Aus Tin Mining (ASX: ANW) CEO Peter Williams provides updates on drilling results from the Mount Cobalt project.
Carolyn Herbert: Hello. I'm Carolyn Herbert from the Finance News Network and joining me on the phone from Aus Tin Mining is CEO Peter Williams. Peter, welcome back.
Peter Williams: Thanks Carolyn.
Carolyn Herbert: Peter, now, can you start by giving us a brief introduction to your key project and the company's strategy?
Peter Williams: I'd be delighted to Carolyn. Our vision is to become a major Australian tin producer; and we currently operate the Granville Tin Project on the west coast of Tasmania, and are developing the world-class Taronga Tin Project, located in northern New South Wales. The Granville project provides cash flow, and Taronga provides growth in tin, which is a very exciting space at the moment.
We also have an active exploration program targeting tin, copper, silver and lithium in New South Wales, and cobalt, nickel and copper near Kilkivan in Queensland. And certainly, with cobalt prices having risen very strongly in the last three months, cobalt's also an exciting spot to be in.
Carolyn Herbert: Thanks. Now, the company's recently completed a drilling program at Mount Cobalt. What were the results of that program?
Peter Williams: Yes, look, we just completed an initial program of nine holes to target high-grade extensions down dip of some historic workings and also along strike of Mount Cobalt. What was really interesting was some of the high-grade results that we encountered below, particularly, one set of the historic workings, which highlighted the potential for high-grade mineralisation at depth. The best result we obtained was an intersection of 7m at 0.84% cobalt and 0.83% nickel, which is equivalent to a cobalt equivalent of 1.13% cobalt. But we certainly also obtained a number of other notable intersections, including 9m at 0.22% cobalt, 19m at 0.45% cobalt, and 13m at 0.12% cobalt. These, coupled with some previous intersections, including up to 18m at 0.37% cobalt, provide enormous opportunity for this particular project.
What was also interesting was that we had very extensive nickel mineralisation, and certainly reinforced some of the previous results. The highest grade we received in this round of drilling was 1m at 2.16% nickel, but we actually averaged just under 0.6 across all 180 samples that we analysed. And these holes, whilst they weren't particularly deep, given we were targeting cobalt, previous holes had intersections of up to 100m at 0.59% nickel, which suggests a big system; and we think that, potentially, it's sort of 650m long, up to 250m wide, by 100m deep.
Carolyn Herbert: So, Peter, how do the results compare to other cobalt projects in Australia?
Peter Williams: I like to think these results compared pretty favourably with some of the other projects, suggesting that Mount Cobalt's actually the higher end of the grade curve, and commencing at shallower depths. We did a comparison of drilling results from Mount Cobalt against three other projects and plotted the grade interval, which is a percentage of metal, in this case cobalt, by the length of the intersection in metres; and when we plot those results, we see that our highest-grade interval, which is the 9m at 0.84% cobalt, was actually above any other intersections reported at the time of our ASX release. The fact that some other projects had more data on the chart simply reflects the fact that we haven't undertaken as much drilling. And whilst we haven't done enough work to report a JORC resource, it is worth considering that some of the other cobalt projects with their resource grades, you know, include a grade sort of around 0.1% cobalt. So, we actually think we can be justifiably excited about the prospects of this project.
Carolyn Herbert: And finally, Peter, what's the outlook for cobalt demand in the medium term, and where is cobalt used?
Peter Williams: The outlook for cobalt looks very exciting, because cobalt's a critical component of lithium-ion batteries. Along with graphite and lithium, cobalt is one of the primary constituents in lithium-ion batteries, with cobalt being the cathode; and it's certainly been well reported that demand for lithium-ion batteries is set to explode, attributable in part to the extraordinary growth in electric vehicles and fixed energy storage. And whilst there's been significant investment into exploration and development of lithium and graphite projects, by comparison there has been relatively little into cobalt; and, in fact, some analysts predict that this lack of investment could cause problems in delivering the required demand for rechargeable batteries.
The possible supply constraint for cobalt is exacerbated by the fact that 65% of current cobalt production comes from the DRC in Africa, and there's increasing scrutiny over the supply of cobalt out of DRC, with some of the sustainability concerns and increase in Chinese ownership. And in fact, out of global cobalt production, only 10% actually comes out of OECD countries, so it sort of highlights the desirability to progress cobalt production from countries such as Australia.
Carolyn Herbert: Peter Williams, thanks for the update.
Peter Williams: Thanks, Carolyn.