Assets in mining friendly Western Australia: available infrastructure and markets
Experienced management and new CEO who is lithium production expert
Bidding to tap into booming battery metals sector
BlueBird Battery Metals (CVE:BATT) (OTCMKTS:BBBMF) has assets in Western Australia, which is a growing hub for energy metals production.
Its strategy is to provide investors with exposure to price increases in nickel, lithium and cobalt -- the three main materials used in EV (electric vehicles) and energy storage batteries.
The company's 42 sq km Canegrass project is road accessible and initial exploration identified anomalous nickel, cobalt and copper. There have also been over 325 vanadium grab samples at surface.
The Ashburton project lies in the famous Pilbara region, covering a total land area of 189 sq km. Multiple significant rock chip results include 3,110 ppm (parts per million) cobalt and 2,500 ppm cobalt.
Thirdly, the recently acquired Southern lithium project consists of nine granted exploration licences, three exploration licence applications and a granted prospecting licence with a total land area of 664 sq km. The area has demonstrated potential for significant lithium oxide discoveries including mines at Greenbushes, Mt Caitlin, Mt Marion, Earl Grey, Bald Hill, Mt Kathleen and Buldania.
Why battery metals?
The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is the big growth driver for lithium and cobalt, which are used in the vehicles' batteries. The auto industry has committed to spending US$300 billion on EV development and production by 2025, while nine countries and multiple states and cities are planning bans on gas and diesel vehicles from the same year.
Meanwhile, 2.1 million electric vehicles were sold last year and 5.4 million are expected to be in use by the end of 2018. There are more than 630,000 plus charge stations in place and commitments to roll out multi-million location networks by 2030. So the opportunity is large.
The explorer has been making strides on the ground. In February this year, the company hailed initial sampling results from the Ashburton cobalt project, which showed high-grades in many locations. A highlight sample included up to 0.421% or 4,214 ppm (parts per million) cobalt from surface rock chip sampling.
"The scale of the targets across our extensive land holdings is becoming increasingly clear and is very encouraging. This is an under-explored region and we are looking forward to advancing our exploration activity," the company said at the time.
And drilling at Canegrass last year extended the strike length of nickel, copper and cobalt mineralization to 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles). The results showed the "potential for a significant magmatic nickel copper sulphide discovery at Canegrass" BlueBird had said.
The acquisition of the Southern Lithium project in April and its portfolio of lithium projects in Western Australia, has been the subject of recent excitement at BlueBird and it plans to aggressively start exploring the project, where it has multiple targets, as soon as possible to confirm the potential.
Western Australia has seen a boom in lithium activity, with six new mines coming into commercial production from lithium oxide mineralization, Also significantly, three new lithium refineries are being either proposed or constructed.
The firm has been bolstering the board of late and recently appointed CEO George Karageorge is a leading expert in Australian lithium and tantalum. He found the Pilgangoora lithium deposit for Pilbara minerals, which grew the firm into a A$1.5 billion market cap miner in under four years.
In April, he highlighted the potential of the Southern Lithium asset, noting the tenements lie along strike from Kidman Resources' Earl Grey deposit, which is 190 million ton 1.5% lithium deposit.
"The significance of this host rock, which bears the lithium is significant. It's wide, it's deep and it's thick and we think that we've got what it takes to have a major discovery," he said, adding the firm hopes to advance this project quickly.
What the CEO says
"We're very lucky to have all our assets in Western Australia. We've got our lithium assets in the south of Western Australia, along strike of known lithium deposits. We then have vanadium and copper and nickel deposits on known strike length to other significant deposits and then of course we have a small show in the Pilbara, in the north of Western Australia so all of our assets are in WA and we'll develop South East Asian customers on a find - in most probably China and Korea."