Why we’re optimistic after a busy year

It’s been a big year for Boab Metals (ASX: BML). As we work towards achieving operational status at Australia’s largest undeveloped lead-silver-zinc deposit, Sorby Hills

The Boab Metals team believe we are one of the ASX small-cap stocks to watch in 2023. 

We’re looking forward to a productive 2023 (and beyond). 

What we achieved in 2022

Starting strong

We kicked off the year with encouraging metallurgical results. An extensive drilling program completed in late 2021 indicated a recovery uplift that reinforced the potential of the Sorby Hills Lead-Silver-Zinc Project. 

In early 2022, we announced results from drilling at the Sorby Hills Beta Deposit. The high-grade results extended the mineralisation envelope at the Wildcat Prospect, taking the total potential strike length to ~600 metres.

The wet season set in soon after, giving us a chance to regroup and assess where our energy would be best invested in 2022.  

Securing a clean energy deal for Sorby Hills

Sustainability is mission-critical for us at Boab Metals. We’re committed to leaving a positive legacy for Western Australia, particularly the Kimberley communities where we operate in.

We were pleased to cement a major sustainability initiative in April 2022, signing a Heads Of Agreement (HOA) to secure hydropower from the Ord River Hydroelectric Plant.

The HOA with Horizon Power will see Sorby Hills supplied with clean, low-cost power for at least 10 years. 

Boab’s Managing Director & CEO, Mr Simon Noon, said: “We are extremely excited by the prospect of incorporating a one-stop solution that simultaneously provides secure power, positive environmental outcomes and economic benefit to the Sorby Hills Project”.

The HOA also brings us closer to the nearby communities of Kununurra and Wyndham, both of which use power from the hydro plant to keep the lights on.

Port access agreement in place

The first quarter of 2022 was a busy one. As well as inking the clean power deal, we also executed an agreement for access and stevedoring services at Wyndham Port.

Wyndham Port, 150km from Sorby Hills by sealed road, is the only deep-water port between Broome and Darwin. It provides a vital link between northern Australia and our export customers worldwide.

Our agreement with Cambridge Gulf Limited will enable concentrate from Sorby Hills to reach our customers via the safest, most efficient route. The agreement includes provisions for receiving, storing, and loading concentrate, plus mooring, towing, and piloting to ensure safe transit. 

Boab Metals hits the road

As the Kimberley wet season dried up, we hit the road to showcase Boab Metals as one of the best investments in 2022. 

In April, we attended the Euroz Hartleys institutional investor conference on beautiful Wadjemup (Rottnest Island). Our presentation at the conference updated investors on our exploration, development, and DFS progress. 

But most importantly, we outlined the potential of Sorby Hills to supply the rapidly expanding lead and silver markets. 

Four months later, in August, we journeyed to Kalgoorlie for the 2022 Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum

Early works approvals attained

In the middle of the two conferences, Sorby Hills made a significant leap forward with an EPA approval that paved the way for site establishment and early site works.

Throughout the Sorby Hills DFS process, we implemented a multi-stream approvals approach to de-risk the project schedule. Specifically, we decoupled early works and main works approvals to ensure flexibility.

That approach paid off in July when we received the green light on amendments to existing EPA approvals from 2014. The approvals represented a major milestone for project development. Investors agreed, sending our stock price surging on the back of the news. 

Crucially, the EPA approvals put us on track for final approval under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Racing towards operation

So much happened during the September quarter that we’re still processing all of the progress. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 178-room accommodation camp acquired at a competitive price

The camp, comprised of 33 four-room buildings and 23 two-room buildings, will provide accommodation for staff and contractors during construction at Sorby Hills. Boab Metals acquired the facility for a competitive $1.29 million, and the camp was transported to the project site during Q4 2022.

  • Competitive tenders completed to expand the Sorby Hills processing plant.

Expanding the planned processing capacity by 50% to 2.25Mtpa will allow Sorby Hills to supply additional high-grade concentrate to the growing lead and silver markets earlier than planned in the PFS.

  • Phase VI drilling wrapped up successfully.

We’re eagerly awaiting the final results from the 3,000+ metres of drill samples collected from the Norton and Beta deposits. We also completed the maiden drill program at our 100% owned Eight Mile Creek exploration project, located immediately south of Sorby Hills. 

In November, we announced GR Engineering Services (GRES) as the preferred EPC contractor to expand the Sorby Hills processing plant. With a commercial agreement and contract likely to be finalised in the coming months, we look forward to progressing the EPC in 2023. 

Boab Metals is a small-cap stock to watch in 2023

Looking back at 2022, we are thrilled with Boab Metals’ progress in 12 short months.

We enter 2023 as one of the ASX small-cap stocks to watch with our definitive feasibility study just around the corner and an exciting year ahead.

With the support of our 25% joint venture partners, Henan Yuguang Gold Lead Co. Ltd., Sorby Hills remains a strong prospect. Our achievements in 2022, including EPA approvals, port agreements, power supply contracts, and exciting drilling results, further strengthen the outlook for Boab Metals.

All in all, we’re optimistic about the future. It will take hard work and a team effort, but we’re confident that Sorby Hills is on track to reach operational status.

Visit our investor centre to learn more about investing in Boab Metals.