Coffee with Samso Episode 185 is with Matt Szwedzicki, Managing Director of West Cobar Metals Limited (ASX: WC1)
The REE story for West Cobar is taking shape, showing that the volume of resources does exist. The release recently has put that question at rest. A quadruple of the previous resource is plenty. Critically, the upgrade of the resource at the Newmont prospect from Inferred to Indicated is even more impressive.
Matt Szwedzicki, in this episode of Coffee with Samso gives a great summary of where West Cobar is at with the Salazar Rare Earth project. The resources are up and the market will have no fears for the project not having enough tonnes (Figure 1).
Interestingly, when asked about the availability of more tonnes, Matt responded with a clear and concise answer. There is an ample supply of tonnes, and the focus now is on demonstrating the economic value in terms of dollars and cents to the market.
The market is well aware that there is no longer any doubt about the leachability of the Salazar resources. This was confirmed in the Rooster Talk 74, where Matt discussed the metallurgical results. You can find the links to that conversation below.
We discussed the recent news on Gallium and what it means for the company. The conversation continued onto the Nevada lithium project where the company was starting a drilling program.
The West Cobar journey is one of the most fascinating Rare Earth stories on the Samso platform. What sets them apart is their unique suite of potential by-products that others don't seem to have.
Samso has seen several Rare Earth stories, and the Salazar deposit stands out with its HPA resource and Tier 1 REE resource (compared to Australia Clay deposits). Scandium was also mentioned in the Salazar deposit during the Coffee with Samso series.
The inclusion of Gallium in the mix makes the idea of credits while mining rare earths appealing. However, it's important to note that not all mining scenarios are profitable to keep and process, even if there seems to be value in the metal. For example, Delta Lithium Limited (Red Dirt Metal Limited) has up to 300,000 ounces of gold, but it's not mentioned because the value in lithium outweighs the need to recover the gold.
However, if we look at the potential scenario for West Cobar, the soft market pricing of REE makes the proposition of multi commodities to suppress mining costs could be its joker card. The little that makes a mining proposition for Salazar is going to be good for the hip pocket.
Ultimately, time will reveal the ultimate solution, but investors should remember that mining projects span multiple years to decades. While the Salazar deposit shows promise, the longevity of a company to pursue the project is not solely determined by the project's quality.
01:30 Salazar Clay-REE resource quadruples
05:34 What does a higher proportion of MREO mean for WC1?
06:52 The current rare earths market
08:38 Gallium at the Newmont REE deposit
11:56 Could the amphibolite be the dark horse?
15:05 Is the recent restriction on Gallium short-term?
17:55 Drilling at the Nevada Lithium Project
21:18 Metallurgical news
23:51 Additional news flow
25:13 Why should investors look at West Cobar Metals?
About Matt Szwedzicki
Matt Szwedzicki has over 20 years of corporate and commercial experience, having worked in senior leadership roles with a focus on M&A, corporate growth and investment strategy.
Matt co-founded and is the Managing Director of Spark New Energies, an energy company with its main assets in the UK. Prior to that Matt held various executive corporate and commercial roles in the energy and resources industries.
About West Cobar Metals Limited (ASX: WC1)
West Cobar Metals Limited (ASX:WC1) is a minerals exploration and development company focused on rare earths and battery minerals within Australia and the US.
The Salazar REE Project
The Salazar Project comprises granted tenements E63/1469 and E63/1496 located on non-agricultural undeveloped state land approximately 120km north-east of the township and deep water port of Esperance (Figure 1). In terms of geological setting, it is situated in the eastern part of the Proterozoic Albany-Fraser Orogen, east of the Biranup and Fraser Zones, straddling the Heywood-Newman Shear Zone and Nornalup Zone.
REE mineralisation at the Newmont deposit (E63/1496) is hosted by in-situ regolith over Proterozoic-aged basement rocks. A geological model has been proposed by Salazar Minerals whereby granites containing REE carbonates and other REE minerals are the source rocks for secondary REE mineralisation in the overlying saprolite profile. Mineralogical studies have indicated that the saprolite targets contain fine-grained secondary REE-bearing phosphates.
Newmont Mineral Resource
Salazar Minerals was one of the first companies to appreciate the potential for clay REE deposits in Australia. The tenements were first acquired in 2011 (granted in 2012) with the private company carrying out several aircore drilling programs to test for REE mineralisation. In total 165 aircore and RC holes for 6393m have been drilled within the tenements, leading to the discovery and delineation of the Newmont deposit.
CSA Global ("CSA") was engaged by Salazar Minerals to estimate a Mineral Resource for the Newmont deposit in 2015. CSA estimated an Inferred Mineral Resource of 43.5Mt at 1192ppm TREO + Y2O3 (500ppm cut-off) in accordance with the JORC Code (2012).
The Newmont deposit also hosts an Inferred Mineral Resource of 31.2% Al2O3 (15% Al cut-off) in accordance with the JORC Code 2012 (Table 2). The high-grade alumina within kaolin-rich zones has potential to be feedstock for production of high purity alumina.
Lab test work demonstrates that this material shows high leach extraction and high purification grades to produce 99.99% (4N) High Purity Alumina (HPA).
The Salazar Project also includes the O’Connor prospect (E63/1469) which is located 10 kms to the south-east of the Newmont Deposit. The O’Connor Prospect has 32 vertical holes drilled for a total of 901 meters. Some of the drill intersections at O’Connor include:
SAC160, 19m @ 1939 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 8m
SAC161, 20m @ 2392 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 7m
SAC162, 19m @ 1350 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 17m
SAC179, 9m @ 3258 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 14m
SAC178, 10m @ 1586 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 10m
SAC188, 23m @ 1454 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 16m
SAC157, 17m @ 1186 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 15m
SAC159, 12m @ 1110 ppm TREO + Y2O3 from 8m
Newmont Metallurgy & Studies
Technical work on the deposit has involved reputable institutions including the CSIRO, the University of Western Australia and the University of Newcastle and mineral processing firms Nagrom and Amdel.
Early metallurgical studies and characterisation testwork show the REE clays are amenable to acid leach processing
Magnet rare earths (MREO) - Neodymium, Praseodymium, Dysprosium and Terbium concentrations up to 25%
Heavy rare earth (HREO) concentrations up to 30%
Critical rare earth (CREO) concentrations up to 37%
Nevada Lithium Project
The Montezuma Well and Big Smoky Valley claims are considered prospective for large-scale sedimentary-hosted lithium claystone deposits.
The claims are located within the world class mining-friendly jurisdiction of the Nevada lithium district and host similar geology to known major lithium deposits in the region – including American Lithium (TLC deposit), American Battery Technology Company (Tonopah Flats deposit), Ioneer (Rhyolite Ridge deposit) and Century Lithium (Clayton Valley deposit).
Hermit Hill Lithium Project
The Hermit Hill project area is located in the Litchfield Province in the Northern Territory, roughly 100km south-southwest of Core Lithium’s Finniss Lithium Project and Lithium Plus Minerals’ Lei lithium prospect, and 30km west of Ragusa Minerals’ Tank Hill lithium discovery. The project is prospective for pegmatite-hosted lithium mineralisation.
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