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Jim Malone to lead aggressive Si6 exploration push

Updated: Apr 18

Newly-appointed Si6 managing director Jim Malone. Credit: File

Perth-based explorer Si6 Metals has promoted its executive director Jim Malone to managing director as the company matures rare earths and lithium projects in Brazil, in addition to other operations in Botswana and Australia.

The boardroom move comes hot on the heels of management moving to acquire about 178 square kilometres of tier-one Brazilian rare earths and lithium ground in that country’s renowned Jequitinhonha Valley – which is fast becoming known as “Lithium Valley”.

The company’s growing portfolio of tenements enhances its position in supply-critical metals, which now encompasses lithium, rare earths, nickel, copper and cobalt, in addition to gold across Brazil, Botswana and Australia.

We are delighted to appoint an executive with the experience and expertise of Mr. Malone to lead our push into the critical minerals space. This is an excellent opportunity for Si6 with three outstanding prospects in Botswana ready for drilling after a long hiatus, as well as in Brazil where we are in the process of seeking shareholder approval for the acquisition of a joint venture interest in several highly prospective exploration permits. Mr. Malone has already achieved a great deal in the past three months in his Executive role and his skills complement the skills and knowledge of the Si6 team. Si6 Metals chairman David Sanders

Mr Malone said he was delighted to be appointed to his new role and looked forward to leading the Si6 team.

We have some great assets in Botswana and it’s exciting that we will be drilling them soon,” he said.

“Our prospective assets in Brazil are located in what is currently the most exciting exploration location in the world for lithium and REEs. With these opportunities in the critical minerals space, the Company has a great future ahead of it and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to lead it on this journey.”

The Brazilian land acquisition is of particular significance for Si6 and represents a key addition of 10 tenements to the company’s exploration portfolio. The ground will be explored as part of a joint venture with Foxfire Metals, with both companies taking a 50 per cent slice.

Si6 says it has completed its due diligence on the proposed acquisition and it will proceed subject to shareholder approval and independent expert review.

The Brazilian tenements are huge and stretch across three States known globally for their prospectivity in lithium, rare earths, gold, base metals and platinum group elements. The encompassed States are Amazonas in the north-west, Ceará in the east and Minas Gerais in the south-east. Minas Gerais is further subdivided into the Lithium Valley project, or North Minas Gerais, and the Caldera project, or South Minas Gerais.

One piece of Si6 ground will be in a vastly-underexplored 40-square-kilometre patch of the Southern Amazon, near the town of Apuí – known locally for historical gold mining and the site of a gold rush on the Juma River in 2007. A reverse-circulation (RC) test hole drilled there by Foxfire to 88m returned anomalous rare earths mineralisation from surface to the end-of-hole.

Although reasonably unexplored, the Amazon tenement is only about 15km from Apuí, where excellent infrastructure can support operations including direct access to the highway, a commercial airport and a river port.

Another two of the Si6 tenements will be in the Ceará Pedra Brancha in the Borborema Structural Province in Ceará State. The project areas sit adjacent to ValOre Metals’ inferred mineral resource estimate of 2.2 million ounces of palladium, in addition to platinum and gold in 63.6 million tonnes of ore grading 1.08g/t.

But the star of the show seems to be the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais, which contains the biggest lithium reserves in that country, mostly within the Jequitinhonha Valley area where Si6 will establish its stronghold with four new tenements.

Significant lithium discoveries have been made in Minas Gerais, including Canadian company Sigma Lithium’s massive Grota do Cirilo lithium project, reported to contain a mineral resource of 85.6 million tonnes at 1.43 per cent lithium oxide. Grota do Cirilo is believed to be among the biggest and highest-grade hard-rock lithium deposits on the planet, with excellent metallurgy and low impurities.

Upon full production, Sigma has modelled a 766,000 tonnes per year output, which will place it among the top five lithium producers in the world. It shipped its first battery-grade lithium concentrate from Grota do Cirilo to the market in May.

United States-based Atlas Lithium is also active in Minas Gerais, with its flagship project within 57 mineral rights spread over 238sq km. Atlas continues to actively explore the area and says it has seen drill intercepts as high as 4.4 per cent lithium oxide over 0.55m from 60m. Composite grade from Atlas’ drilling efforts was 1.53 per cent lithium oxide, occurring mainly as spodumene.

Latin Resources is another company exploring the area, with eight rigs drilling 65km of hole in work aimed at increasing the company’s indicated mineral resource at its Colina deposit, which currently stands at 13.2 million tonnes at 1.20 per cent lithium oxide.

In June last year, Lithium Ionic revealed a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate on its Itinga lithium project in Minas Gerais of 11.86 million tonnes grading 1.44 per cent lithium oxide.

Two of Si6’s newly-acquired tenements will sit in the South Minas Gerais Caldera area neighbouring Meteoric Resources’ recently-announced mineral resource estimate of 409 million tonnes going 2626 parts per million total rare earths oxide (TREO) at a 1000ppm cut off. It is referred to as “the world’s highest-grade ionic adsorption clay rare earths discovery”.

While Si6 has been busy posturing to try and bolster its exploration portfolio in Brazil, the company already has two major projects on its books – one nickel-sulphide deposit in Botswana and one in Western Australia.

The company’s Maibele project in Botswana has an inferred resource of 2.38 million tonnes going 0.72 per cent nickel and 0.21 per cent copper, with 0.10 grams per tonne gold, 0.08g/t platinum, 0.36g/t palladium, 0.04g/t rhodium and 0.05g/t ruthenium.

The company’s wholly–owned Monument project near Laverton in WA’s Goldfields region contains 3.3 million tonnes grading 1.40g/t gold for a 154,000-ounce resource.

It certainly seems as though Si6 has a busy period ahead maturing some potentially world-class ground and with a new captain at the helm, the market will no doubt be looking forward to a steady news flow.

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