RareX has put drill rigs on the ground at Cummins Range critical minerals project, right as Federal Government support for critical minerals ramps up (reports Stockhead).

Up to three rigs will be turning at RareX’s (ASX:REE) Cummins Range as part of the largest program in the project’s history, designed to convert an exploration target to resources. For those playing at home, the conceptual exploration target announced for Cummins Range in February was 23 million tonnes at 1.6% total rare earth oxides to 41Mt at 2.4% TREO – positioning the project as potentially one of the largest rare earths deposits in the country.

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Labyrinth’s strategy to convert the existing foreign resource at its namesake project to JORC standards has received a leg-up with drilling returning some impressive high-grade golds (reports Stockhead).

Notably, the assays such as 7.5m grading 7.01 grams per tonne (g/t) gold from 213m including 0.5m at 62.51g/t gold consistently confirm or exceed historical mineralised intervals that were used for the 2010 NI43-101 estimate of 479,000oz of contained gold. Drilling also intersected the Talus lode with results such as 3.7m at 4.75g/t gold from 23m exceeding historical lode widths.

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Batteries – and more precisely battery metals – are poised to replace chips as the new bottleneck for the auto industry (reports The Washington Post).

Although there has been plenty of attention on nickel, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, another key metal, lithium, is a source of concern for manufacturers dealing with all manner of supply chain challenges. Elon Musk, at the launch of the cyber rodeo earlier this month, is among the car makers seeking to expand lithium use. AP

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Pilbara Minerals boss Ken Brinsden has declared the lithium price will go higher after his company achieved another record price for a spot cargo of its concentrate (reports The West Australian).

Releasing its March quarter production results on Thursday, the miner revealed it had accepted a bid price of $US5650 per tonne for a 5000t cargo of its 5.5 per cent spodumene concentrate in its latest Battery Material Exchange online auction. The bid represents an equivalent $US6250/t price on a 6 per cent product inclusive of freight costs. It is also a 140 per cent jump on the $US2350/t price Pilbara achieved for a 10,000t cargo in October. Mr Brinsden said the results of the company’s latest BMX auction showed the global market was critically short of lithium.

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Shares in Sandfire Resources jumped today after the company’s quarterly production included the first contribution from the newly acquired MATSA complex in Spain (reports MiningNews).

Adding MATSA to existing production from DeGrussa in Western Australia saw copper production rise to 28,774 tonnes from 18,675t in the previous quarter. DeGrussa also produced 6956 ounces of gold, while MATSA also contributed 16,027t of zinc, 1901t of lead and 620,000 ounces of silver. MATSA performed in line with expectations with optimisation to 4.7 million tonnes per annum underway. The operation set a new monthly mine record of 398,595t in March, equating to an annualised run-rate of 4.9Mtpa.

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Dozens of countries including Britain and France are now turning to Australia to lock in a long-term clean energy source that can help the world dramatically cut its carbon emissions (reports The Australian).

After nearly a decade in the deep freeze, nuclear power has been getting a fresh look as a way for the world to rapidly end its dependence on heavily-polluting coal and oil. An energy crisis brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turbocharged this, prompting much of western Europe to look for ways to slash their reliance on Moscow. Shunned by politicians here as being too hot to handle, uranium has been a workhorse for decades, fuelling nuclear reactors in more than 30 countries.

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Boss Energy (ASX: BOE) is readying to make a final investment decision early next month for the re-start of its flagship Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia after workstreams have progressed “more rapidly” than expected (reports Small Caps).

The company’s managing director Duncan Craib said work on the mine re-start had advanced faster than expected. “During the quarter, we completed the FEED (front end engineering design) study [for Honeymoon], which confirmed that the cost estimates in the enhanced feasibility study remain accurate.” He said this achievement was followed by a heavily oversubscribed $125 million equity raising. “In parallel with these major achievements, the uranium price continued to increase sharply.”

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Continuous ore processing is underway at Calidus Resources’ A$106 million Warrawoona gold project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region (reports MiningNews).

Processing of low-grade ore is underway and will transition to run-of-mine ore over the coming week as operations move to steady state. Gold in circuit has started to build, with the first gold pour expected within two weeks, well and truly within the company's previously stated target date of mid-May. Calidus managing director Dave Reeves said the start of processing less than five years since the company listed on the ASX was a major achievement.

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