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West Cobar Metals Limited (ASX: WC1) - The Salazar Story - Scandium

Coffee with Samso Episode 196 is with Matt Szwedzicki, Managing Director of West Cobar Metals Limited (ASX: WC1)

In my first conversation in June 2023 with West Cobar Metals Limited, I noticed the amphibolite basement for the Salazar project and asked how this could affect the mineralogy of the project. With nearly 12 months of work since that time, the benefits of the Newmont deposit are now coming to light.

In this episode of Coffee with Samso, Matt Szwedzicki shares with us the potential multi-commodity aspect of the Newmont deposit. The company has come a long way in substantiating its view on the new strategy in bringing light to the Titanium and Scandium part of the flow chart.

This is an unfolding story and credit goes to the management for looking at the alternative value of the Newmont project. The increasing tenure of the project means that the protection of the potential value adding process is now in safekeeping.

The potential extension of the amphibolite is now for West Cobar Metals to discover and if the Scandium and Titanium strategy holds ground, the shareholder value will be very interesting. Time will tell, but at least it is up to the company to find it.

Samso's Conclusion

I have been fascinated with the West Cobar story as it is the only Rare Earth project that I have come across that has a amphibolite basement, or rather, one that has a non-granitic basement. This stands out even more when you know that the Esperance region does not appear to have an equivalent.

When I first talked to the company, I posed the question to management, what is the significance of the amphibolite? Does it come with other commodities (at that time they had a HPA resource sitting on top of the Newmont project)?

There is now a pathway for the company and it will be interesting where this leads to in terms of shareholder value. The scandium story is very interesting as I have had some experience of that sector nearly a decade ago.

If you watch the video and listen to Matt when he talks about the Scandium pricing mechanism, it is a revelation. For once, we have a market that is priced so high that it needs new supply to bring the pricing down so that it can create more supply and more use. It is not a matter of lack of demand, but that the sector needs supply.

When you think about what the implication will mean, the opportunity for shareholder value adding is enormous.


00:00 Start

00:20 Introduction

01:23 Update from Matt

01:43 More ground for Salazar

01:56 An updated exploration target

02:22 Realisation that Newmont is different

02:40 The Titanium Factor

02:59 Titanium Exploration Target

03:06 Presence of HPA

03:30 Flow Sheet

04:52 Titanium Mineral Study

06:05 What about this Scandium in Salazar?

07:32 Is Newmont more of a Critical Minerals project as opposed to a Rare Earth project?

09:02 Is there enough volume for the other commodities to be economical?

10:47 What triggers should investors look for to take a position in companies like WC1?

12:55 All about Scandium

14:40 Why is Scandium exciting?

15:43 The high pricing of Scandium.

16:41 Supply bottleneck may be changing

17:50 US Defense Department looking out for Scandium

18:24 Solid oxide fuel cell use of Scandium - green fuel transition

19:13 Where will the new mines come from - reasons why Newmont is the front runner

19:46 Newmont may have a potential positive metallurgical pathway

21:17 High grade vs. normal grade of Scandium

22:48 News Flow

24:43 A Natural pivot for WC1

25:49 Last words from Matt

26:57 Conclusion


About Matt Szwedzicki

Managing Director

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).

  • O’Connor Prospect

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%

Technical work on the deposit has involved reputable institutions | Coffee with Samso  |  Samso

  • 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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