Metals Australia

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Metals Australia (ASX:MLS) is a mineral exploration company with a high-quality portfolio of advanced battery minerals and metals projects in Tier 1 mining jurisdictions of Western Australia and Canada. The portfolio comprises two critical minerals projects in Quebec, Canada — the Lac Rainy flake graphite project and the Corvette River lithium (and gold) project. The Australian portfolio comprises four projects: Tennant Creek (copper-gold) in the Northern Territory and Warrambie (lithium, nickel-copper, gold), Murchison (gold) and Manindi (lithium, vanadium-titanium, zinc) – all in Western Australia.

The push for net zero targets and the call from policymakers to transition to cleaner energy has intensified the focus on electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage. The EV automakers and battery manufacturers, rely on essential materials such as graphite and metals, including lithium, nickel, copper and cobalt, to manufacture the batteries that are used in these vehicles and storage batteries generally. This has driven carmakers and battery manufacturers to partner with battery material suppliers under direct off-take agreements. Further, some automakers/battery manufacturers are buying equity stakes in miners, involving them directly in financing decisions for the development of mining projects. This is encouraging for companies such as Metals Australia as it actively advances its projects towards development.

Figure 2 – Graphite is a Critical Mineral required for the mass electrification of auto transportation.

Metals Australia is focused on progressing its flagship Lac Rainy flake graphite project in Quebec, Canada. The project is well-positioned to supply high quality graphite products, including battery-grade graphite to the North American market – including for lithium-ion and EV battery production in the future. The company announced positive sampling results across a 36-km strike length of identified graphite trends at Lac Rainy, including many values over 20% Cg and an exceptionally high-grade sample containing over 63% Cg. The company has planned a drilling program to test new high-grade zones identified from the sampling program, which will form the basis for upgrading the existing Lac Rainy Mineral Resource. An application for the drilling program is progressing with the Quebec regulator. Additionally, the company has recently commenced a Flake Graphite concentrate prefeasibility study with Lycopodium in Ontario and a downstream battery anode plant design with ANZAPLAN in Germany.

Metals Australia is also advancing its lithium, gold and silver exploration project at Corvette River, which is adjacent to Patriot Battery Metals’ world-class lithium project. Further, the company carries out aggressive exploration programs at its other projects, including Manindi, Warrambie & the Murchison in Western Australia and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory region of Australia.

Metals Australia is well-funded to complete all its planned exploration and project studies. The cash position at the end of Q1 2024 was AU$17.86 million, which we note was higher than the company’s market capital at current share price. Metals Australia benefits from a team of professionals boasting extensive expertise in geology and mining. The appointment of experienced mining executive Paul Ferguson as the CEO is positive for the company. Since joining in January 2024, he has significantly advanced planning and preparation for the exploration, metallurgical test work programs, and design studies required to move its flagship Lac Rainy high-grade graphite project towards development. The Corvette Project has also completed exploration planning and is now fully permitted for drilling and trenching work during the northern hemisphere summer.

Company Highlights

Metals Australia is rapidly advancing its flag ship Lac Rainy Graphite Project in Quebec, Canada. In addition, the company has a suite of high-quality exploration projects – including Lithium, Gold and Silver in Quebec, Canada and Lithium, Gold, Copper & Vanadium in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT). All projects are in Tier-1 mining jurisdictions (Canada and Australia) with world-class prospectivity and stable geo-politically. The company has six key exploration and development projects: two in Canada: the Lac Rainy high-grade flake graphite project and the Corvette River lithium and gold-silver-copper exploration project, and,four in Australia: Warrambie (lithium, nickel-copper, gold), Murchison (gold) and Manindi (lithium, vanadium-titanium, zinc-silver) in WA, and Tennant Creek (Warrego East copper-gold) in the NT.The focus is to rapidly advance its flagship Lac Rainy Graphite Project towards development. A drilling program is already contracted to substantially increase the existing JORC 2012 Mineral Resource of 13.3 Mt @ 11.5 percent graphitic carbon (Cg) and test the potential of the many other identified high-grade graphite trends.The 2020 Scoping Study on Lac Rainy based on the existing resource, representing only 1km of drilling out of the total 36kms of identified graphite trends, indicates a 14-year mine life with a production of 100,000 tons per annum and a pre-tax NPV @ 8 percent of US$123 million (~AUD$190 million). Furthermore, other projects in Canada including the Corvette River lithium and gold targets, and exploration in Australia at Manindi, Warrambie, Murchison and Warrego – are all seeing active progress. The company is well-funded to complete all its planned exploration and project studies. The cash position at the end of Q1 2024 was AU$17.86 million.Metals Australia is led by a seasoned board and management team possessing extensive mining sector experience and a proven track record of successful discoveries and project developments. With funding in place, the company is well-positioned to capitalise on growth prospects.

Figure 1 – Location of Metals Australia’s projects in the Tier 1 Mining Jurisdictions in Quebec, Canada and Australia’s Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Key Projects


Lac Rainy Flake Graphite Project (MLS 100%)

Figure 3 – Conceptual 3D Mining layout from February 2021 Scoping Study

The Lac Rainy Graphite project is located in eastern Quebec, Canada, a tier 1 mining jurisdiction with access to excellent infrastructure, including hydroelectric power facilities. The project hosts an existing JORC 2012 mineral resource of 13.3 million tons (Mt) @ 11.5 percent graphitic carbon, which was announced in 2020 and a scoping study was completed and reported on in early 2021. Battery test work followed, in Germany, and this demonstrated the Lac Rainy Graphite concentrate could be shaped, purified, coated and used in battery applications with excellent results. Given the above work, the company carried out further field work, recently announcing exceptionally high-grade sampling results from 80 samples on 10 identified graphitic trends across the property. This included a sample containing 63 percent graphitic carbon, and 10 samples containing over 20% Cg. The average grade of the sampling was 11% Cg, which is comparable to the current high-grade resource. The combined strike length of the identified high-grade graphitic zones is over 36 kms. This compares to just 1 km of drilling on 1.6 kms of graphite trend that was utilised to obtain the existing resource. The potential for expanding and upgrading the existing resource remains enormous.

Figure 4 –Lac Rainy Graphite project – Electromagnetic imagery outlining graphite trends and the resource

Additional drilling and development studies are either planned or are already underway, including a pre-feasibility study for a high grade Flake graphite concentrate product – which has commenced and a downstream purification options assessment and a scoping study for a battery anode facility in North America, which has been contracted. The company also announced it is contract ready for its planned drilling program and will fast-track the program as soon as permits are received from the Quebec regulator.

Corvette River Lithium Project (MLS 100%)

Corvette River Lithium, gold and silver Project is located in Quebec’s James Bay region Metals Australia recently announced that it is fully permitted to advance an extensive field exploration program across its holdings which include the wholly owned East Pontois, Felicie and West Pontois projects, situated within Patriot Battery Metals’ (ASX:PMT) CV Lithium Trend, as well as tenements at West and East Eade in the company’s parallel Corvette River South Trend. A field mapping and sampling program concluded last year and identified large, potentially lithium-bearing pegmatites immediately along strike from Patriot Battery Metals’ world-class lithium pegmatite discoveries. Additionally, the company has flagged significant gold and silver samples from its review of work previously completed across the field as is illustrated in the diagram below.

Figure 5 – The Corvette Projects in the James Bay region of Canada. Prospective for Lithium, Gold & Silver

Australian Projects

Warrambie Project (MLS 80%)

The Warrambie project is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is 20 kms west of the Andover Lithium discovery (Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS). Metals Australia has completed geophysical surveys across the area and is identifying targets for further field exploration and drilling.

Tennant Creek (Copper-Gold) Project (MLS 80%)

Metals Australia acquired the tenements as part of a package purchased from Payne Gully Gold in 2022. The company’s tenements include a granted exploration license (E32725) directly along strike to the east of the Warrego copper-gold deposit, which has a production of 1.45 Million Ounces of gold at 8 grams per tonne and over 90,000 tonnes of Copper at 2%. The Warrego mine operated from the late 1950’s through until 1989. It was found under sedimentary cover. The area and this land package is under detailed review utilizing available geophysical surveys. The company aims to identify further targets hidden under shallow sediment cover.

Murchison Gold Project (MLS 80%)

The Murchison tenements were also acquired as part of the Payne Gully Gold transaction. Metals Australia owns exploration licenses at the Murchison gold project, which is adjacent to the >5 million ounces (Moz) Big Bell gold deposit. The company plans to conduct detailed magnetics and gravity surveys to test for extensions and repeats of high-grade gold deposits.

Manindi Project (MLS 80%)

The Manindi project is located in the Murchison District, approximately 500 kms northeast of Perth in Western Australia. The project comprises three mining leases and has an established high-grade zinc mineral resource. The metallurgical test work has located spodumene in samples from a high-grade lithium intersection of 12m @ 1.38 percent lithium oxide, including 3m @ 2.12 percent lithium oxide. The company also made a new vanadium-titanium discovery at the Manindi project.

Management Team

Paul Ferguson – Chief Executive Officer

A Mining Engineer, Paul Ferguson has over three decades of experience in the resources and energy sectors across North America, Asia and Australia. He has extensive project development and operational experience working in Canada. He has worked in oil & gas major ExxonMobil across project stages, including feasibility, design, construction, and operation. He has worked in Executive level roles within Australia, including at GMA Garnet and held increasingly more senior roles with BHP (Iron Ore & Coking Coal) and then with Exxon Coal Minerals and Mobil Oil Australia during the early stages of his career.

Tanya Newby – CFO and Joint Company Secretary

Tanya Newby is a finance and governance professional with over 20 years experience in various corporate and commercial roles. She has a strong background in the resources sector and has provided financial advice and assistance to a number of publicly listed entities through exploration, project development through to the production stage. Tanya is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Member of the Governance Institute of Australia and a Graduate Member of the Institute of Company Directors.

Michael Muhling – Joint Company Secretary

Michael Muhling has over two decades of experience in the resources, including 15 years in senior roles with ASX-listed companies. He is a fellow of CPA Australia, The Chartered Governance Institute, and the Governance Institute of Australia.

John Dugdale – Technical Advisor

John Dugdale is a geologist with over 35 years of experience in the discovery and development of graphite, lithium, gold, nickel and copper projects. His corporate experience includes serving as a director and CEO of several junior resource companies focused on nickel-cobalt, graphite and copper-gold projects. Additionally, he has experience in funds management with Lion Selection Group.

Chris Ramsay – General Manager Geology

Chris Ramsay is a geologist and project manager with over 25 years of experience in the global mining industry. He has been involved in exploration, mine development and operations for mining projects in Australasia, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa and North America.


Michael Scivolo – Non-executive Chairman

Michael Scivolo has extensive accounting and taxation experience for corporate and non-corporate entities. He was a partner/director at a CPA firm until 2011 and has since been consulting in accounting and taxation. Scivolo is on the boards of several ASX-listed mining companies, including Sabre Resources, Golden Deeps and Tennant Minerals Ltd.

Alexander Biggs – Non-executive Director

Alexander Biggs has over 20 years of experience in the mining and engineering sector. During his career, he has been involved in various activities, including operations, consulting, finance and capital raising. He is currently the managing director of Lightning Minerals (ASX) and was previously the managing director of Critical Resources (ASX:CRR). Biggs is a member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and a graduate of the Western Australian School of Mines.

Rachelle Domansky – Non-executive Director

Rachelle Domansky is an ESG specialist and a consulting psychologist for businesses, governments and educational institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to Metals Australia, Rachelle holds non-executive board positions at Quebec Lithium and Access Plus WA Deaf.

Basil Conti – Non-executive Director

Basil Conti has been associated with the mining industry for over 25 years. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ and was a partner/director of a chartered accounting firm in West Perth until 2015.

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