Cobre is the backbone of Strategic Mineral PLC’s (LON:SML) multi-project strategy.
The New Mexico-based operation produces iron ore from copper tailings, generating cash to fund exploration and development opportunities elsewhere.
Recent results showed first-quarter sales to March were US$1.4mln from 21,635 tonnes of ore sold.
While lower than the record-breaking US$2.1mln in the fourth quarter of 2017, the results were a 60% increase on the same period the previous year.
The numbers also reflected an increase in year-on-year sales and cash flow from Cobre, with the 12-month period to March 2018 seeing a 288% increase in revenue to US$6.2mln.
Cash at the end of the quarter was US$3.1mln even after paying US$1.07mln cash for its latest acquisition, the old Leigh Creek copper mine in Australia.
Cobre Mark 2
Strategic hopes that Leigh Creek can become a Cobre Mark Two, in terms of cash generation anyway.
A recent site visit will be followed up by an initial restart of the processing plant and the selection of drilling targets.
“The prospectivity for copper is evident everywhere” director Peter Wale told Proactive.
The company holds three approved mining leases for the project covering a number of copper oxide deposits including Lorna Doone, Lynda, Mountain of Light, and Mount Coffin.
Resources are estimated at 3.61mln tonnes at 0.69% copper for 24,900t of copper metal.
Redmoor one of clutch of early-stage projects
Strategic will use cash generated from Cobre (and Leigh Creek eventually) to fund its earlier stage projects.
The company holds a 50% stake in the Redmoor tin/tungsten project in Cornwall, where a first drilling programme was completed in November 2017.
A recent report by mining giant Rio Tinto cited tin as one of the most critical metals for new technologies and Strategic is positive about Redmoor’s prospects.
In March, Strategic Minerals reported the inferred resource at the project had almost doubled to 4.5mln tonnes at 1% tin equivalent.
The site is also located 40km from the Hemerdon tin/tungsten mine and processing plant owned and operated by Wolf Minerals.
In the southern hemisphere, the company is pushing its battery metals agenda hard with exploration at its Hanns Camp project in Western Australia.
Held by Strategic Minerals’ subsidiary Central Australian Rare Earths (CARE), Hanns Camp is located within the Laverton Project, 12km east of well-known nickel sulphide deposits at Windarra.
A geological review at Hanns Camp, conducted in conjunction with nickel specialist Dr Martin Gole identified a target potentially hosting one of the key requirements for the accumulation of nickel sulphides.
Mount Weld project, in Western Australia, is also part of the CARE portfolio.
Located within the highly prospective Eastern Yilgarn Craton Province, CARE holds exploration tenements for cobalt, nickel, rare earth elements and gold.
Strategic Minerals intends 2,600m of shallow drilling to test several mineralisation targets.
John Peters, managing director has said previously he wants the company to be worth £100mln.
That’s a punchy target with the market value at £23mln at 1.75p, but the group is clearly being positioned with that goal in mind.