Matt Szwedzicki is the new Managing Director of West Cobar and he assures shareholders that it’s business as usual. The recent news from the company is evident that the exploration objectives are all status quo.
To the followers of Samso, you would remember that in my previous conversation with West Cobar Metals Limited (WC1), we highlighted the Salazar Rare Earth project. The Salazar project has a slightly different edge as it is hosted in an ultramafic rock, Amphibolite.
Since that time, I have had many discussions on the increased awareness of different host rocks. Traditionally the clay REE sector was all about granitic host rocks, but I have now come across WC1 and then Australian Rare Earths Limited (ASX: AR3). The big question is whether these different host rocks make any difference.
Matt gives us an update on the company about their recent announcements and the change in management.
01:12 Who is Matt Szwedzicki?
05:28 Updates on West Cobar projects
09:26 Feedback on West Cobar projects
12:15 The Rare Earths market
14:01 The Hermit Hill project
15:41 How should investors look at West Cobar?
19:33 Discussion about ionic leaching
24:03 News flow
26:38 Why West Cobar Metals Limited?
The West Cobar Story
West Cobar is a minerals exploration and development company focused on rare earths and battery minerals within Australia and the US. Their projects include:
The Salazar Rare Earths Clay Project is located on non-agricultural undeveloped state land approximately 120km north-east of the township and deep-water port of Esperance in Western Australia. The Newmont deposit, located on the easternmost tenement at Salazar, contains an estimated JORC Inferred Mineral Resource of 43.5Mt at 1192ppm TREO + Y2O3 (500ppm cut-off). The O’Connor prospect to the west of Newmont has potential to host further significant high-grade rare earths mineralization.
The Montezuma Well and Big Smoky Valley claims are considered prospective for large-scale sedimentary-hosted lithium claystone deposits. The claims are located within the world class mining-friendly jurisdiction of the Nevada lithium district and host similar geology to known major lithium deposits in the region – including American Lithium (TLC deposit), American Battery Technology Company (Tonopah Flats deposit), Ioneer (Rhyolite Ridge deposit) and Century Lithium (Clayton Valley deposit).
The Hermit Hill project area is located in the Litchfield Province in the Northern Territory, roughly 100km south, southwest of Core Lithium’s Finniss Lithium Project and Lithium Plus Minerals’ Lei lithium prospect, and 30km west of Ragusa Minerals’ Tank Hill lithium discovery. The project is prospective for pegmatite-hosted lithium mineralisation.
In my opinion, the Clay REE story is a developing concept. When the “boom” happened, I posed the question to the companies that were engaging in Coffee with Samso – “What is a good intersection?” Then I asked, “What should investors look for and since now we are at the stage where we are asking, how leachable is your material?” So now, the market is thinking that ionic clays are the type you want to discover as these types leach better.
Well, that may be true but there is no other way to know if you are Ionic or not, other than to send your samples to the lab. The implication of this is, what are we exploring for, and how we are going to know if the discovery is indeed “Clay” or “Ionic” in nature.
The majority of explorers are looking for REE in a Granitic environment but Salazar is in an ultramafic basement and the AR3 example is in a limestone. So, what does all this mean? My thoughts are that the “news” that Ionic is more leachable than Clay may not necessary be the end game. I think the truth will only be told when the lab results are finalised.
What is for sure is that the different chemistry must play some part in the leaching side of the equation. Salazar is distinctly different so the jury is definitely still out on all fronts.
About Matt Szwedzicki
Matt Szwedzicki has over 20 years of corporate and commercial experience, having worked in senior leadership roles with a focus on M&A, corporate growth and investment strategy.
Matt co-founded and is the Managing Director of Spark New Energies, an energy company with its main assets in the UK. Prior to that Matt held various executive corporate and commercial roles in the energy and resources industries.