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Glencore-backed Leeuwin is listing with highly prospective nickel, lithium projects

Special Report: Leeuwin Metals is poised to be the latest critical minerals explorer to list on the ASX following an … Read More
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This article was originally published by Stockhead

Leeuwin Metals is poised to be the latest critical minerals explorer to list on the ASX following an oversubscribed initial public offering which drew major miner Glencore to take a cornerstone position.

Nor is Glencore content to take a passive position, choosing rather to actively engage the company through a technical committee which allows it to bring its nickel expertise to the table.

So just what drew the Swiss multinational to take the 9.97% stake in Leeuwin, which is due to list on the ASX on 29 March 2023 under the ticker code LM1 after raising $8m?

The answer is a combination of a very attractive suite of assets – particularly its flagship William Lake nickel project, along with a well-credentialled and experienced leadership team.

World class nickel address

At the heart of Leeuwin’s offering is the highly intriguing William Lake project, which is located within the southern part of the world-class Thompson nickel belt in Manitoba, Canada.

This is a hot address for nickel exploration given that the belt hosts more than 18 nickel deposits and is the world’s fifth largest nickel mining camp with some 6 billion pounds of nickel produced since 1961.

William Lake covers over 500km2 of tenure with access provided by sealed roads – including a provincial highway, and ready access to renewable energy, which provides 97% of the power in Manitoba.

There’s also access to a port, which allows for exports to Europe.

Location of the William Lake nickel project. Pic: Supplied.

While all these are strong points in the project’s favour, managing director Christopher Piggott told Stockhead that what drew the company to the project was the presence of about 150 existing holes which had uncovered high-grade nickel intercepts.

“Our main focus early on will be W56 target trend that is hosted in the ultramafic body but also hosts Thompson-style mineralization as well,” he noted.

“There you have a 3km long trend, 200m wide body. We have got EM conductors and some of the drill hits from the previous explorers is 12.7m at 1.86 nickel plus 0.5g/t palladium and 7.8m at 1.7% nickel.

“But importantly, a lot of the drilling there is on about 100m to 150m spacing.

“This is very broad space drilling that gives you an opportunity to go back and look at this project and have a have another go to unlock value and unravel the geological story.”

William Lake also hosts the +1km long and +400m wide W22 ultramafic body where previous drilling had returned hits such as 7.8m at 1.24% nickel from 216m, 15.7m at 1% nickel, 0.9g/t palladium and 0.42g/t platinum from 342.6m, and 9.87m at 1.48% nickel from 436.13m within the same hole as well as the W21 trend (168.83m at 0.5% nickel from 163.2m).

Lithium potential

For all of its obvious charms, William Lake isn’t the company’s only project – Leeuwin also holds the Jenpeg lithium project that it staked near the end of 2022.

Leeuwin Metals ASX LM1
Location of the Jenpeg lithium project. Pic: Supplied.

“We did a review of lithium projects in Manitoba and this project came up and it was open, so we staked it. It’s over 600 square kilometres of applications in a greenstone belt, and what we’re seeing there is pegmatites,” Piggott said.

“The pegmatites were drilled in 1982-1983 by TANCO (Tantalum Mining Corporation of Canada), which until several weeks ago had the only operating lithium mine in Canada.

“That project’s a bit further south from where we are, but this is one of their old projects that they drill tested for tin and tantalum with a 23 hole program totalling 2,500m though they did not assay for lithium.

“We managed to find core for two of the holes in the Winnipeg core library and we’ve verified that there is spodumene present.”

The company is currently re-assaying the core for lithium, which could unlock plenty of value given that the project hosts two parallel zones with strike lengths of 350m to 400m, along with spodumene dykes up to 10m wide observed in outcrop and drilling.

Jenpeg also includes the aptly named Spodumene Island, which while relatively untested, has two channel samples of 7m at 1.7% lithium and 7m at 1.45% lithium that are about 3.6km apart.

“Essentially, Jenpeg is a large-scale opportunity with a lot of exploration upside and for us it’s just about defining the potential scale of the project and then going and working it up by drilling, testing and working on the ground and building up a bigger picture there,” Piggott added.

He added that the company’s focus on William Lake was due to its more advanced nature with framework drilling already in place that gives it a potential pathway to resources down the line.

This contrasts with greenfields projects which take time to work up.

Complementary projects

Leeuwin also has a number of complementary, earlier stage projects in Ontario, Canada, and Western Australia.

These includes projects in projects in the Gascoyne and Marble Bar regions targeting lithium and rare earths.

“We also have the interesting Ignace prospecting project in Ontario that’s not too far from Thunder Bay,” Piggott noted. “There’s mapped pegmatites there, but they just haven’t been tested for lithium.”

Management team

Leeuwin’s other secret ingredient is its leadership team with Predictive Discovery non-executive chairman Simon Jackson fulfilling the same role in the company.

Jackson previously worked for TSX-listed Red Back Mining, which financed, developed and operated two gold mines in West Africa before it was acquired by Kinross Gold in 2010 for C$9.3bn.

Piggott notes that as a Canadian-focused critical minerals explorer, Jackson’s experience in North American and its equity markets is particularly helpful.

“And then we’ve got Scott Williamson as one of the non-executive directors,” he added.

“What we like about him is that he is young, energetic and really gets the zero carbon green metal space and was arguably one of the first movers when it comes to that kind of stuff.

“Really good to have someone like that on the board as well just to bounce ideas off and he’s got a nice technical mix of mining engineer and the commercial aspect of being an ex-analyst and like Simon, he’s an accountant, so safe set of hands in that regard.

“Those two are a good mix to back us up as well as the broader team.”

Piggot himself is a geologist who has done private deals and had worked with Bellevue Gold as its senior geologist where he was involved in the discoveries of Tribune, Viago and Deacon.

He was also a part of the team that defined the Nova-Bollinger high grade nickel deposit, which is now owned by IGO.

Other members of the team include company secretary Nicholas Katris who had helped Midas Minerals get listed and is going the same for Leeuwin.

“To help us in Canada, we have Marcus Harden, our Ottawa-based chief geologist who is ex-AuTECO and Bellevue,” Piggott noted.

“We have got Daniel Austin as well, he’s also a geologist, but he used to work for a company that has a project north of us, but he importantly he’s got direct experience in Manitoba, the Thompson Belt and just how to operate in Manitoba from a social and government perspective.

“We have a sound team with skill sets that complement each other and has the ability to find projects, finance them and operate them.”

Aggressive exploration push coming

Following its listing on the ASX in late March, Leeuwin plans to embark on an aggressive exploration push.

Besides the re-assaying of core from William Lake for PGEs and ongoing surface geophysics, the company also intends to carry out a drill program targeting high-grade nickel sulphides.

“That’s just the news flow from William Lakes, it is designed to be quite punchy and we are focused on material news flow as well,” Piggot explained.

“At Jenpeg, we have re-assays of historical core and come the summer months, we want to get out there and do some field mapping and sampling. And then work those out and progress those tenements to grant.”

Exploration success could deliver immediate upside to the company’s shares given that it has an enterprise value of just $7.5m, which is half of its $15m market cap on listing with 63.5 million shares on issue.



This article was developed in collaboration with Leeuwin Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.

The post Glencore-backed Leeuwin is listing with highly prospective nickel, lithium projects appeared first on Stockhead.



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