Felix Gold detects antimony, second most critical mineral for the United States

Operating predominantly in Alaska, Felix Gold Ltd (ASX: FXG) is an ASX listed gold exploration company with a 392km2 tenement package in Alaska’s Fairbanks Gold District, which has produced over 16Moz gold and is home to multiple 5-10Moz+ deposits.

Operating predominantly in Alaska, Felix Gold Ltd (ASX: FXG) is an ASX listed gold exploration company with a 392km2 tenement package in Alaska’s Fairbanks Gold District, which has produced over 16Moz gold and is home to multiple 5-10Moz+ deposits.

While Felix’ key objective is the discovery of multi-million ounce gold deposits in Fairbanks, the company has also pointed to antimony (Sb) as another valuable resource with significant promise in the Treasure Creek Project.

After repeatedly detecting visual antimony mineralisation in many of their reverse circulation (RC) chips and diamond cores, Felix Gold is re-assaying last year’s drill cores for the critical mineral, and they could be on the verge of a discovery.

They have already confirmed the presence of a significant gold mineralisation system present in their Treasure Creek project. After a drilling campaign produced results such as 90m @ 1.2g/t Au from 32m, including 60m @ 1.6g/t Au from 42m, the project was revealed to have the potential to host up to 3.6Moz according to the recently published JORC exploration target.

The addition of antimony in the mix is especially exciting because the Scrafford Shear Antimony Mine in Treasure Creek was historically the second largest antimony mine in Alaska, with grades of up to 58% Sb

Antimony 101

Antimony is listed as a mineral that is critical to US economic and national security by the US. Department of Interior – a position also held by the likes of cobalt, uranium and rare earths. The European Union also has it on their critical materials list, and is 100% import reliant on antimony. It is a thinly traded commodity, subject to routine supply crunches that induce volatile price swings, as was seen in October 2021 when it hit US$6.65/lb – compared with the annual average price of US$2.67/lb in 2020.

Antimony is a strategic critical mineral that is used in all manner of military applications, not just the manufacture of armour piercing bullets, ammunition primers, tracer ammunition. It also includes night vision goggles, infrared sensors, precision optics, laser sighting, explosive formulations, nuclear weapons and production, tritium production, flares, military clothing, and communication equipment.

Stockpiling of antimony usually occurs when there is uncertainty around a conflict, as has been seen during World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Another interesting growth opportunity for antimony is fibreglass composites, which are rapidly replacing conventional materials in many applications, such as aerospace, automobiles, construction, and electronics due to their high strength, low cost, easy processability and availability in various forms and shapes. It slides relatively easily into fibreglass manufacturing processes, as its added directly to resin which is dispersed using normal mixing equipment.

The second and third largest key uses for the critical mineral are flame retardants, and lead-acid batteries.

China is a key player

Antimony also draws a large chunk of its demand from China’s growth prospects, which was most notable during the ‘Great Metals Boom’ of 2001-2008 – where a rapid build up of infrastructure in emerging countries resulted in a drastic increase of demand and price of many metals.

China continued to be the leading global antimony producer in 2021, accounting for 55% of global mine production, followed by Russia at 23% and Tajikistan at 12%. There were 24 antimony mines operating globally in 2018 that produced 147kt, which declined to 110kt in 2021. This period in particular was characterised by China’s environmental audits and regular mine shutdowns to curb the spread of Covid, which resulted in constrained raw materials and downstream production of antimony products. China also continues to account for around 80% of processing capacity.

The wider antimony market

The urgent need for supply and processing diversification has been repeatedly highlighted. A 2022 study by the Leiden University in The Netherlands and the Rare Earth Industry Association in Belgium exposed the lack of resilience in the antimony supply chain spanning overover 100 years, from 1913-2021.

The US used to have a healthy antimony market, which has since been reduced to nothing. The concern of 100% import reliance from foreign countries, of which China and Russia are the largest producers, has led to US Department of Defence to take drastic actions such as allocating US$24.8 million to an old antimony mine in Idaho in order to accelerate its environmental and engineering studies and finalise an investment decision.

The Felix Gold team has carefully analysed the fundamentals of the antimony market, and are excited that their Treasure Creek project could host a deposit in an area that has historically supplied a nationally significant amount of the commodity. Felix was founded by the Mine Discovery Fund Pty Ltd Pty Ltd (MDF), and their expert geological advisory board is responsible for some of the biggest discoveries in the world. The team uses AI-driven proprietary algorithms that incorporate machine learning for big data processing to identify high priority targets.

Join an investor briefing with Anthony Reilly, Managing Director and CEO of Felix Gold, next Thursday 1st June at 12pm (AEST) to hear more about the company and their progress. Register here or request a replay.

Reach Corporate provides Corporate Advisory Services, including managing investor communications on behalf of Felix Gold Ltd and may receive fees for its services.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

 

 

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