024, which is set to make the next 12 months a defining period for Caravel.
Canaccord has a speculative buy rating and price target of 65c against the last traded price of 16.5c.
Alicanto Minerals (AQI: AQI)
Another company highly leveraged to exploration success is Alicanto Minerals, which has projects in Sweden.
Alicanto is drilling at its Falun copper-gold mine with the first results due shortly.
Falun has an incredible history, being the largest supplier of copper in the western world with historical output of 28 million tonnes at 4% copper, 4 grams per tonne gold, 5% zinc, 2% lead and 35gpt silver.
“Those numbers today make your head spin,” Alicanto managing director Rob Sennitt said.
In fact, the copper on the roof of the Palace of Versailles in France came from Falun.
Alicanto picked up the historical mine for just $200,000, which Sennitt described as the deal of the century.
As well as the historical mine, Alicanto holds more than 60km of target limestone horizon within a total landholding of 312sq.km, including the 10km prospective Falun trend.
The main focus of drilling is the 3.5km mineralised trend to the west of Falun to Skyttgruvan.
“All the geology is shaping up exactly like it is at Falun,” Sennitt said.
The company also holds the Sala zinc-silver-lead project in Sweden, which historically produced more than 200 million ounces of high-grade silver.
Alicanto has already defined an initial resource of 9.7Mt at 4.5% zinc equivalent for 311,000t of contained zinc, 15Moz of silver and 44,000t of lead, including a high-grade zone of 4.5Mt at 6% ZnEq.
New World Resources (ASX: NWC)
Arizona-focused New World Resources believes it’s only just scratching the surface of its Antler copper project.
Antler produced 70,000t at 2.9% copper, 6.2% zinc, 1.1% lead, 31 grams per tonne silver and 0.3gpt gold between 1916 and 1970.
The project hadn’t been touched for 35 years until New World’s arrival in 2020.
Since then, the company has defined a resource of 11.4 million tonnes at 2.1% copper, 5% zinc, 0.9% lead, 32.9gpt silver and 0.36gpt gold, using a 1% copper equivalent cut-off grade.
The resource fed into a scoping study, which outlined “modest” capital costs of US$252 million for a 13-year operation producing 32,700t per annum of copper equivalent at C1 costs of $1.68 per pound.
“This is the absolute base case,” New World managing director Mike Haynes said.
“We know things are going to get better from here.”
While Antler remains open at depth, New World will focus on its seven high-priority targets along strike, some of which were recently acquired.
The company also recently acquired a potential satellite deposit, Javelin, 75km south-east of Antler.
Initial rock sampling at Javelin returned up to 15% copper, 3.5% zinc, 180gpt silver and 2.14gpt gold.
“It has all the affinities of being a heavily mineralised VMS system,” Haynes said.