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Diamond drilling at Stavely Minera’s (ASX: SVY) Thursday's Gossan prospect in Western Victoria has encountered copper sulphide mineralisation

Diamond drilling at Stavely Minera’s (ASX: SVY) Thursday's Gossan prospect in Western Victoria has encountered copper sulphide mineralisation including an intercept of 952m at 0.23% copper (reports Small Caps). Partial assays from a drilling program have returned the thickest and highest-grade intervals to date for junior explorer The company said results received for the top 980m of a recently-completed diamond hole encountered a “very broad zone” of copper sulphide mineralisation including an “absolute whopper intercept” of 952m at 0.23% copper.

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Most explorers start with proving up a resource before going about acquiring land

Most explorers start with proving up a resource before going about acquiring land and building infrastructure, but junior gold explorer Dateline Resources (ASX:DTR) is doing things a little differently (reports Stockhead). Dateline owns about 2000 acres of freehold land that hosts three mines and historic gold workings in Gunnison County, Colorado. The company also owns a permitted mill that it has commissioned and produced concentrate from.

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Jean-Sebastien Jacques, the chief executive of global miner Rio Tinto, says he is very confident that a new copper mine will be built at the site of a copper discovery in Western Australia

Jean-Sebastien Jacques, the chief executive of global miner Rio Tinto, says he is very confident that a new copper mine will be built at the site of a copper discovery in Western Australia recently confirmed by the miner (reports The Sydney Morning Herald). But whether or not Rio Tinto actually builds and operates that mine is another question, and one Mr Jacques says is too early to answer.

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Newcrest Mining has pounced on one of the most exciting mineral discoveries in Australia in recent years, striking a deal that will see it pump $US65 million ($92m) into the Haveiron copper-gold project in Western Australia’s Paterson Range (reports The Australian). Newcrest announced the deal with the UK-listed owner of Haveiron, Greatland Gold, late on Tuesday. Under the deal, Newcrest will spend an initial $US5m on exploration at Haveiron over the next 12 months and can earn a 70 per cent stake by spending $US65m over six years.

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In Western Australia, up-and-comer Liontown (ASX:LTR) is now sitting on a large 4.5km by 2.5km lithium soil anomaly (more than 100 parts per million) at its Buldania project in the Eastern Goldfields (reports Stockhead). This is after fresh soil sampling confirmed the prospectivity in a new area, about 5-10km from its Anna discovery. Geological mapping will help accurately define pegmatites (the main source of hard rock lithium) in this new area prior to initial drilling in the second quarter.

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After falling sharply over the past six months, there is fresh hope that lithium prices could be set for a comeback as demand from the EV market surges.

The Western Australian hard-rock lithium brigade got beaten up something shocking last year as contracted prices for 6% spodumene weakened from more than $US1,000t in the September quarter to $USUS930/t in the December quarter. Prices - based on quarterly pricing for the Mt Marion project kindly posted by Mineral Resources (MIN) – have fallen further for the current March quarter to $US791/t, which when stacked up against forecast production costs and a friendly US70c exchange rate, is still not all that bad.

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Gold played second fiddle to industrial metals this week with copper, nickel and iron ore doing best despite the rolling uncertainty of the China v US trade war. But in the background was an event which could see gold perk up next week.

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Its share price may not be showing it, but Lucapa Diamond Company is taking big steps in its plans to become a serious global player

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