10 Jun 2022


The energy transition has emerged as the dominant theme for investors in the mining industry, with metals used in electric vehicles, battery storage and renewable energy staring at years – if not decades – of rising demand from global decarbonisation.

That generational shift in the purpose and demand profile for commodities previously sold into niche markets has created an ocean of opportunity for emerging junior explorers.

It is a real case of all hands to the pump, with customers desperate to secure new sources of lithium, rare earths and base metals to satisfy the growth of the new energy industry.

A perfect time, then, for the arrival of a new IPO with exposure across the breadth of the battery metals spectrum.

MetalsGrove Mining (ASX: MGA) is seeking $5 million and up to $7 million in an ASX float this month.

Led by managing director and CEO Sean Sivasamy, an experienced geologist who has been a director of Tambourah Metals and Pilgangoora Minerals, MetalsGrove will bring an Australian explorer with interests in lithium, tin, rare earths, manganese and base metals to the public market.

Tier 1 lithium the target

MetalsGrove has a unique collection of projects covering a host of different metals expected to benefit from the energy transition.

Importantly, a lithium project is front and centre.

The commodity is currently trading at near record prices in excess of US$70,000/t for downstream chemicals and US$6000/t for spodumene concentrate, the material shipped to China at massive profit margins right now by WA miners.

MetalsGrove’s flagship asset is the Upper Coondina lithium, tin and tantalum project.

The 6,365 hectare exploration licence is located 85 km west of Marble Bar, within a short drive of the $10 billion capped Pilbara Minerals’ massive Pilgangoora lithium mine and Mineral Resources and Albemarle’s Wodgina pegmatite in the Tier-1 Pilbara lithium province.

Significantly, like many of the world’s largest lithium bearing pegmatites such as the world class Greenbushes mine in WA’s south-west, Upper Coondina has already been a historic tin producer.

Its Shaw tin field has previously produced 6500t of tin concentrate, while surface sampling has returned anomalous assays for lithium of up to 256 ppm.

A fine trio

Of similar standing is a triumvirate of rare earths, gold-copper and base metals projects at Bruce, Box Hole and Edwards Creek in the Arunta mineral field of central Australia.

At Bruce, geological mapping has confirmed the potential for pegmatite-hosted neodymium and praseodymium mineralisation, the key components in the high-performance NdFeB magnets used in EVs and wind turbines and one of the most important rare earth markets.

Rare earth anomalism associated with copper-gold and base metal mineralisation has been recently shown at the nearby Arunta project held by Norwest Minerals and WA1 Resources.

Those other elements are definitely targets at Bruce as well, with rock chip sampling by the Northern Territory Geological Survey assaying 53 g/t gold and 1.7% copper.

Recent sampling located on the near surface quartz vein assayed values up to 15.26 g/t and 7.24 g/t gold, with mineralisation 1-2 m wide and extending over 600 m for a total strike length of 2.1 km.

Covering 127 km2, 250 km north-east of Alice Springs, Box Hole is also considered prospective for rare earths and carbonate hosted lead-zinc mineralisation, with a string of historic drill results and historic zinc and lead workings at King’s where 15t was once mined at a grade of 66% zinc.

Results in shallow RAB drilling by Intercept Minerals from 2007-2013 recorded hits like 13 m at 2.7% zinc and 0.7% lead with at least one single metre intercept grading 14.7% zinc.

Meanwhile, historic drilling at Edwards Creek from the 1980s returned significant copper grades 4.5 m @ 2.25% Cu, 0.11% Pb, 1.54% Zn, 0.14 g/t Au from 47 m and 18.6 m @ 0.22% Cu, 0.17% Pb, 0.49% Zn, 0.14 g/t Au from 44.3 m, with several new copper occurrences uncovered in recent exploration.

And manganese to boot 

The final project in the MetalsGrove portfolio is the Woodie Woodie North project, located near one of Australia’s largest and highest-grade manganese mines.

Woodie Woodie North is an exploration tenement surrounding ConsMin’s Woodie Woodie mine in the Pilbara with areas of manganese outcrop and historical workings.

A heap of surface geochemistry has been undertaken on the project area, with surface sampling returning numerous anomalous manganese and cobalt assays up to 52% manganese and 540 ppm cobalt.

Exploration at Woodie Woodie North comes as prices for high grade manganese like that produced at the neighbouring Woodie Woodie mine are on the up.

Manganese is a key component in steel production and electric vehicles, representing the M in the NCM lithium-ion battery used in top range Tesla cars.

MetalsGrove is currently slated to list on July 6 at 11am (WST) (edit) following its 20c a share, $7 million IPO.

The raising will give the company cash in hand to ramp up exploration efforts across its suite of battery metals projects and an expected EV of $4 million on listing.


Article courtesy of Stockhead