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Future Battery Minerals banks $8M from sale of stake in nickel project

Updated: Apr 19

Future Battery Minerals has seen a healthy injection to its bottom line. Credit: File

ASX-listed Future Battery Minerals will bank a cool $8 million after its 80 per cent owned subsidiary entered into an agreement for the sale of a trio of tenements within the Nepean nickel project.

Management says its cash injection will go towards strengthening the company’s balance sheet and supporting exploration at its key lithium projects at Kangaroo Hills in Western Australia and Nevada Lithium in the United States.

Under the terms of the agreement, Future’s subsidiary, Eastern Coolgardie Goldfields, will sell the Nepean nickel project tenements for $10 million. Future will pocket $8 million with the balance going to the 20 per cent owner Goldfellas, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lodestar Minerals.

The new owner of the tenements, Rocktivity Nepean, has already paid a $100,000 deposit and the remainder will land via $2.7 million on completion of the paperwork and $7.2 million in three instalments across the next two years.

As a result of the new exploration focus on the company’s two exciting lithium discoveries, we have been looking at rationalising the Company’s portfolio which has resulted in the execution of a sale of the Nepean Nickel Project. The Board believes that the timing is right and the sale proceeds will strengthen the company’s cash reserves to progress our strategic lithium exploration projects, comprising the high-grade hard rock 80 per cent owned Kangaroo Hills Lithium Project and large-scale sedimentary potential of our and Nevada Lithium Project. Future Battery Minerals executive chairman Mike Edwards

Known as Auroch Minerals before a name change in March this year, Future maintains an impressive portfolio with a focus on minerals critical to present and future battery needs.

The company’s flagship Saints nickel sulphide project sits 70km north of Kalgoorlie and hosts a high-grade komatiite nickel sulphide deposit. Last year, Future upgraded its resource to a JORC 2012-compliant 911,000 tonnes at 2.3 per cent nickel, 0.17 per cent copper and 0.07 per cent cobalt for 21,000 tonnes of nickel, 1500 tonnes of copper and 600 tonnes of cobalt.

The resource is mainly in the indicated category, with a scoping study into the viability of an underground mining operation set to lead to an ongoing pre-feasibility study and further exploration at the site.

Saints comprises two mining leases covering an area of about 20 square kilometres of prospective Archaean greenstone belt geology within the Eastern Goldfields province of the Yilgarn Craton. The operation sits in the same sequence of rocks as the historical Scotia nickel mine that produced 30,800 tonnes of contained nickel at 2.2 per cent nickel before closing in 1977.

The company’s Kangaroo Hills lithium project is an 80-20 joint venture between Future and Lodestar that sits about 17km south of Coolgardie. Phase-two exploration at the site kicked off early last month, with 2500m of RC drilling and 500m of diamond drilling planned.

The first phase of exploration at Kangaroo Hills included a 14-hole RC campaign across 3400m, with 12 holes intercepting pegmatites. Results from the initial program include a 7m hit at 1 per cent lithium oxide from 198m and a shallow 2m section going a significant 1.68 per cent lithium oxide from only 1m.

In March, the company also completed its maiden drill program at its 80 per cent-owned Nevada lithium project in the US. It has identified five key prospects, with its Traction, San Antone, Heller, Lone Mountain and Western Flats targets within 90sq km of tenements.

Early results from Nevada returned a whopping 109.7m hit at 766 parts per million lithium from 135.6m, including 29m going 1010ppm lithium from 210m. Planning and permitting is currently underway for a follow-up 2500m RC drilling campaign that is expected to begin this month.

Future also holds 100 per cent of highly-prospective exploration ground at the Leinster nickel project in WA, in addition to 90 per cent interests in the Arden, Bonaventura and Torrens base metals projects in South Australia. The company is continuing to explore these projects with the aim of discovering significant mineralisation.

With some fresh gunpowder in the company’s arsenal and its guns pointed squarely at its lithium projects, its followers will be keen to see what the next round of exploration can turn up.

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