Alba Mineral Resources [LON:ALBA] the AIM-listed, mining and exploration company with operations in Wales and Ireland received a bit of a boost from its Greenland investments today.
The London-headquartered company has been quietly developing three mining projects in the British Isles: The Clogau-St David’s mine in Wales; Gwynfynydd mine, also in Wales, both gold projects; and the Limerick Base Metals, Ireland, a zinc project.
The company also has owns an a 11.8% interest two oil-fracking licences in the Weald Basin in southern England and through a 50.6% ownership of graphite and titanium miner, GreenRoc Mining [LON:GROC] interest in four projects in Greenland: Thule Black Sands Ilmenite Project, Amitsoq Graphite Project, Melville Bay Iron Project, and Inglefield Multi-Element Project.
The miner released an update in collaboration with GreenRoc today (23rd January) outlining an update in the mineral resource for the Amitsoq Project in southern Greenland. In the statement to the market, GreenRoc and Alba announced a very substantial increase to the mineral resource of the project, nearly tripling the total inferred, indicated and measured JORC Resource to 23.05 million tonnes (mT), a significant upgrade from the 2022 Maiden Resource Estimate.
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George Frangeskides, Alba’s executive chairman said in the statement: “This near threefold increase in the Resource for the Amitsoq Island Deposit, with the total graphite content rising from 1.63mT to 4.71mT, is a remarkable result. Further, the revised average resource grade of 20.41% C(g) puts Amitsoq in a very select group of just two advanced graphite projects globally which have average grades of more than 20% C(g), the other one being the Vittangi deposit owned by Talga Group [ASX: TLG].”
Frangeskides said that GreenRoc will be undertaking feasibility studies on the deposit with an eye to gaining a Mining Licence for the project – the project is strategically important given the rise in demand for battery materials for EV and the Amitsoq resource exceeded 99.995% the minimum purity level for EV batteries.
GreenRoc opened trading at 5.724p today and rose to 6p on opening on receipt of the news. The Greenland miner has offered a year-to-date return of 6.7%, a one-year return of -11.5% and its shares have ranged between 3.6p and 7.75p over a 52-week period, giving the company a market capitalisation of GBP6.2m
Stefan Bernstein, GreenRoc’s chief executive said in a statement: “To deliver a resource update of this quantum and grade is a huge achievement for GreenRoc and underpins our confidence that our Amitsoq project meets the fundamental requirements to become a mine. Furthermore, we believe we can accelerate development in order to help meet the critical demand for new, high grade and conflict-free graphite sources and we look forward to providing further updates in relation to interested customers and offtake partners in due course.”
Progress in Wales
Although the GreenRoc news is exciting for investors and for Alba, the UK miner is also advancing on the Celtic Fringe front. In October 2022 Alba submitted an application to dewater its Clogau gold project – which brings it one step closer to production.
Clogau used to be the largest gold mine in the UK – and according to Alba, has historically produced the most gold in the country’s history. Alba owns a 90% interest in an exclusive exploration licence over the Dolgellau Gold Belt in north Wales, covering a total area of 107 km² and over 300 known gold occurrences.
The mine closed in 1998, when the gold price was around USD300 per ounce, compared to its present price of nearly USD2,000 an ounce. An initial application to dewater the mine – specifically the Llechfraith Shaft lode extension, which is Alba’s primary target – was rejected by Natural Resources Wales in November 2021. But Alba went back to Natural Resources Wales with an updated environmental plan and is hopeful of the application being favourably received this time around.
The company has conducted extensive drilling on the Clogau tenement and is also planning a tailings project working through historical wastes.
The Gwynfynydd mine has a similar historical footprint as Clogau, and according to Alba, was the UK’s second largest historic gold producing mine. The company has a similar geological and operational template as Clogau and Alba is conducting exploration works around historic mining sites.
The company opened trading today at 0.13p and rose to 0.14p on opening, but fell back to 0.12p within two hours. Alba has offered a 17.5% year-to-date return, a -46.9% one-year return with its shares ranging between 0.09p and 0.3p over a 52-week period. The company has a GBP8.4m market capitalisation.
Alba’s share price seems to be very dependent on the progress of GreenRoc’s projects in Greenland. Although the company has its own projects, it might be a better bet to invest in Greenland.
Deshe Analytics gave Alba a ‘Hold’ rating, commenting: “Alba Mineral Resources financial results from 2Q22 demonstrated decent performance, but will likely only help Alba Mineral Resources remain on par with its peers. It is highly likely that it will be mostly tethered to market performance and sector movements for the near term. As such, Alba Mineral Resources plc received an overall score of 64…”