Is the gold rally here to stay? 14 small cap gold miners worth watching

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Is the gold rally here to stay? 


“…Well chosen gold miners can offer premium returns above the gold price and a more rapid appreciation than the product they sell. Investors looking for value might look beyond the mining majors to small gold miners…”


Below we pick out a 14 small cap gold miners worth watching : 




The most predictable thing about gold, perhaps, is that it is not predictable. And that is the whole point. The precious metal continues to prove its worth as a safe haven asset when all else is falling. As, it seems, it is doing now.

Spot prices for gold touched $2,000 per ounce last month for the first time since the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, well on the way to the heights reached during the first months of the pandemic, with options trading indicating the possibility of a sustained rally in the weeks ahead. The five-day rolling volume of call options – which give investors the right to buy assets at a set price at a later date – on the SPDR Gold Trust ETF has increased fivefold since the start of the month. The ratio of call against put options – which protect against downside risk – is unusually high, suggesting traders believe prices are going higher. Inflows into gold ETFs have reached to their highest weekly level for 12 months. Confidence in the sector was highlighted this week when Newmont raised its offer for fellow Australian giant Newcrest to $19.5bn.

There are several plausible reasons for the rally. As noted, gold seems to be performing its age-old role as refuge, offering shelter in the wake of the unease generated by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Banks, and through the ongoing political and economic uncertainty. Central banks have supported the price for some time, purchases rising 4.5 times through 2022 and 2022. In the present political climate leading buyer China has been keen to diversify from dependence on the US dollar, the world’s most default reserve currency.

A rather more counter-intuitive suggestion is that gold is rising precisely because inflation may be reaching a plateau (it is often supposed that gold benefits from higher inflation, not lower). There are tentative indications that the US Federal Reserve’s efforts to engineer a ‘soft’ economic slowdown to ease inflationary pressures is working, opening the possibility that interest rates may not have much further to rise. Lower interest rates make gold, a yield-free investment, more attractive.

The latest US employment figures indicate that the economy is losing some of its momentum, with the pace of hiring decelerating and wage growth easing. Other data shows that US manufacturing activity has plumbed its lowest depth in nearly three years. Futures markets suggest traders do expect the Fed to set another quarter-point rate rise next month, but that additional rises may not be necessary. Further turbulence in the banking sector might force policymakers to moderate policy further.

And, while central banks in the US, the UK and Europe are currently holding firm regarding their respective anti-inflationary strategies, the highly uncertain global outlook is also weighing on policymakers. Geopolitical conflict, rising trade protectionism, and the reduced capacity of China to inject new life into the world economy, paint a rather gloomy picture. Last month the World Bank warned that the fallout from the pandemic and Ukraine may reduce growth rates this decade by a third, projecting a global rate of 2.2pc to 2030, compared to 2.6pc between 2011 and 2021 and 3.5pc in the 2000s. And a few days ago the IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva forecast the world economy would expand at an average annual rate of about 3pc over the next five years, well below the average 3.8pc of the past two decades, and the weakest projection for medium-term growth since 1990. If conditions worsen significantly central banks may have to reconsider projected interest rate rates.

All of which supports the view that gold’s rise may have further to go. But a contrarian Daily Telegraph article makes the case for equities against gold, pointing out that falling interest rates make for a better environment for shares, not just the yellow metal. As the column puts it: ‘Just as a slowing pace of interest rate rises should aid the price of gold, equities are likely to be buoyed by the pursuit of less hawkish monetary policies. An end to interest rate rises, and even their potential fall over the coming years, is likely to have a positive impact on the economy’s prospects and company performance. Rising corporate profitability could lead to a widespread increase in share prices as investors become more upbeat about earnings growth potential.’ A return to a lower interest environment, in other words, may encourage a move back to equities, and a corresponding decline in the value of gold. 

Much speculation, then, and not much certainty. Interested investors might consider gold ETFs, which hold the metal through a stake in other securities, or an ETC, which holds the physical metal – the Invesco Physical Gold ETC (UK: SGLP; US: SGLD) for instance, which is linked to gold held in JPMorgan’s bank vaults, or iShares Physical Gold ETC (IE00B4ND3602). But another option, bearing in mind the Telegraph’s scepticism, is to look at mining shares, thereby gaining exposure to both gold and equities. Well chosen gold miners can offer premium returns above the gold price through dividends and more rapid appreciation than the product they sell. Investors looking for value might look beyond the mining majors to small gold miners. Below we pick out a few worth watching – please note all share prices and market caps are stated as at the time of writing.


Chesterfield Resources


Chesterfield Resources (AIM:CHF), with interests in gold and copper projects in North America and the Mediterranean, has started 2023 positively, finding a buyer for its Adeline Project in Labrador, eastern Canada, and continuing to define the potential of a set of fully owned licences running across Cyprus’s Troodos Mountain range

Gold was found on the island during the Cyprus mining industry’s heyday in the 1960s and 70s, but never passed the threshold of commercialisation, stalled by the 1974 conflict with Turkey. CHF has undertaken remote sensing, mapping, archive, geochemical and geophysics programmes to uncover Volcanognic Massive Sulphide (VMS) deposits pre-modern exploration techniques had not been able to access. In 2019 a cluster of prospective VMS targets were identified indicating the presence of a VMS belt capable of producing a clean gold-rich copper concentrate. Diamond drilling indicated an extensive gold/silver system, significantly enhancing ‘prospectivity at three target areas, Orchard, Evlim and Evlim South’ and establishing ‘a 12 km geological trend … now considered key to controlling several mineralised systems, with the potential for further discoveries along the structure’. This ‘Westline Trend’ has yielded gold equivalent grades ranging from 1.63 g/t to 8.04 g/t, and copper equivalent grades from 1.00pc to 4.94pc.

CHF’s Cyprian strategy for 2023 promises ‘more drilling to continue to test the mineralised system for massive sulphide with potential in all directions’. The company is open to proposals for joint venture or direct investment in the Cyprus licences ‘though no such discussions are currently advanced.’

Located within the western half of the region’s 260 km long Central Mineral Belt, the Adeline prospect comprises five contiguous mineral licenses covering 297.3 km2 spanning the full extent of the Seal Lake basin, a geological structure hosting some 250 copper prospects. Historic trenching and channel sampling has established the presence of copper grades ranging from 10pc to 30pc. Drill testing has so far been limited due to a lack of road access but the data accumulated to date indicates ‘distinct similarities to many of the world’s great sediment-hosted copper deposits … with belts including very rich copper ore mineralogy, efficient metal traps needed to form economic copper-silver deposits, and km-scale strike extents of prospective geology with hundreds of copper showings that allow for multiple camp-scale discoveries.’

A desktop review researching results over the past 70 years – encompassing geophysics, rock and trench sampling, and various drilling programmes – found ‘highly encouraging historical drill intersections’ including one one of 1.76pc copper and 56.2 g/t silver over 7.9 metres within the prospect’s Ellis target.CHF has published a technical report which summarises the accumulated information gained from the field programme and desktop study, detailing the styles of copper mineralisation so far discovered and picking out primary targets for exploration.

Last summer CHF began the process of finding a buyer for Adeline, concluding that ‘a project of Adeline’s scale, size and potential value’ would ‘be able to progress much more quickly and effectively than would have been the case had Chesterfield pursued the funding and carried out the work on its own.’ The process concluded in March, CHF signing an agreement with Sterling Metals, a TSX-V and OTCQB listed exploration company, according to which Sterling will purchase an option to acquire full ownership and rights over the project in exchange for a series of payments of cash and shares.

Sterling, which has the option to acquire the Adeline licences at any time prior to 30 November 2024, will pay a total of CAD$8m in three separate payments, making CHF a significant shareholder in Sterling, giving it a stake both in the upside of the Adeline property and Sterling’s wholly owned high grade, district scale, Sail Pond silver-polymetallic property located approximately 500 km from Adeline. Discovered at the end of 2016, Sail Pond consists of a 12 km anomaly with strong surface showings of silver, copper, lead, antimony and zinc. Over the last two years Sterling has uncovered a 1 km footprint at the south end of the anomaly, and a new zone where drilling intercepted a 100pc sulfosalt vein grading 1,564 g/t Ag, 8.33pc Cu, 12.83pc Pb, 2.74pc Sb, and 3.93pc Zn. Sterling is currently running a survey to locate the source of this large footprint and plans to drill the property in 2023.

CHF currently has cash, having undertaken a £0.7m fundraise last year. Its most recent interim figures reported a cash balance as at 30 June 2022 of £663,226 (30 June 2021: £1,504,973), and a pre-tax loss for H1 2022 of £491,607 (H1 2021: loss of £433,538). The company’s current share price is 1.2p and its market cap £1.56m.

ECR Minerals


ECR Minerals (AIM:ECR) is mineral exploration and development company with a cluster of interests in Australia, Asia and South America.

The company has 100pc ownership of the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in central Victoria, with six licence applications outstanding. It has three approved exploration permits covering 946 km2 over a relatively unexplored area in Queensland, and a 90pc interest in the Danglay gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines. Following the sale of the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold projects in Victoria, ECR has the right to receive up to A$2m in payments subject to future resource estimation or production. The company also holds a royalty on the SLM gold project in Argentina, potentially worth up to $2.7m.

ECR has engaged in extensive exploration over the past 18 months. At Bailieston, sited 47 km east of Kirkland Lake Gold’s prolific Fosterville gold mine, which produced 509,601 ounces in 2021, ECR has drilled 9,485 metres across several projects. After discovering the highest-grade gold intercept yet revealed at the Historic Reserve #3 (HR3) prospect, the company completed a series of intensive diamond drilling campaigns leading to the discovery of two mineralised corridors within the Maori Anticline at HR3: the full dataset is now being evaluated by ECR’s geologists. A further two exploration licenses were granted at Bailieston, bringing the company’s total land package there to 179 km2. Of particular interest is the Blue Moon project, which offers unusually broad width and consistency. Drilling in 2019 revealed 11m @ 5.13 g/t Au and 21m @ g/t Au, with mineralisation open to the east, west and down-dip.

Drilling at Creswick revealed high grade results including 0.7m @47.75 g/t Au. A key license there was renewed during the year for a further five years, and along with the grant of the adjacent Ballarat East Nerrina Goldfield license, and new work is underway this year. Another Victoria focus is exploration of the Tambo project, which covers portions of the historic Swifts Creek/Omeo and Tambo River Goldfields that have recorded historical gold production totalling 225,000 oz. Tambo is considered to be prospective for orogenic reef gold and additionally for intrusion-related gold and base metal systems.

At the Lolworth Range in North Queensland ECR undertook a comprehensive stream sediment sampling campaign which found visible gold in 14pc of the first 125 stream sediment samples. Further anomalies with tin and tungsten, plus multiple pegmatites (potential lithium sources) were observed. Follow up work is planned this year. ECR has also been granted a conditional option to acquire three granted mining tenements located in NE Queensland, together known as the Hurricane Project. Initial assessment indicates numerous gold veins at surface with grades ranging from 1-20 g/t over widths of 0.5-7m. ECR has a conditional option to buy outright for cash and shares in 2023, and is planning drilling in July 2023 prior to a final decision to purchase.

The company continues to assess the potential of the Danglay Gold Project in the Philippines, located in a prolific gold and copper mining district to the north of the country. Though ECR’s focus is ‘very much on Australia, several options are being explored to crystallise value here.’

Earlier this month the company announced the final Niobium and Tantalum results from the stream sampling campaign at the Lolworth Range project in North Queensland. The best results include Niobium up to 894 ppm and Tantalum up to 290 ppm. Some 50 square kilometres of the Lolworth Project are now showing signs of hosting a potential Li-Nb-Ta hardrock source. It said that ‘whilst still at an early stage, these results together with the gold anomalies reported … add further credence to the Board’s view that the Lolworth Project has great potential to develop into a multi mineral flagship project for the Company.’

ECR also announced it had entered into a conditional agreement to acquire a 100pc interest in the Blue Mountain Project, Queensland, Australia, which also includes the Denny Gully Gold project, for a total consideration of £0.2m. The Blue Mountain project consists of exploration permits EPM 27175 and EPM 27183, situated some 95 kilometres south southwest of the Gladstone port and industrial complex and, more specifically, lies about 35 kilometres southeast of Biloela, the small regional pastoral- agricultural-coal mining centre in Queensland. The company believes that ‘the project can be explored for the primary (hard rock) source of the gold in the coming months.’

At year end (30 September 2022) ECR had cash of £842,889 and net assets of £5,871,625. The company’s share price at the time of writing was 0.5p, and its market cap £6.2m.

Empire Metals


Empire Metals (AIM:EEE) continues to open up what may prove a rich seam of new gold and copper prospects in Western Australia.

The company acquired a 75pc interest in the Eclipse Gold Project in 2020, a mine located 55 km north-east of Kalgoorlie that has recorded historic production of 954 tonnes at 24.6 g/t gold, and has an agreement with Maher Mining Contractors to explore, develop and mine within a granted area on Maher’s Gindalbie Gold Project, located near the historic gold mining town of Gindalbie, adjacent to Eclipse.

Last year EEE reported encouraging intercepts following 1,676 metres of drilling at Gindalbie and positive assay results from drilling at Eclipse indicating that gold mineralisation associated with targeted shear zones extends 300 metres further from the previously reported extent of mineralisation along the Eclipse shear. Continued drilling has further delineated the licence’s potential, the most recent update in February reporting a ‘highly encouraging’ campaign consisting of nine drill holes for 770m, targeting both kaolin and high-grade gold mineralisation around the historic South Gippsland #3 mine, which returned multiple significant intercepts of white kaolin. Further test work on the kaolin samples is being undertaken to determine the likely kaolin yield and brightness, two key factors in determining the quality of any potential deposit.

Last year EEE took a 70pc interest in three prospective copper-gold projects, with hopes particular high for the Pitfield Project, where a review evaluating the accumulated geophysical surveys and the historical exploration database confirmed the licence has ‘all the hallmarks of a “Giant” copper mineralised system, potentially containing multiple sediment-hosted stratabound copper (SSC) deposits’ – globally significant geological systems which deliver around 20pc of the world’s copper production and are often very large and high-grade deposits. An ‘exceptionally large, magnetic anomaly, extending over 40 km’ was identified in a setting that compares favourably with the sandstone sub-type of SSC, exemplified by the massive Udokan Ore Region in Russia.

Early this year surface sampling confirmed an historic copper-in-soil anomaly associated with the Project’s Mt Scratch workings which extended over a 4 km distance south of the workings, trending along the western margin of the highly magnetic stratigraphic units. The field mapping and rock sampling verified the soil anomaly by locating ‘extraordinarily high-grade samples of copper and silver’, with one sample reporting nearly 18pc copper and 125 g/t silver. In February DD-IP surveys identified multiple drilling targets and provided further evidence to support Pitfield’s potential, a highly chargeable anomaly detected in three DD-IP survey lines appearing to be very extensive, covering an area of at least 1,500 metres in length and up to 800 metres wide. A second highly chargeable anomaly was identified in a DD-IP line 12km south of and broadly along the same geological trend as Mt Scratch. A maiden drill programme is underway with a total of 3,100 metres of drilling planned to better understand the geology and to determine the significance of the highly chargeable-highly resistive zones identified from the DD-IP survey results. Soil sampling and DD-IP surveying continues so as to identify additional drill targets.

EEE reported cash of circa £1.25m in February, boosted by a March fundraise of £1.25m in support of further Pitfield exploration. EEE is up 70pc over the past year on the back of its encouraging progress at Pitfield, the company’s share price and market cap currently standing at 2.3p and £11.1m respectively.

GoldStone Resources


GoldStone Resources (AIM:GRL) is a mining and development company with projects in Ghana that range from grassroots exploration to production.

GRL is focused on developing the Akrokeri-Homase project in south-western Ghana, which hosts a JORC Code compliant 602,000 oz gold resource at an average grade of 1.77 g/t. The existing resource is confined to a 4 km zone of the Homase Trend, including Homase North, Homase Pit and Homase South. The project hosts two former mines, the Akrokerri Ashanti Mine Ltd, which produced 75,000 oz gold at 24 g/t recovered grade in the early 1900s, and the Homase Pit which AngloGold Ashanti developed in 2002/03 producing 52,000 oz gold at 2.5 g/t recovered. Production is currently focused on the Homase Mine, the company has longer-term plans to develop a portfolio of high-quality gold projects in Ghana, with a particular focus on the Ashanti Gold Belt.

GRL achieved its first milestone of pouring first gold November 2021 following the construction of the initial stage of the mine, but agglomeration issues soon required work to optimise the recovery of the remaining contained gold in the heap. Improvements were undertaken to handle excess clay and a greater than expected amount of silt originating from the oxide orebody’s fragile phyllitic content. The work programme was effective, but a prolonged rainy season further curtailed production, obliging the company to reduce half its 2022 target to 7,000 oz.

GRL pressed ahead with exploration at Akroteri, undertaking a diamond Drilling programme aiming to advance high-priority gold targets towards production. The first three-holes from this programme have delivered encouraging results, demonstrating significant intersections and confirming the continuity of the mineralised zone along strike of the former Akrokeri Mine.

An operations update late last year reported that 5,153 oz of gold had been produced and sold to date from the Homase Mine, realising an average price of $1,794 per oz for revenues of US$9.3m. Another update earlier this month published assay results for Akrokeri, confirming the company’s belief that ‘the Akrokeri mineralisation occupies a significant structural corridor that extends to both the south and north of the historical underground mine.’ Results show a wide mineralised lode hosting gold at 4.1m @ 11.01 g/t, including an interesection of 1m @ 41.04 g/t. The results ‘give strong grounds for continued exploration and further core drilling at Akrokeri’. At Homase, the results from soil and auger sampling confirmed anomalies that demonstrate a new mineralised zone to the west of the main Homase orebody, and also showed further extension along strike to the north and south of the known Homase Trend.

GRL’s last set of results reported net assets of $16m and cash of $0.9m. The company’s share price is currently 2.8p, and its market cap just under £14m.

Greatland Gold


Greatland Gold (AIM:GGP) continues to work towards putting its highly prospective Havieron gold-copper project in the Paterson region of Western Australia into production.

Discovered by GGP, and presently under development in joint venture with ASX gold major, Newcrest Mining, Havieron is located approximately 45 km east of Newcrest’s existing Telfer gold mine. The box cut and decline to the Havieron orebody commenced in February 2021, with the project ideally located to leverage the existing Telfer infrastructure and processing plant.

The discovery propelled GGP’s share price into the stratosphere back in early 2021, quadrupling in value to break through 40p and push the company’s market capitalisation over £1bn. The surge was comparable to market ramps in the past few years for pre-revenue mining prospects associated with SolGold and Bushveld Minerals. GGP, and its share price, have subsequently come back to earth, as the company has embarked on the long road of turning the prospect into production. Soon after the discovery GGP entered into a joint venture partnership with Newcrest, the terms of which commit the Australian giant to shoulder $50m of the cost of exploring the prospect in return for the right to earn up to a 70pc interest. GGP secured a significant funding breakthrough last year through debt and equity agreements that promise to bring in A$340m to enable the company to fully fund its 30pc share of the cost of bringing Havieron into production. Some A$220m will be met through a seven-year debt syndicate with three Australian and New Zealand banks, and a further A$120m through an equity investment by Wyloo Metals.

While GGP has sought funding for its share of the cost of developing a producing mine, Newcrest has continued to delineate the scope of the potential resource. A 2022 Mineral Resource Estimate defined a total 85 Mt @ 2.0 g/t gold and 0.26pc copper for a total of 5.5 Moz of gold and 223 kt of copper. The Resource is still growing, now 6.5 Moz AuEq. An update last month reported the decline development now exceeds 1,850m, 10pc ahead of schedule. Drilling has confirmed the presence of high grade gold and copper mineralisation outside area defining the current Mineral Resource with recent results including 29.9m @ 3.9 g/t Au and 0.01pc Cu from 945.1m on the Northern Breccia prospect, and 57m @ 2.1 g/t Au and 0.19% Cu from 1,262m on the Eastern Breccia.

Though Havieron earns the headlines, GGP continues to pursue other exploration projects across Australia and Tasmania, most notably its Juri Joint Venture, also in partnership with Newcrest. The Venture consists of two exploration licences, Paterson Range East, and Blackhills. GGP currently has a 49pc stake, but Newcrest has the right to earn up to 75pc interest by spending up to A$20m in total as part of a two-stage farm-in over five years.

GGP has several fully-owned projects, notably the Scallywag and Rudall and Canning projects, both prospective for copper and gold, and both adjacent to Havieron. And it has a set of other projects earmarked for exploration. The Ernest Giles project, in central Western Australia, covers an area of approximately 1950 km2 with around 180 km of strike of rocks prospective for gold. The eastern Yilgarn Craton is one of the most highly mineralised areas in Western Australia and is considered prospective for large gold deposits. The Panorama project, three adjoining exploration licences, covering 157 km2, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, in an area considered to be highly prospective for gold and cobalt. The Bromus project, in the southern Yilgarn region of Western Australia, consists of two licences, covering 87 km2 of under-explored greenstone and intrusive granites of the Archean Yilgarn Block at the southern end of the Kalgoorlie-Norseman belt. GGP has two further prospects in Tasmania: the Firetower project, covering an area of 62 km2, and Warrentinna, covering an area of 37 km2 with 15 km of strike prospective for gold.

Results from the 2022 exploration programme at Scallywag were published last month, recording intersections of 2m @ 2.04 g/t Au from 70m, within a mineralised gold halo of 12m @ 0.48 g/t Au from 69m. Anomalous bismuth and other pathfinder geochemistry is associated with the intersection. These results followed a ground electromagnetic (EM) survey which confirmed and refined several EM conductor targets.

GGP’s most recent half-year report recorded cash of £59.8m (30 June 2022: £10.4 million) and debt of £43.5m (30 June 2022: £43.1m). £12.2m has been invested in the development of Havieron. Exploration expenditure on Havieron and Juri continues to fully funded by Newcrest. The company’s share price gradually subsided from the heights reached in 2021, but has stabilised for the past few months at 8p at the time of writing, taking its market cap to £420m.



Small cap investor Gunsynd Plc (AIM:GUN) has spent the past year developing its critical and precious metals portfolio, buildings interests a set of prospects encompassing gold, copper, nickel and tin, all drilling or drill-ready.

The company has a 17pc stake in Rincon Resources (ASX:RCR), a gold and copper exploration company which listed on the ASX in 2021, raising A$6m to drill three wholly-owned prospects in Western Australia. The largest, South Telfer, comprises six exploration licences and two prospecting licences covering approximately 540 km2 with a prospective 40 km strike geology. South Telfer’s Hasties Prospect, just south of Newcrest Mining’s Telfer Gold Mine, which has produced 27 million oz of gold over the past 45 years, is under technical review. Early drilling, designed to confirm historical drilling results by Newcrest, and test for extensions to known shallow copper-gold mineralisation, reported high-grades zones up to 17.4 g/t gold and 5.31pc copper with mineralisation open in all directions. Highlights from Rincon’s most recent update included the identification of new geophysical anomalies identified within new Wilki Range tenement at South Telfer and the acquisition of new exploration tenements at the Laverton Gold Project.

GUN has a 5pc holding in Charger Metals Limited, which has interests in three prospects in the Australia’s Western and Northern territories, with 85pc and 70pc stakes in the North and Nickel-Copper-Cobalt-PGE projects at Coates (65km northeast of Perth), a 70pc interest in the Lake Johnson Lithium and Gold Project, and a 70pc holding in the Bynoe Lithium and Gold Project. Charger has published a drilling schedule for the Coates prospect, which encompasses a mafic intrusive complex within the Jimperding Metamorphic Belt (which also hosts the 17 Moz Gonneville Nickel-Copper-PGE Project owned by Chalice Mining Ltd).

GUN also has a 1pc interest in another copper and gold miner, Eagle Mountain (ASX:EM2), focused on the Oracle Ridge and Silver Mountain Projects in Arizona, situated within the compass of the Laramide Arc which hosts copper deposits mined by BHP, Rio Tinto, Freeport McMoRan and Hudbay. Eagle’s most recent JORC Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for Oracle Ridge, based on a 1pc copper cut-off grade, stated an updated figure of 17.0 Mt grading 1.48pc copper, 15.09 g/t silver and 0.17 g/t gold for 251,000t of contained copper, 8.2 Moz of silver and 93 Koz of gold. After raising A$16m Eagle Mountain commenced its first large diameter drilling in Oracle Ridge’s Talon area to collect samples for metallurgical test work which is necessary for future feasibility studies. Oracle’s underground mine is being refurbished in preparation for diamond drilling at Oracle.

GUN’s gold interests are complemented by a cluster of other strategic metals holdings. Earlier this year the company took a 2.75pc holding worth £150,000 as part of a £1.1m raise undertaken by Aberdeen Minerals Ltd, exploring for Nickel-Copper-Cobalt deposits in North East Scotland. Aberdeen, which – subject to market conditions – is planning to join the AIM or Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) markets later this year, and is targeting ‘a district scale opportunity’ in a region that has attracted interest in recent years from majors including Rio Tinto and Inco. Aberdeen’s initial airborne electromagnetic and magnetic geophysical surveys have identified a pipeline of opportunities, most notably at Arthrath, where a historical estimate of 17 million tonnes grading 0.21pc nickel and 0.14pc copper has been reported at one of several mineralised zones across a seven kilometre feeder dyke structure still largely untested by effective drilling. The company’s new capital will expedite plans for a diamond drilling programme to validate historical results and outline a JORC Exploration Target.

Last year GUN confirmed its track record of investing in early stage nickel projects by agreeing heads of terms with Metals One to farm into the Black Schist Projects focused on the Kainuu Schist Belt of eastern Finland, which contains existing inferred resources of 28.1 Mt nickel-zinc-copper-cobalt, and is close by and analogous to Talvivaara, one of the largest nickel mines in Europe, and supplier to the Renault Group. GUN has agreed to provide funding to Metals One of £1m for the development of the Project, conditional on Metals One being admitted to AIM. Permit applications have been submitted for three prospects. The partners already have access to legacy geophysical, geological, and geochemical data covering large areas of the belt as well as historical geophysical surveys and diamond drilling. GUN’s investment will contribute to an 18-month work programme targeting resource expansion, subject to Metals One’s admission to AIM.

Last year GUN also took a stake in First Tin Limited, a development and exploration company with a licence to establish sustainable tin production and processing at the Tellerhäuser Mine in Saxony, Germany. The mine is furnished with an extensive infrastructure from past investment and exploration expenditure. Definitive Feasibility Studies are underway at Taronga and Tellerhäuser.

Another of GUN’s strategic metals holdings, Pacific Nickel Mines, has entered into a non-binding indicative term sheet with Glencore for a three-year, $22m Pre-Export Finance Facility, and an offtake arrangement for its Kolosori Project to extend for at least four years. Pacific Nickel has 80pc interests in two nickel projects at Kolosori Project and Jejevo – both located on Isabel Island in the Solomon Islands – with a collective JORC MRE of 21.7 million tonnes at 1.35pc nickel. Pacific Nickel is now focused on the key steps to achieve commercial nickel laterite direct shipping ore cargoes from mid-2023. A Definitive Feasibility Study was announced in February including a base case post tax IRR of 156pc. Pacific Nickel also announced the advancement of the Kolosori Nickel project to execution stage.

GUN is diversified with interests in markets extending well beyond the natural resources sector, encompassing gaming platforms, premium spirits and wines, medical cannabis and mental health. The company’s interim results for the six months to 31 January 2023 stated net assets of £3.275m (31 January 2022: £5.993m) and cash of £304,000 (31 January 2022: £1,082,000). At the time of writing its share price is 0.38p and its market cap £1.64m.

Landore Resources


Landore Resources (AIM:LND) continues to delineate the potential of its flagship gold resource at its Junior Lake Property, which is also prospective for nickel, copper, cobalt and other battery metals.

Junior Lake (100pc owned), together with the contiguous Lamaune Iron Prospect (90.2pc owned), covers a 30,507 hectare site in the Canadian province of Ontario, with ready access to Thunder Bay, the main supply hub for the region’s miners. The Property’s known mineral resources and prospects are located within an Archean-age greenstone belt some 0.5 to 1.5 km wide and 31 km long.

LND’s current drilling programme is focused on the Property’s key asset, the BAM Gold Deposit, situated within a 2.7 km geophysical anomaly midway along the belt. An upgraded MRE increased its in-situ resource to 49,231,000 tonnes at 1.0 g/t for 1,496,000 ounces of gold, a 47pc over the previous estimate. The updated MRE includes 30,965,000 tonnes at 1.0 g/t for 1,029,000 oz gold in the Indicated Category and 18,266,000 tonnes at 0.8 g/t for 467,000 oz of gold in the Inferred Category. LND is completing planning and preparation requirements for the continued expansion of the Deposit, including deeper drilling on several potential underground mining targets, together with infill and extension drilling. Further drilling is planned to further delineate the newly discovered western extension shoot and begin drilling on ‘the highly prospective Felix area along strike and to the west of the BAM Gold Deposit’.

Though, as its name indicates, the Deposit is best known for its gold prospects, Junior Lake has always been prospective for other metals. Historic drilling at the Property’s B4-7 Nickel-Copper-Cobalt-PGE Deposit and Alpha Zone, some 600 metres southwest of the Deposit, has found polymetallic nickel-copper-cobalt-platinum-palladium-gold mineralisation, the most recent resource estimate stating 3,292,000 tonnes at 1.20pc Nickel Equivalent (NiEq) in the Indicated category and 568,000 tonnes at 1.26pc NiEq in the Inferred category for a total of 46,661 tonnes of contained metal. The VW Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Deposit is estimated to offer 1,084,000 tonnes at 0.71pc NiEq in the Indicated category, and 180,000 tonnes at 0.68pc NiEq in the Inferred category for a total of 8,920 tonnes of contained metal. An exploration target has been identified down dip from the B4-7 resource which may contain a potential 1.5 Mt to 2.0 Mt of sulphide mineralisation of similar grade range to that which has been outlined to-date, a potential 18,000 to 24,000 tonnes of contained metal.

This summer LND commenced an exploration programme on Junior Lake’s prospective Felix-Lamaune areas located along strike from the BAM Gold Deposit and the B4-7/VW Nickel-Copper-Cobalt-Palladium-Platinum deposits. A January update reported highlights including an intersection of significant palladium-enriched nickel mineralisation over 25.84m reporting 822 ppm Nickel, 1087 ppm Copper, 81 ppb Platinum, and 290 ppb Palladium from 35.26m, including 0.75 metres 1425ppm Ni, 1430ppm Cu, 773ppb Pt, and 2540ppb Pd from 36.20m; and significant palladium-enriched nickel mineralisation over 16.19m reporting 1674 ppm Nickel, 1006 ppm Copper, 138 ppm Cobalt, 36 ppb Platinum, and 146 ppb Palladium, from 51.64 metres, including 0.36 metres reporting 17200 ppm Ni, 700 ppm Cu, 1055 ppm Co, 157 ppb Pt, and 663 ppb Pd from 51.64m. The intersected zones remain open to further drilling.

LND launched a Strategic Review last year opening the prospect of the sale of its Canadian operations, or the Junior Lake Project, potential joint venture arrangements or strategic partnerships. International mining and exploration companies were invited to express interest, a number of which were progressed, with a short list provided with access to an extensive data room. The Review concluded with an option agreement giving Green Technology Metals Limited the right to purchase an 80pc interest in the Project’s Lithium Claim Blocks, comprising 591 staked mineral claims for 10,856 hectares. Green Technology Metals will make staged payments over three years totalling CAD$2.5m in cash and an additional CAD$1.5m either in cash or Green Technology shares.

As at 30 June 2022 LND had £740,405 cash and no debt. The company’s share price is 12.6p at the time of writing, taking its market cap to just under £15m.

Lexington Gold


Lexington Gold (AIM:LEX) continues to progress its goal of opening up mines from the days of the US gold rush with contemporary drilling technology. The company is developing four majority-owned gold projects across a 1,675 acre section of the Carolina Super Terrane geological feature running through North and South Carolina.

The 179.66 acre Jones-Keystone-Loflin (JKL) Project combines the Jones-Keystone and Loflin Properties mined by small prospectors during the 19th century until the outbreak of the Civil War, and again up to the Great Depression. Pits, trenches, shafts and glory holes at several workings offer evidence of widespread gold mineralisation, with historic grades ranging between 0.5 and 2.5 g/t. A JORC Resource estimate, states a resource of approximately two million tonnes at 1 g/t gold for 65,000 oz of contained gold, and highlights the potential for additional discoveries.

The Carolina Belle Project, in Montgomery County, just north of Candor, North Carolina, produced 50,000 ounces of gold until a 1916 dispute between the neighbouring mines ended further exploration and production. A systematic surface sampling programme indicated gold anomalies beyond already identified mineralisation.

The Jennings-Pioneer Project, part of the Barite Hill Gold district in South Carolina, offers several greenfield exploration prospects with well-articulated and potentially continuous zones of gold and base metal mineralisation identified from historic mines and surface workings. The Argo Project in the northwest corner of Nash County, north of Nashville, was last mined in 1894.

Significant work was undertaken at the JKL and Carolina Belle projects last year. LEX reported ‘significant shallow level intersections’ at JKL’s Loflin resource, which remained open in multiple directions. An updated MRE for the Loflin prospect statied a Total Inferred Resource of 2,596,000 tonnes @ 0.99 g/t Au for 82,700 oz of contained gold, 27pc up on the previous estimate. Re-sampling of composites from drilling at the Project’s Jones-Keystone prospect confirmed shallow, high-grade intercepts, results that ‘will facilitate the establishment of a significant maiden JORC Resource estimate for Jones-Keystone of potentially up to 100,000 ounces’. At Carolina Belle LEX reported final assay results from exploratory drilling  that exceeded expectations. The results are being interpreted and incorporated into a 3D model to guide further drilling.

This year progress has been recorded at the Jennings-Pioneer and Argo gold projects. A soil and surface sampling programme at Jennings-Pioneer targeting gold, silver and base metals was completed in February, with a total of 522 samples submitted for analysis. 439 samples were also taken at Argo. The Jennings-Pioneer results were announced earlier this month, identifying 13 gossans (targets at surface) within three separate mineralisation trends. Surface sampling from the Barite Hill pit returned up to 1.735 g/t Au, and critical mineral by-product potential including barite and tellurium.

LEX raised £0.5m late last year to fund continued development, including the modelling, planning and design of next drilling programme at JKL, the JORC Mineral Resource Estimate for the Project’s Jones-Keystone side, the setting of a JORC exploration target for Carolina Belle, and trenching, surface and soil sampling work at the company’s other two Projects, Jennings Pioneer and Argo. LEX has stated ambitions to follow in the footsteps of fellow Carolina Super Terrane explorer Romarco Minerals, which was acquired by ASX-listed OceanaGold after delineating a resource estimate of 4.5 Moz @ 1.8g/t. The company’s interims for H1 2022 reported it had ramped up its investment in exploration by 41pc to $0.61m, but succeeded in cutting operating expenses by 22pc to $0.36m. Total assets were $4.78m (2021: $4.76m) and cash stood at $0.37m (2021: $0.95m).

LEX’s share price has soared over the past year in response to the company’s solid progress, rising 88pc to 4.72p at the time of writing, taking its market cap to £13.25m.

Orosur Mining


Orosur Mining (AIM:OMI) is a minerals explorer and developer focused on identifying and advancing projects in Colombia, Argentina and Brazil.

Anzá is a gold exploration project, comprising three exploration licences, four exploration licence applications, and several small exploitation permits, totalling 207.5km2 in the gold-rich Mid-Cauca belt of Colombia.

Anzá is being developed as a joint venture with Minera Monte Águila SAS (MMA), itself a 50/50 joint venture between Newmont Corporation and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited. MMA earned into a 51pc interest in the project last year. MMA has also elected to move to Phase 2 of the venture, requiring it to spend $20m on the project over a maximum of four years, which would take its total ownership position to 65pc. The process of moving to Phase 2 ‘requires a substantial level of corporate restructuring’ in order to crystallise MMA’s 51pc shareholding and to provide a mechanism for Phases 2 and 3 to progress. The ongoing process is expected to take several months to complete.

Over 40,000 metres of drilling has been undertaken at Anzá since 2014, with the last holes being completed in late 2022 at the end of Phase 1. Assay results published in OMI’s Q2 results for 2022/23 reported high-grade gold intersections of 150.9m @ 3.00 g/t Au (from surface), and 80.55m @ 3.05 g/t Au from surface (including 41.75m @ 5.24 g/t). As MMA works on its corporate restructuring the focus of exploration work has shifted from drilling to field mapping, sampling and trenching activities to define further drilling targets. 

The El Pantano Project is an early-stage gold exploration project in Santa Cruz province, southern Argentina, covering nine contiguous licences totalling 607 km2 in the prolific Deseado Massif region, roughly 45 km from Anglo Gold’s Cerro Vanguardia mine. The Project is a joint venture with Argentinian company DESEADO DORADO. Since the end of the southern hemisphere winter break in September 2022, El Pantano has been the subject of ongoing mapping, sampling and ground magnetic surveys, designed to develop geological understanding.

Results to date have been ‘extremely encouraging’, with the latest round of mapping and sampling suggestive that El Pantano has ‘potential to host a major, previously unexplored low-sulphidation epithermal system’. Pathfinder elements indicating gold mineralisation, especially mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As), have been found. Recent work is expanding the picture of very large zones of Hg and As anomalism along an 8 km strike of a major NW trending structure. Geological mapping, geochemical sampling and ground magnetic surveys are continuing. 

The Ariquemes Project is a large-scale tin exploration project in Rondônia State, Brazil, entirely within the world class Ariquemes Tin Field. The project comprises a large number of granted licences and applications that in total cover more than 3,000km2, representing the largest land holding in the district. Ariquemes is a joint venture with Canadian listed Meridian Mining. OMI has the right to earn a 75PC stake in the project by investing $4m in exploration over a four-year period in two stages. Despite being one of the world’s major tin provinces, the region has seen little or no modern exploration, as most of the mineral exploitation is undertaken by local cooperatives. A large-scale regional sampling program has been underway for the last several months, taking stream and drainage sediment samples over much of the Ariquemes district. This large program is now complete and final results are pending. 

As at 30 January 2023 OMI had a cash balance of $3,549,000 following receipt of a $2m option payment by MMA in respect of the Anzá project. The company’s share price touched heights of nearly 40p in 2021, and has since stabilised at around 8p at the time of writing, taking its market cap to CAD$22.75m.

Panther Metals


Panther Metals (LON:PALM) focuses on the rapid-fire discovery of commercially viable mineral deposits, currently in Canada and Australia. Drill targets are assessed rapidly through advanced technologies and extensive geological data to discern potential viability and indicate paths to profitability. PALM moves quickly: prospective investors should make sure to regularly review the company’s fast moving RNS channel.

PALM has interests in several gold prospects. The company’s Dotted Lake Project, approximately 16 km from Barrick Gold’s prolific Hemlo Gold Mine, is pursuing a cluster of gold and base metal targets within a shared geology. An initial drilling programme in 2021 confirmed the presence of gold mineralisation within the same system, with anomalous gold continuing along strike and present within the surrounding area.

The 98km2 Manitou Lakes Project, approximately 300 km east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, is targeting more than 200 known gold occurrences. Situated within the wider Eagle/Manitou Lakes greenstone belt, host to several historic gold producers, the Project is prospective for Archean age orogenic gold and associated base metal deposits. Initial exploration has identified numerous gold bearing structures and favourable geological host rocks through early-stage mapping and surface sampling. Two target areas, the West Limb Gold Property and the Glass Reef Gold Property, both host historic gold mines which have never been systematically explored using modern techniques or drill tested.

PALM consolidated various piecemeal acquisitions into the contiguous Big Bear Project, where more than 250 geophysical anomalies have been identified so far, with up to 40 designated for priority investigation. (PALM sold Big Bear last year but retains a 20pc interest.) Gold in soil anomalies have been identified in five areas, ranging up to 0.71 g/t, extending up to 250 metres wide and open along strike. Gold bearing quartz veins have been outlined within seven separate areas (two with rock and vein samples grading 1 to 5 g/t Au, four with quartz vein sample assays above 5g/t Au, and two quartz samples collected at 50 metres separation on an east-west trending vein open in both directions returning 105.5 g/t Au and 112 g/t Au respectively). Historic work programmes targeted an intense magnetic response from the Project’s Little Bear Lake and Schreiber prospects. Assays yielded from the 1.6km long gold trend included 6m at 1.5 g/t Au, up to 53.7 g/t Au and 19.25 g/t Ag in rock chip and 18.2 g/t Au and 1.03 g/t Ag in soil. Historical bulk sampling reported 150t averaging 17.6 g/t Au, while historical drill intersections include 0.55 metres at 19.2pc Zn and 4.6pc Cu from 15.2 metres depth.

PALM’s Obonga Greenstone Belt, prospective for copper, platinum group metals, and gold, is organised into four primary targets: Wishbone, Awkward, Survey and Ottertooth. A successful Phase 1 drilling campaign at Wishbone revealed significant VMS-style mineralised systems – the first such discovery across the entire greenstone belt – with intercepts including 27.3 metres of massive sulphide and 51 metres of sulphide-dominated mineralisation in hole two. Both drill holes contained multiple lenses. Anomalous high-grade copper in lake sediment close to the target area has also been identified, increasing confidence in the prospectivity of the location. Awkward is a highly anomalous magnetic target, interpreted to be a layered mafic intrusion and magmatic conduit based on mapped geology and airborne geophysics. Historic sampling in the area returned anomalous platinum and palladium values, while historic drilling on the periphery of the target intersected non-assayed massive sulphide and copper. The Survey and Ottertooth targets both display coincident magnetic and electromagnetic anomalies, and are adjacent to the contact between intrusive and extrusive mafic rocks. Historic drilling at Survey has intersected several metres of massive sulphides in multiple intersections (main parts of the anomaly remain untested) while Ottertooth remains untested in its entirety.

PALM’s Australian subsidiary has interests in the Marrakai and Annaburroo Gold Projects, covering a total area of 160 km2 and situated within the Palaeoproterozoic Pine Creek Orogen, host to more than 250 gold occurrences and several operating gold mines, including the Rustlers Roost deposit containing 51 Mt at 1.0 g/t Au (1.6 Moz). The company also owns the Merolia Gold Project, a 145 km2 tenement package close to the prolific Granny Smith, Sunrise Dam and Wallaby gold mines, which together have produced nearly 20 Moz gold. Merolia is also prospective for nickel-cobalt sulphide mineralisation: a JORC Exploration Target sets a tonnage range of 30-50 Mt at 0.6 to 0.8pc nickel and 400 to 600 ppm cobalt.

Other Australian interests include the Coglia Nickel/Cobalt Project on the southernmost area of the Merolia project tenements, which has a tonnage range of 30 to 50 Mt at 0.6 to 0.8pc nickel and 400 to 600 ppm cobalt, and the Burtville East Gold Project and Eight Foot Well prospect in Western Australia, where there are indications of high grade gold intercepts.

PALM’s most recent half-year report, for the six months to 30 June 2022, stated total cash reserves of £71,517 (31 December 2021: £100,586), and a net asset value of £2,631,492. The company’s share price currently stands at 3.35p, and its market cap at £3.11m.

Power Metal Resources


Power Metal Resources (AIM: POW) has sharpened its focus on a cluster of gold, nickel, copper and uranium prospects over the past 12 months.

The company develops prospects internally or through joint ventures until ready for disposal through outright sale or IPO. POW’s extensive portfolio covers uranium, gold, silver, nickel, copper, rare earths and base-metals. Prospective investors should also make sure to follow POW’s fast-moving RNS and Twitter streams.

A strategy update published last month set out the company’s priorities regarding its gold interests. POW is focused on the rapid advancement of district scale nickel and gold systems in Botswana, notably its 87.71pc interest in the district scale Molopo Farms Complex Project in Botswana, where a diamond drill programme has been completed, and a geological feeder zone model with nickel sulphides already confirmed. Preliminary survey results from two ground-based electromagnetic geophysics surveys conducted in August highlighted a large shallow dipping magnetic conductor. The company raised £1.08m the following month to support further drilling, which began later that month. The programme includes 2,600 metres of diamond drilling designed to further explore the location.

POW has an interest in the Tati Project in Botswana with an 8 km long gold-in-soil anomaly. The first set of assay results – published earlier this month – for nine holes drilled over 490 metres along strike and down dip extension of quartz reefs associated with the historical Cherished Hope gold mine, reported near-surface gold mineralisation in the first three holes, including a ‘bonanza grade’ result. Results for the remaining six holes, published a few days later, reported ‘significant near-surface dolerite and quartz reef hosted gold mineralisation’. POW intends to ‘accelerate its activity’ to undertake drilling to more fully test the gold-in-soil anomalies, prove up more extensive gold mineralisation and develop avenues for future gold production from the Project. Extensive follow-on exploration is currently underway, with the first stage of field work (geophysics and trenching) now completed. Geophysical interpretation and assay results are awaited.

The company is also creating a substantial uranium business, aiming ‘to become the leading uranium exploration and development company in London.’ POW’s initial focus is its 100pc interest in a 967 km2 uranium project footprint in the Athabasca Basin area of Saskatchewan, Canada, home to more than 16 properties. The company is looking to efficiently complete project staking and acquisition of uranium properties in the Athabasca Basin region to add to its existing portfolio and to secure high impact uranium opportunities globally should they meet the company’s exacting investment criteria. It will ‘complete, communicate and implement plans for extensive exploration across retained uranium properties in 2023.’

Elsewhere, POW has a 83.13pc interest in gold and base metals miner Golden Metal Resources, located in Nevada, currently preparing for IPO. Results are awaited from a recent Induced Polarisation survey at Golden Metal’s Pilot Mountain Project, which may host one of the largest undeveloped tungsten deposit in the US. POW has a 58.59pc interest in another promising gold venture through the company’s holding in First Development Resources, focused on Western Australia, which has the green light for drilling at the Wallal Project, targeting a large-scale gold-copper discovery.

Last month POW published an exploration update from its Berringa Gold Mine Project, which forms part of the Victorian Goldfields joint-venture located in Victoria, Australia. Four of the six drill holes completed as part of the latest programme encountered visible gold, encountered in one hold at 133.55 metres within a broader circa 30-metre-wide quartz vein located approximately 100 metres east of the main Berringa line of workings. This represents a significantly large quartz vein intercept, and it indicates the likely existence of the eastern and parallel trend of gold mineralisation.

POW ended the last financial year with a cash balance of £1.56m (2021: £1.28m), which was enhanced post-financial year end by a financing in January 2023 raising an additional £0.9m before expenses. At the time of writing the company’s share price was 1.1p, and its market cap just under £20m.

Serabi Gold


Serabi Gold (AIM:SRB) is a gold mining and exploration company focused on the evaluation and development of gold projects in Brazil.

SRB’s Palito Mining Complex produces approximately 40,000 oz per annum. The company is also advancing the Coringa Project, applying for permitting in advance of mine development, and constructing a gold process plant. Palito and Coringa are located in Brazil’s Tapajos region, reported to be the world’s third largest alluvial gold field where artisanal miners are understood to have extracted up to 30 million oz of gold mostly from alluvial and surface weathered bedrock deposits since the 1970’s. 

SRB is also exploring the Jardim do Ouro Project lying on the NW-SE trending Tocantinzinho Trend, which is the major controlling structural feature in the Tapajos region. Lying along this same trend, some 30 km to the south east of the Palito Mine, is the Sao Jorge gold deposit owned by Brazilian Gold Corporation and 70 km to the northwest the Tocatinzinho gold project owned by Eldorado Gold Corporation.

The company’s results for Q4 2002 stated gold production at Palito of 7,798 oz, taking annual production to 31,819 oz, exceeding the annual production guidance of 30,000 oz. SRB intends to publish an updated Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource Estimate ‘during the first half of the year.’ The company continues to build out Palito’s resources, recent underground drilling intersecting the Zonta Vein, an orebody previously identified with limited surface drilling but had never properly drill tested, recording one intercept of 10.65 g/t over 1.20 metres.

Underground mine development at Coringa continues to advance. During Q3 2022 2,600 tonnes of the high grade portion of the prospect’s mined ore were transported and processed through the Palito plant, contributing 570 oz of gold. Following the confirmation of a copper gold molybdenum porphyry discovery at Coringa’s Matilda Prospect, the company ‘has received site visits from numerous mid-tier and major mining companies.’

Last month SRB reported the imminent completion of Coringa’s Indigenous Impact Study, expected to be available to be presented to the authorities for their review ‘in the next few weeks.’ The Study should allow the authorities to move forward with the final analysis culminating in approval of SRB’s application for an Installation Licence , which would allows the company to install a full process plant at Coringa in due course. Ore sorting test work on the Coringa ore has continued to produce ‘excellent results’ with between 45pc and 50pc reduction in the mass needing to be processed. The company intends to install a crushing and ore-sorting plant at Coringa as a Stage 1 of a plant installation and continue to truck the upgraded ore to Palito for processing. SRB’s internal assessment, based on the ore-sorting results obtained to date, is that gold production from a combined Palito Complex and Coringa operation could reach approximately 60,000 oz per annum without the need for significant expansion of the existing plant at Palito.

SRB’s Q3 2022 results reported EBITDA for the nine-month period of $5.9m (2021: $15m) and cash of $10.8m (2021: $12.2m). The company’s share price is currently 32.22p and its market cap £24.45m.

Shanta Gold


Shanta Gold (AIM:SHG), an East Africa-focused gold producer, developer and explorer has defined ore resources at its New Luika and Singida projects in Tanzania, with reserves of 625 koz grading 2.91 g/t, and exploration licences covering approximately 800km2.

SHG also owns the prospective West Kenya Project in Kenya and licences with resources of 1.76 million ounces including 722 koz in the Indicated category grading 11.45 g/t. The company is working to transition to a 100,000 oz per year gold producer, group-wide resources having increased to 3.7 Moz from 1.2 Moz five years ago.

First gold was poured at the Singida Gold Mine last month, on schedule and on budget. With first production at Singida completed, SHG expects the mine to add 45-50pc to the company’s annual production profile. The Singida 2023 guidance and five-year mine plan is expected to be published in Q2 2023. SHG has spent just over $30m on the project, seeking to de-risk startup operations with the stockpile of 32,000 tonnes of crushed ore (equal to over one month of supply) and a Run of Mine stockpile of 166,600 tonnes grading an average of 2.58 g/t containing 13.8 koz of gold (equal to approximately four months of processing). The company says that despite global inflationary cost pressures no material capital cost inflation was incurred in course of construction.

Last year SHG ramped up gold production at the producing New Luika mine to 65,209oz, up 18pc on the previous year. The company says 2022 saw several operating achievements, including a record annual throughput of 874,703 tonnes milled, which represents a 6pc increase from 2021. Production was below the target of 68,000 oz, which SHG attributes to operational challenges where steps have been taken to decrease operational risk. To support surface operations open pit mining equipment arrived at the mine in December 2022 from a second mining contractor, increasing the open pit mining fleet capacity by around 40pc by the end of the year. In addition, a newly purchased Sandvik underground production rig was fully commissioned in December 2022, resulting in a 94pc increase in total underground production. All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) for the year was $1,271/oz, and within the AISC cost guidance of US$1,150-1,275 per oz set for 2022, and a 6.4pc decrease on the 2021 AISC.

The company says it has succeeded in extending the life of the mine through the addition of new reserves, now projecting to run until Q1 2028, as compared to Q4 2026, as measured 12 months ago at the end of 2021. This marks the fourth consecutive year in which the mine life has been extended by at least one year through successful exploration. SHG’s Tanzanian assets now contain a total of 625,000 oz of compliant gold reserves with an average grade of 2.91 g/t.

The exploratory West KenyaProject has achieved growth, evidenced by the latest Mineral Resource Estimate which has increased to 1.76 Moz, with Indicated Resources increasing to 1.14 Moz. The Indicated Resource ounces also demonstrate high-grades, averaging 11.45 g/t Au across 722 koz, indicating potential for high margin cash flow in future operations.

SHG last year reported revenue of $114.1m (2021: $103.6 m); gross profit of $25.4m (2021: $26.0m); gold sales at an average selling price of $1,791 per oz (2021:$1,801 per oz); operating profit of $6m (2021: $4.7 m); and cash of $13m. The company’s share price is currently 11.75p and its market cap £112.7m.

Thor Explorations


Thor Explorations (AIM:THX) is a gold producer and explorer focused on West Africa, developing its Segilola and Douta gold prospects in Nigeria and Senegal.

THX acquired its headline assset, the Segilola Gold Project in Nigeria, about 120 km northeast of Lagos, in 2016. Segilola’s most recent Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Estimate (MRE) and improved Life of Mine plan, published in Q1 2021, stated ‘a high grade open pit probable reserve of 517,800 oz at 4.02 g/t within an open pit indicated MRE of 532,000 oz of gold grading at 4.5 g/t, and an underground indicated resource of 76,000 oz of gold grading at 6.1 g/t, with additional significant exploration upside potential.’ Gold production got underway last year.

THX’s most significant exploratory interest is its 70pc stake in the Douta Gold Project, covering 58km2 within the Kéniéba inlier, eastern Senegal. The Project encompasses the Makosa Gold Deposit, for which a maiden MRE published late last year stated an Inferred Resource of 730,000 oz of gold, comprising 15.3 Mt grading 1.5 g/t Au. Makosa is located just 4 km east of the Massawa North and Massawa Central deposits which form part of the world class Sabadola-Massawa Project owned by Endeavour Mining, and adjacent to Bassari Resources’ Makabingui group gold deposits which collectively contain some 340,000 oz of gold in the indicated category and 670,000 oz of gold in the inferred category. Exploratory drilling last year discovered gold mineralisation at another prospect, Mansa. 

Exploration at Douta got underway last February. An updated Mineral Resource Estimate published last month stated a total Douta resource of approximately 1.78 Moz of gold, an increase of 144pc over the 2022 maiden MRE. A further 909,000 oz of inferred resources within the optimised pit shells are to be converted to indicated classification, with additional infill drilling which forms part of our ongoing 40,000 metre programme. The company is now focusing exploration on expanding the resource along the prospective corridor that runs along the full 30 km length of the licence.

Segilola recorded strong production last year. THX’s Q4 operations update stated gold production for Segilola’s first full year of production at the top end of the FY 2022 guidance range of 90,000 to 100,000 oz. Additional exploration tenure had been acquired. A drilling programme has been completed at Douta to upgrade areas of the existing resource and to target higher grade parts of the deposit. Wide zones of near surface, high grade oxide mineralisation have been identified. Looking ahead to future drilling at both prospects, THX set production guidance for FY 2023 at 85,000 to 95,000 oz of gold, an upgrade from the 76,900 oz expected for 2023 in the mine plan included in the 2021 Competent Person’s Report. The company’s senior debt had been reduced to $28.4m as at 31 December 2022.

In February promising initial drilling results were reported from a reconnaissance drilling programme underway at the Western Prospects located approximately 15 km to the west of Segilola. They included an intersection grading 227 g/t Au over a length of 2m, featuring a 1m length carrying 10 oz per tonne. Visible gold was prevalent throughout the core from this and the other significant intervals. The company plans to develop the Western Prospects together with other such opportunities located within a 25 km radius of Segilola.

THX’s share price has been on an upwards vector over the past couple of years, currently standing at CAD$0.29, taking the company’s market cap to CAD$190m.