Future Battery Minerals using nickel and dimes to fund lithium exploration in Australia and US

Future Battery Minerals (ASX:FBM) via its 80% owned subsidiary Eastern Coolgardie Goldfields has entered into an agreement with Rocktivity Nepean for the sale of certain Nepean Nickel Project (NNP) tenements for a $10 million in cash.

The remaining 20% of the Nepean tenements is held by Goldfellas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lodestar Minerals (ASX:LSR).

Speaking to Mining.com.au, Technical Director Robin Cox says the $8 million netted by Future Battery Minerals for its majority share will be deployed into further exploration at its Nevada and Kangaroo Hills lithium assets.

Cox tells this news service that while the Nepean Nickel Project had been in the company’s portfolio for some time, the obstacles it had to overcome to develop meant it had become a non-core asset.

From the sale, we’re funding the commitments required on the 2 lithium projects. For a variety of reasons, it was making it difficult to put the required amount of work into the nickel project because it wasn’t a straightforward exploration play. It was an advanced nickel project. There was an interesting resource there that was 2004 JORC that had difficulty and we felt that it better suited a miner that could get it into operation quickly.

The deal terms were obviously very favourable to ourselves, giving us that cash position now to fund our lithium assets. It was a big focus for us during 2021 where we did a lot of exploration work in the area. We drilled basically our drillholes below the pegmatites. We had some deep targets there, but ultimately where we came to with the project is that we would need to refurbish the existing underground, get back under there and start drilling from depth, which is obviously very costly exercise to do.”

Cox adds that when Future Battery Metals came to that realisation of the exploration risks the company’s Saints Nickel Project became the front runner in terms of its nickel assets.

“And then the 2 lithium projects and success that we’ve had on that recently has really just confirmed the current path that we’re on.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Eastern Coolgardie Goldfields has agreed to sell the nickel tenements M15/709, M15/1809, and P15/5750 including mining information and plant and equipment.

“And then the 2 lithium projects and success that we’ve had on that recently has really just confirmed the current path that we’re on”

The capital will support funding of exploration at its Kangaroo Hills (80%) and Nevada Lithium (80%) exploration projects, to progress the Prefeasibility Study (PFS) at the Saints Nickel Project and for other working capital purposes.

Future Battery Metals Executive Chairman Mike Edwards adds: “As a result of the new exploration focus on the company’s 2 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% owned Kangaroo Hills Lithium Project (KHLP) and large-scale sedimentary potential of our and Nevada Lithium Project.”

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: Future Battery Metals
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.