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Buxton Resources to delve deep into Arizona manganese Matrix

Buxton Resources is expanding its suite of critical mineral projects in its quest to supply the burgeoning electric vehicle market. Credit: File

Buxton Resources (ASX: BUX) will try to turn a new project in Mohave County into a manganese oasis after today revealing its acquisition of the Matrix project that sits about 370 km from Phoenix in the north-western region of Arizona.

The 12-square-kilometre operation in the county that is home to part of the world-famous Mojave Desert, lies adjacent to the world’s sixth-biggest manganese resource in terms of contained metal – RecycLiCo Battery Materials’ Artillery Peak project – and expands the company’s push into the electric vehicle (EV) critical minerals space. Artillery Peak has a resource of 277 million tonnes at 2.8 per cent manganese for a total of 7.8 million tonnes of manganese.

Management describes Matrix as a low-cost brownfields exploration project with walk-up drill targets. It says it provides an entry point into exploring for the critical mineral at a time when strong demand for battery-grade manganese sulphate is predicted in the near-term due to the anticipated growth in the EV battery market.

The manganese spot price has this year surged 32.5 per cent in what may be just the start of a long-term upswing in demand.

Buxton has agreed to buy the Matrix project from private company Solution Metals on an earn-in basis and it will spend $1 million during a maximum two-year period to earn 100 per cent ownership. The company will issue $150,000 worth of its shares to Solution, in addition to a 1.5 per cent net smelter return (NSR) royalty.

A second tranche of $100,000 in shares will be issued either at the two-year anniversary of the deal or on completing the earn-in requirements.

The Matrix Project acquisition provides Buxton shareholders a low-cost option on the high-purity manganese sulphate market which is predicted to grow between 4-6 times by 2030. The project is located in a proven manganese province and we’ll be commencing work on the ground in Q3 2024.
Buxton Resources chief executive officer Marty Moloney

Moloney said the company’s drilling designed to test extensions of known manganese mineralisation was expected to launch in this year’s final quarter.

Matrix’s land area consists of 154 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claims. Management says mapping conducted in the area by the Arizona Geological Survey indicates the potential for known mineralisation to extend into the Matrix project ground.

The BLM claims within Matrix cover Artillery Peak’s interpreted western extension to its mineralisation. The Artillery Peak deposit is unique as it is hosted by sandstone, with high porosity and low gangue acid consumption. Those types of deposits have led to excellent leaching qualities in comparison to other manganese operations.

Matrix has bolstered Buxton’s portfolio that also includes its Graphite Bull graphite project in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia and the highly-prospective Copper Wolf project, which is also in Arizona.

The company’s 100 per cent-owned Graphite Bull resource consists of 4 million tonnes at 16.2 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC), with a strike length of 460m and a depth to 220m. Management is poised to launch an infill drilling program along a 2.1km potential strike zone where drilling last year confirmed further high-grade graphite mineralisation.

Results from Buxton’s 2023 scout drilling program comprised several thick intersections of 33m at 18.7 per cent TGC from 11m, 32m going 17.7 per cent from 49m and 18m at 16.2 per cent from 145m. Narrow higher-grade intervals included 5m at 24.8 per cent from 20m and 5m at 24.5 per cent TGC from 123m.

The highly-promising Copper Wolf project has recently thrown out eye-opening drill hits of 405.38m at 0.7 per cent copper equivalent from 608.38m including 105.77m at 0.86 per cent from 700.43m. The thick interval sits below a previously-reported 83.76m at 0.9 per cent copper-equivalent from 527.91m.

Management also noted that recent coincident geochemical and magnetic anomalies at its Wolverine prospect, in addition to rock chip samples returning 1.2 per cent copper and 383 parts per million molybdenum adjacent to the proposed drill site, provide further cause for optimism within the project.

Anomalous recent rock chip results from its Sun Devil and Aztec prospects within Copper Wolf returned up to 3.08 per cent copper, 156ppm molybdenum and 9.34ppm silver. Management says geochemical results indicate that upper levels of a porphyry system are exposed, with potentially buried copper targets at depth.

Mining giant IGO is earning into the project as part of a joint venture (JV) agreement with Buxton.

As the company diversifies its projects across a compelling mix of critical minerals expected to be in high demand from battery manufacturers and auto makers in the near-term, Buxton is providing itself with plenty of options for future success.

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