EuroNews: 7th July 2021

7th July 2021

The big news in European mining this month is the EU has added lithium, an important battery metal, to the list of critical materials whose supply it wishes to secure and diversify, because it foresees an increasing demand out to 2050.  Analysts estimate that EU demand for lithium will increase 60-fold over that time, one of the largest gains compared to a 15-fold increase in demand for cobalt and 10-fold for rare earths.  At the moment, 78% of the EU’s lithium supply comes from Chile.

The EU is a major design and manufacturing powerhouse for items that require lithium and other battery metals, such as electric vehicles and power storage infrastructure.  While the technology might be held on the continent, the raw material supply to actually build those devices is certainly not.  The announcement from the EU came mantled in rhetoric about securing that supply, but with minimal known deposits of metals like lithium in the zone, the best it can probably do is ramp up processing and refining facilities to reduce its dependence on everything but the rawest of commodities.

One exception to that lack of supply is Deutsche Lithium GmbH, who has the 125, 000 t lithium Zinnwald project around 35 km south of Dresden in Germany.  This is exactly the kind of project the EU dreams of; the lithium is being mined and mechanically processed on site, then transferred to a chemical processing facility where it is turned into lithium carbonate and fluoride, with potassium sulphate as a by-product.  There was big news for Deutsche Lithium this month, with Zinnwald Lithium (LON:ZNWD) buying the 50% of the company that it didn’t already own for €8.8 million.  Zinnwald itself is 44.2% owned by Bacanora Lithium (LON:BCN), and there is a chain of ownership that demonstrates that relatively large and diverse companies are taking European lithium seriously, no doubt reassured by the EU’s commitment to securing the critical metal supply.

Lithium is not the only battery metal whose supply Europe must secure.  Copper is also vital for the transition to an electric future, and Europe does have some capacity to produce this crucial metal.  The big news in this regard is Goldplay’s (TSXV:AUC) acquisition of the Indice Crucial projects in Portugal this month.  These copper-gold deposits are in various stages of development, but the major Barrancos projects, which include the past-producing Aparis copper mine, are relatively progressed, with the company working towards a resource estimate.  Aparis produced copper concentrate averaging up to 35% Cu, and historical drilling has returned results of up to 3.09% Cu over 47 m. In addition, the nearby Lírio gold deposit has up to 125 g/t Au from chip samples, and the Bigorne and Vilarica gold exploration applications have also returned promising results. You can view this page for more information about these deposits.

It is certainly good to see juniors like Goldplay, as well as larger outfits like Zinnwald, investing in European mining.  Many companies have been wary of EU investment due to perceived high costs and environmental red tape, but as Goldplay has discovered, there are major benefits to operating in secure, transparent and stable jurisdictions like Portugal and Germany, and many local communities are very receptive to mining development, seeing the benefits of better infrastructure and jobs.  Check out Prospech below for another company taking advantage of the positive investment environment in Europe!

Around the Traps

There’s lots to say about Prospech (ASX:PRS) this week.  Firstly, have a look at the spectacular video below, produced by Spotlight, that highlights the exciting work being done at their Nova Baña and Cejkov-Zemplin precious metals projects in Slovakia.  Secondly, check out today’s news release on the Zemplin prospect, where the company has announced final assay results from its drilling program that returned a maximum of a staggering 1,220 g/t silver over 0.5 m.  These are the kinds of results we like to see!

Another Europe-focussed company with exciting results is Rupert Resources (TSXV:RUP), who yesterday announced drilling results from their Heinä project in Finland.  They also picked up an astonishing result, with 1,213 g/t gold over 0.5 m, plus good grades over three discovery holes. The Heinä project remains open in all directions.

More great gold results from Finland, with Firefox Gold (TSXV:FFOX, OTCQB:FFOXF) announcing in June that they had drilled 93.88 g/t at the Mustajärvi project.  We might be seeing a Finnish gold rush in the near future!

Yet more drilling results from Finland, with Mawson (TSX:MAW, FSE:MXR) announcing that one hole at its Rajapalot project intersected 2 m at 11.2 g/t Au, 1,019 ppm Co and 12.0 g/t AuEq, among other positive results.

Leading Edge Materials (TSXV:LEM, OTCQB:LEMIF) announced in June that it had a preliminary Life Cycle Assessment for its Woxna graphite project in Sweden.  The company plans to produce natural graphite anode material at the plant with 85-90% lower carbon emissions than current Chinese alternatives.

Mundoro (TSXV:MUN, OTCQB:MUNMF) has a release out announcing drilling and exploration progress on its Vale partnered porphyry copper-molybdenum-gold project and its GT7 copper project in Serbia.