MetalsGrove logs 12 manganese drill targets as WA airborne survey wraps up

Mon 19 Sep 22, 10:02am (AEST)
A small privately owned plane flying overhead a photographer before a blue sky and large white cloud
Source: Unsplash

Key Points

  • MetalsGrove now has 12 targets to aim the drills at once surface mapping is complete at the Woodie Woodie North manganese project
  • 12 targets identified in airborne survey that commenced in August
  • Surface mapping underway ahead of drilling; drilling approvals being finalised

MetalsGrove (ASX:MGA) now has 12 targets to drill at its WA Woodie Woodie North manganese project, following the detection of a dozen magnetic anomalies on-site at the end of an airborne survey run. 

Pre-drilling fieldwork is now underway by the company’s geotech team, bolstered by earlier surface soil sampling results of up to 52% manganese in-sample, firmly a high grade finding. Whether or not these grades are replicated underground remains to be seen. 

The company is currently progressing with drilling approvals and expects its maiden drilling campaign at Woodie Woodie to commence later this year. 

Significant understanding

“This detailed survey has significantly improved our technical understanding of the project and highlighted multiple compelling drill targets,” MetalsGrove MD Sean Sivasamy said. 

“We are moving quickly to finalise all necessary approvals ahead of our maiden drilling campaign…we are also advancing exploration across Upper Coondina and Arunta, in what is shaping up as a very busy finish to the calendar year.”

Data amalgamation 

MetalsGrove launched the airborne survey on which it reports today at the start of August last month, which it launched following a review of pre-existing historical magnetic data. 

In short, the company only had to fill in the gaps, organising an airborne survey that would not re-cover areas already flown. This freshest airborne survey flew 1,596 line kilometres.

In just over a month and a half, the company has effectively boosted its geotechnical database in a relatively low-cost fashion opposed to the size of the airborne campaign that would otherwise be required, had no historical data been available. 

Why manganese? 

The same reasons driving enthusiasm for copper, nickel, and silver, are also playing out in manganese exploration markets. 

In short, the metal is another basic material modern EV battery manufacturers require to make electric cars with performance specs good enough to persuade buyers away from internal combustion vehicles. 

Manganese is also a valuable alloy for steelmakers. While pricing for the metal is somewhat opaque, Chinese metal market information provider SMM noted last month prices at many benchmarks sit above US$2,000 a tonne. 

This reflects a tenfold increase for prices since 2014, when a commodities glut caused many operations to be mothballed. 

Last year, Livewire Markets went so far as to describe manganese as the ‘next hot battery metal.’ 

BloombergNEF further expects demand for manganese in lithium-ion batteries to reflect a ninefold increase between 2021 and 2030.

A look at MetalsGrove's three month charts. Will strong drill results encourage more liquidity?
A look at MetalsGrove's three month charts. Will strong drill results encourage more liquidity?

Disclaimer: Market Index helps small-cap ASX listed companies connect with Australian investors through clear and concise articles on key developments. MetalsGrove was a client at the time of publishing. All coverage contains factual information only and should not be interpreted as an opinion or financial advice.

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Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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