Trek Metals Aim To Live Long and Prosper
This week Finfeed tracked down Brad Drabsch, Managing Director of Trek Metals Limited (ASX:TKM) — an early stage metals explorer with projects in Australia and Africa — and got the latest on the company’s Gabon zinc-lead project as well as its metals projects in the Northern Territory and QLD.
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FF: Let’s start with touching on TKM’s flagship Kroussou zinc-lead project. You’re on the verge of acquiring a 100% interest in the project — what makes that transaction a good deal?
Brad: We’ve been exploring at Kroussou under a joint venture arrangement for just over 12 months. The acquisition removes any obligations to another party so we’re free to go ahead with the project unencumbered. It’s a relatively cheap acquisition when you consider the arrangements that were in the JV, it’s an attractive price tag. It’s a win for both us and our JV partner, Battery Minerals, it allows them to remain focused on its graphite work in Mozambique.
We completed an initial drilling programme to confirm historic data. We needed to have confidence that the work done historically was valid, and what was indicated was correct as it was 30-60 years old, and needed to be updated. The results gave us great confidence to push ahead.
FF: When do you hope to start drilling at Kroussou?
Brad: After the initial programme gave us the confidence to progress exploration, we undertook soil surveying then mapping and rock chip sampling. We’ve just completed a programme of geophysics — IP and NSAMT.
What we plan to do is build up the layers of information that will then lead to ideal drill targets over the next 1-2 months. Then we hope to start drilling during the dry season (late May to October).
It is early stages here and investors should seek professional financial advice if considering this stock for their portfolio.
FF: What makes the project stand out?
Brad: Zinc and lead are commodities pricing near all-time highs. We recognized that the market was out of balance for those two commodities, yet they’re both relatively stable and not in a bubble. They both have a proven history as stable base metal products.
Gabon is a relatively stable jurisdiction for Africa and has a mature oil industry and clear legislation. And it’s under-explored because it hasn’t received a lot of attention for base metals exploration in the past. The historic works indicated a lot of metal floating around in the basin rocks that form the target. We are talking about 60-80 kilometres of anomalism at surface; we’re not talking about 10 metres or hundreds of metres below the surface. This stuff appears on the surface — you kick the rocks and they have lead and zinc in them.
It’s a unique opportunity. You can find genuine massive ore bodies in these places, and we see the potential for an absolutely real, genuine ‘Tier 1’ world class discovery. It’s very possible there. All the ingredients for that to happen, are there. There’s evidence of a huge mineral system in there when you look at the amount of anomalism at surface.
There’s everything there for us to come across a genuine big discovery. It’s simply our job to test and find it.
FF: Is there a need for concern about the Kroussou project’s location? Does it carry risks similar to exploring in the DRC, for example?
Brad: Gabon has a per capita income that’s about three times the regional average in that part of Africa, and it has not been subject to wars and civil unrest. The mining laws and taxation arrangements are all very clear and descriptive. We’ve not encountered any issues with corruption or anything like that.
It’s a jurisdiction that has a long association with international oil companies, so they’re not starting from scratch — they know how to deal with the industry. The infrastructure is relatively good, with good roads and access to power. Our project in particular we’ve got a small port (access point) that services an on-shore oil field. The infrastructure to get material in and out is there.
We’ve got mobile phone coverage in the middle of the Kroussou project area (you don’t even get that necessarily in mining projects in Australia). We can send WhatsApp from the middle of the jungle — so yes, Gabon has a lot of positives.
It’s in the same geographical region as the Democratic Republic of Congo, but it’s geopolitically very different.
FF: You also have applications for tenements in the Northern Territory and QLD. What caught your eye about the Lawn Hill and Arunta projects?
The rocks that host the Lawn Hill project are the same geology that hosts the Century Zinc mines (large deposit in QLD, to the south east). It fits in with our base metals focus, and fits with the early stage exploration angle. At the time we acquired those tenements, the project just across the border called Walford Creek — an emerging copper-cobalt Resource — the same rocks across the border in the NT are the same structure that hosts that project. It runs through the spine of the eastern tenement, and that’s certainly an added attraction.
Lawn Hill is under the Aboriginal freehold title, so we need to go through a process of negotiation to get the tenements granted and that process is underway. As for the historic data, the fact that it sits on Aboriginal trust land means there’s been little work..
You look across the border at QLD where access restrictions haven’t applied, and you see there’s base metals occurrences just across the border... and they seem to stop at the border. But, they don’t stop because there’s an imaginary line, they stop there because no one has looked. Again, it’s an area of wide open potential that hasn’t been looked at previously, properly. That’s the attraction — it was all under-done and the potential shows at surface.
FF: There is also your Arunta lithium-cobalt project in the NT. What is your best ‘blue sky’ outcome there?
Brad: The Arunta project was brought to us by a group who are particularly familiar with the NT. Arunta hosts a suite of granite called the Wongala granite suite, which the geological survey has identified as being the lithium-fertile suite in the Territory. These are the rocks that are thought to be bleeding off the lithium-bearing pegmatites.
There was also an occurrence in historic data that indicated some cobalt mineralization in totally separate rocks, in the northern part of that project area. That made the project attractive also.
We need to go through the historic information before we can do any serious work at Arunta, but the majority of our applications are already granted.
There are large areas in our Arunta tenements that have these potentially lithium-rich granites, and we know there’s also pegmatites mapped in there. Since it’s never been looked at in that context — there’s been plenty of exploration for gold and copper and uranium, but never in a lithium context — that’s where we see some real potential.
FF: Thanks for talking to us, Brad.