Basic Materials

Juniors on Radar: 5 ASX Explorers to Watch Today

Wed 16 Mar 22, 11:17am (AEST)
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Key Points

  • Five juniors with interesting announcements today
  • Mass government funding for critical metal projects
  • TMK Energy commences drilling after three-years, Latin Resources hits multiple spodumene bearing pegmatites

TMK Energy commences maiden drilling program 

TMK Energy (ASX: TMK) shares rallied 15% in early trade after kicking off a high impact maiden drilling program at its CSG Project in Mongolia.

“The aim of the drilling program is to acquire definitive data on the thickness, gas content and permeability indicators of the targeted coal seams in order to demonstrate the potential of the Project to supply reliable, cleaner energy to both Mongolia and nearby energy hungry China,” CEO Brendan Stats said in a statement.

TMK said the drilling and testing program is designed to deliver key parameters to fast track a pilot well program in the second-half of 2022.

On completion of the drilling program, TMK expects to return a maiden contingent resource - a major milestone in the potential establishment of a "world class gas project".

TMK staff ready drill activities
TMK staff in preparation for the commencement of drilling activities (Source: TMK Energy)

Federal Government grant for Arafura rare earths' project

Arafura Resources (ASX: ARU) has been awarded grant funding of $30m as part of the Federal Government’s $240m investment into the local rare earth minerals industry. The company’s stock is up 20% in early trade. 

The funding will contribute to the construction of a $90.8m rare earth separation plant at the company’s Nolans Project, located in the Northern Territory.  

Arafura said that Nolans is Australia’s only shovel-ready Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) project, with the potential to supply around 5% of the world’s NdPr demand. 

“This grant is an exciting milestone for Arafura, recognising the strategic significance of the Nolans Project and its place in the future of critical minerals processing in Australia,” Arafura Managing Director Gavin Lockyer said.

Arafura is targeting a final investment decision for Nolans in the second-half of 2022. The company is currently progressing offtake and project funding activities. 

Australian Vanadium awarded government manufacturing collaboration grant

Australia Vanadium (ASX: AVL) was awarded $49m as part of the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative. The company's stock rallied 23% as the market opened.

The funds will be used to support the development of the Australian Vanadium Project in WA. The project consists of an open cut mine and a crushing, milling and beneficiation plant, and a vanadium pentoxide processing plant. 

Australian Vanadium Project
Location of the Australian Vanadium Project

For the uninitiated, vanadium is used in critical aerospace and chemical applications. The metal is also showing growing use in long duration, battery storage applications. 

Another funding recipient: Alpha HPA

Alpha HPA (ASX: A4N) has been approved a $45m grant from the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

"Alpha is delighted to receive this level of financial support fro the HPA First Project from the Australian Federal Government," said Managing Director Rimas Kairaitis.

"This grant recognises the unique potential for the HPA First Project to supply critical high purity aluminium materials to the important de-carbonising industries of LED lighting and eMobility."

Alpha HPA expects to hit production status in the September quarter 2022.

The company is currently working through project financing and market outreach for a potential final investment decision for a full scale HPA First Project.

Alpha shares are up 19% in early-trade.

Aerial overview of HPA FIrst Project
Aerial overview of HPA First Project (Source: Alpha HPA)

Latin Resources

Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) has intersected multiple spodumene bearing pegmatites as part of its maiden drilling campaign at the Salinas Lithium Project in Brazil.

"The growing thickness along with the rich spodumene pegmatites is further indication that Latin may have a very compelling lithium project on its books," Managing Director Chris Gale commented.

Gale pointed out that the company trades at a much lower market cap compared to fellow lithium peers. He believes the company offers a "strong potential for re-rating as positive assay results confirm the strength of the Salinas Project."

Assay results are expected to emerge in the next few weeks.

Written By

Kerry Sun

Finance Writer & Social Media

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University and was Vice President of the University Network for Investing and Trading (UNIT). He is an avid swing trader, and drawn to breakouts and technical set ups. Outside of writing and trading, Kerry is a huge UFC fan, loves poker and bouldering.

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