The cleantech boom is taking off in Europe, led by the region’s eco-conscious citizens and indomitable car makers. Perfectly positioned is ASX-listed Auroch Minerals, which appears to have found a Cobalt treasure trove in Europe’s industrial heart. Drilling is about get underway at the historic Tisova copper mine in the Czech Republic, which was never explored for Cobalt but appears to have plenty of it.
You could be forgiven for thinking the clean-tech boom had passed Europe by, with attention focused on Lithium-rich Australia, Cobalt and Graphite-rich Africa and the manufacturing powerhouses of South Korea, China and the US, where Tesla reigns supreme.
Europe however is taking a huge plunge into cleantech energy in all its forms and few explorers are better placed to capitalise on the trend than Auroch Minerals.
The Perth based ASX-listed company, which is focused on metals needed by the renewable energy industry, recently snapped up an option over what looks like a Cobalt treasure trove — the historic Tisová copper mine on the border between the Czech Republic and Germany.
Copper mining at Tisová dates back to the 13th Century and last took place under Communist rule between 1959 and 1973 when 560,000 tonnes of ore were mined at an average recovered grade of 0.68% Copper.
The significant opportunity for Auroch is that the volcanogenic metal sulphide or “VMS” mineralisation at Tisová appears to also have high levels of cobalt and gold, but has never been evaluated or mined for these metals. Tisova boasts hundreds of years of waste dumps that could have unrecognised value and a historic mine that was never explored for clean tech metals such as Cobalt.
Auroch has already substantiated the cobalt opportunity at Tisová by assaying a suite of at least 18 grab samples from the waste dumps. The metal values are ridiculously high, including sample TS013 that assayed 0.69% Cobalt. They also threw up copper grades of 1.17% and 1.4 grams per tonne gold. Sample TS012 had a lower but still very attractive Cobalt content of 0.29% and encouraging gold and copper grades of 2.14 g/t and 2.25% respectively.
These grades would cause some level of excitement even if they were buried 50 metres deep. That they are already sitting at surface in a waste dump presents a rather unique opportunity for Auroch.
Next month the company will begin a 5,500-metre, 12 hole drilling program in order to better understand the real value of the opportunity.
The timing of the Tisová project could not be better for Auroch as it follows a string of announcements about the construction of Lithium-ion battery factories in Europe by power companies and car manufacturers.
At least six major factories are in the planning stages, including LGChem in Poland, Samsung in Hungary and Tesla in Germany. The most recent is a US$543 million plant to be built by Mercedes-Benz about 130 kilometres south of Berlin.
Europe’s plunge into cleantech will gather momentum as more countries introduce bans on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles. France and the UK recently attracted headlines for bringing in bans from 2040, but even earlier dates are looming in the Netherlands (2025) and Germany (2030).
Auroch CEO, Dr Andrew Tunks, said “The opportunity and the potential scale of Tisova is truly remarkable. Not only are we in the very fortunate position of having a first-mover advantage in this area of primarily targeting Cobalt, but the location of our asset is in the heart of the European industrial hub. This region is home to companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Samsung, Volkswagen and Porsche, who are all key players and developers in the Lithium-ion space. This bodes well for the company and shareholders alike as the Lithium-ion battery market that we are targeting is literally located on our doorstep.”
Tisova has the potential to be a remarkable asset in more ways than one. While mining ceased in 1973, exploration and underground development continued for another 10 years. Records show 142 underground exploration holes and more than 30 kilometres of development, which could translate into millions of dollars in exploration savings for Auroch.