For an AIM-listed junior Ironridge Resources PLC (LON:IRR) has many irons in the fire.
They range from gold acreage in Chad, the Ivory Coast and Australia, lithium in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, iron in Gabon and bauxite, tantalum and nickel in Australia.
It may seem a lot for a company valued at £85mln (at 35p), but with the exception possibly of the iron ore tenements progress is being made across the board.
Latest news came from Ghana where IronRidge identified what it described as multiple, significant outcropping lithium pegmatites at the Egyasimanku Hill site.
Vincent Mascolo, chief executive, said: "We are very excited to have located the historical Egyasimanku Hill resource which further vindicates our rigorous and exhaustive research criteria.”
IronRidge secured exclusive rights to apply for exploration permits at the site in May, with the historic resource of 1.48Mt at 1.66% Li2O defined in 1962.
Outcrops of pegmatites were characterised by coarse crystalline spodumene - a lithium rich pyroxene mineral and the preferred feedstock of hard-rock lithium mining projects
High gold grades in Chad
That followed on a recent update from Chad, where rock samples from a previously untouched area, Nabagay, contained 34.1g/t, 3.76g/t, 2.53g/t and 1.9g/t gold in the best of the results.
Ironridge has also started a 4km trenching programme at Dorothe, 25km away, to test a 3 x 1km mineralised zone that has seen extensive artisanal workings.
Soil sampling identified more potential at the high-grade Am Ouchar gold prospect, while geographical overviews have been completed over Ouaddaï South region by SRK Consulting.
Mascolo said: "The structural interpretation has been vindicated by a grass-roots gold anomalies without the presence of artisanal workings and provides a valuable platform for future exploration growth."
Ironridge moved into Chad last year with a US$3.5mln investment to take a 58% satke in Tekton, which has exploration rights spanning 1,400 sq km that contain multiple gold targets within the Dorothe, Echbara and Am Ouchar licences.
Ivory Coast’s company making potential
Equally promising is an Ivory Coast gold footprint where last year Ironridge agreed an earn-in deal that provides it access to three “highly prospective” licences.
They cover 1,200-square kilometres, adding to the 2,310-square kilometre land package the firm is currently sitting on.
There is artisanal, or small-scale rudimentary mining in the area, while the geology is very similar to some large and prolific gold mines in the Ivory Coast.
Ironridge thinks its portfolio, which sits on the prolific Wa-Lawra shear in the north-east of the country, has “company making potential”.
It is doing the earn-in deal with two local companies it will take full control of the licences after completing enough work to get them to a feasibility study.
The sellers will receive a 2.5% net smelter royalty on any gold production from the assets.
Mascolo said: "This strategic acquisition further consolidates and enhances our extensive gold portfolio along the Wa-Lawra shear in the north-east of the gold-rich and pro-mining jurisdiction of Ivory Coast.
"We see enormous potential in the Ivory Coast and the portfolio presents a spectacular strategic opportunity that entails exploration potential along significant and proven gold bearing structures within close proximity to infrastructure.
"This strengthens the company's broader strategy of securing large project sites within highly prospective yet underexplored terrains with proven gold potential in supportive jurisdictions.”
Owners back plans with fund raise
At the end of June, the company’s and senior management’s belief was demonstrated through an £8.25mln fund raise.
The company’s three largest shareholders Assore Limited, Sumitomo Corporation and DGR Global Limited, plus Mascolo and executive chairman Nick Mather, put up most of the money.
"We have made considerable progress over the last year, most notably with the expansion of the company's portfolio of gold exploration licences and discovering exceptionally high-grade and broad lithium pegmatite at the Cape Coast Project in Ghana.
“The capital raised will allow us to accelerate our plans to grow the business rapidly across Africa and Australia,” said Mascolo.
-- update for lithium, June fund raise --