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Exploration Co. With 1.6 Billion Pounds of Nickel, Copper and Cobalt Looks Ahead to 2023 Field Season

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Earlier this month, Stillwater Critical Minerals announced the filing of a NI 43-101 technical report detailing the updated resource estimate regarding its flagship Stillwater West nickel-copper-cobalt-PGE & gold project in Montana, USA. Read more to learn what the company has planned and why you may want to look into these metals.

Mineral exploration company Stillwater Critical Minerals (PGE:TSX.V; PGEZF:OTCQB; 5D32:FSE) has filed a 43-101 technical report with details on an updated resource estimate regarding its flagship Stillwater West project in Montana, U.S.A. 

The report, entitled "Mineral Resource Estimate Update for the Stillwater West Ni-PGE-Cu-Co-Au Project, Montana, U.S.A," was completed by SGS Geological Services (SGS). It can be found on Sedar, under Stillwater Critical’s company profile, as well as on the company website

Stillwater Critical Minerals is predominantly focused on  Stillwater West battery and catalytic metals project in Montana’s Stillwater mining district. It’s a member of the Metallic Group of Companies, a collaborative effort between "leading precious and base metals exploration companies."

Report Highlights

An updated mineral resource estimate released in January 2023 revealed the presence of five "Platreef-style" nickel and copper sulfide deposits at Stillwater West that currently host 1.6 billion pounds of nickel, copper, and cobalt, as well as 3.8 million ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold. This update represented  60% expansion of the inaugural resource estimate for the project, making it one of the largest undeveloped nickel resources in the United States, which has just one operating primary nickel mine. 

Targeting work by Stillwater shows good potential to connect these deposits within the 9-kilometer core area of the project and to continue to grow the resources across the overall 32km extent of this highly prospective land position which is directly adjacent to the world’s highest grade PGE mines operated by Sibanye-Stillwater.

Couloir Capital rated Stillwater a Buy and gave the company a Fair Value of CA$0.53 per share at the beginning of the year. 

Stillwater made important additions to its team last year with the appointment of two key former members of Ivanhoe Mines' technical team from the Platreef project to the Stillwater West team. Dr. Danie Grobler and Albie Brits were instrumental in the discovery and advancement of Ivanhoe’s Platreef mine, one of the largest and most economic nickel and platinum group metal projects of its type in the world, and a geologic analogue of Stillwater West. The 2023 resource update included their Platreef expertise, and upcoming drill campaigns will be the first to incorporate their additions to Stillwater’s geologic models and targeting.

Based on the company's continued resource expansion, Couloir Capital rated Stillwater a Buy and gave the company a Fair Value of CA$0.53 per share at the beginning of the year, while it trades at just CA$0.20 today. 

Multiple Upcoming Catalysts

The company is also looking forward to a number of upcoming catalysts, including the launch of its 2023 field exploration, updates on carbon sequestration and processing research, other potential strategic partnerships, and continued progress by its partner Heritage Mining which is earning into a high-grade Canadian gold project owned by Stillwater.

Detailed plans for the upcoming drill campaign at Stillwater West are well-advanced, with the dual primary goals of resource expansion as well as new discoveries. This will mark the first season that its two Ivanhoe alumni geologists will apply their experience toward the project’s next round of drilling, with a particular focus within the resource area, to target previously identified high-grade structures within the broader mineralized zones which are up to 700 m in width. These high-grade zones include intercepts as high as 3.3% nickel equivalent over 13.2 meters.

Also coming soon is an updated 43-101 mineral resource estimate based on 2021 expansion drilling and more information on potential deals on 100% owned, district scale, brownfields, and non-core assets. 

Regarding the carbon sequestration updates, Stillwater Critical Minerals has recently partnered with Cornell University to research hydrometallurgy and carbon capture jointly. The goal shared between the company and the university is to identify cutting-edge techniques that will efficiently increase the extraction of critical minerals at Stillwater West in ways that can potentially sequester large amounts of CO2.

Why Critical Mineral Exploration?

As the world moves toward a more sustainable future and transitions from carbon-based energy to electricity, the demand for battery materials like nickel and cobalt and metals used for electric applications like copper, as well as platinum group metals for the generation of green hydrogen, all continue to increase on a massive scale.

The highest individual commodity by value at Stillwater West is nickel, and the project is gaining attention as one of very few projects globally that combine scale and grade in a producing mining district. This is especially true of the U.S., which has only one small nickel mine and has listed nickel as a 'critical mineral’ with a view to securing domestic supplies. Nickel, like several dozen other commodities listed as 'critical,' is sourced largely overseas and is central to electrification and the transition to green energy.

Stillwater West is also rich in Platinum Group Elements (PGE). According to the United States Geological Survey, PGEs.

According to the United States Geological Survey, Platinum Group Elements (PGE)  — which includes ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum — are used in the manufacturing of computer hard drives, as well as in circuits and other electronic devices. According to the United States Geological Survey, Platinum Group Elements (PGE)  — which includes ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum — are important components of auto catalysts that reduce emissions on internal combustion engines as well as other industrial uses including as catalysts for the production of green hydrogen and in fuel cells. Platinum and palladium are also highly sought after as precious metals for both jewelry and investment

Becky Berube of the United Catalyst Corporation said, "industrial demand for platinum has remained robust" and that the "decrease in supply and an increase in demand should produce higher prices."

While prized by jewelers for its beauty and malleability, gold has long been valued as a monetary metal, with investors seeking coins, bars, and ETFs as safe havens or inflation hedges. Lesser known or appreciated is the vital role gold plays in electronics, predominantly in micro-circuitry. In 2020, the production value of gold in the United States was around US$11 billion, and its current per ounce price is nearing all-time historical highs.

Last year, China was ranked top in terms of gold mining production, with the U.S. sitting in fifth position behind the Russian Federation, Australia, and Canada.

A truly polymetallic project, Stillwater Critical Minerals also hosts significant copper and chromium and is one of the largest cobalt resources in the United States. In fact, eight of the metals defined in its mineral resource update are classified as 'critical materials' by the U.S. federal government, which has a mandate to secure domestic supply as a national security priority.

Streetwise Ownership Overview*

Stillwater Critical Minerals (PGE:TSX.V; PGEZF:OTCQB; 5D32:FSE)

*Share Structure as of 3/29/2023

Becky Berube of the United Catalyst Corporation said, "industrial demand for platinum has remained robust" and that the "decrease in supply and an increase in demand should produce higher prices."

Share & Ownership Structure

Headquartered in Vancouver, Stillwater Critical Minerals has around 177 million shares outstanding, with 33 million (around 22%) owned by management and insiders. 

Executive Chairman Greg Johnson owns 3.29% of the shares, while President and CEO Michael Rowley owns 2.8%. 

U.S. Global Investors Inc. is the top institutional shareholder, with 1.13%. 8.52% is with strategic investors and high net worth individuals. The rest is in retail. 

Stillwater reports CA$2.5 million in the bank. As for drilling costs, the company states this will vary greatly with the scale of the program. Stillwater anticipates 2023 will be the largest drill program to date. The drilling season typically starts in June or July and runs into the fall.

Stillwater Critical Minerals also holds the high-grade Drayton — Black Lake Gold project adjacent to Treasury Metals’ development-stage Goliath Gold Complex in northwest Ontario, currently under an earn-in agreement with Heritage Mining, and the Kluane PGE-Ni-Cu-Co critical minerals project on trend with Nickel Creek Platinum's Wellgreen deposit in Canada's Yukon Territory.

The company has an implied market cap of CA$35.478 million and trades at a 52-week range of between CA$0.1500 and CA$0.4700.

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1) Lauren Rickard wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an independent contractor/employee. They or members of their household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. They or members of their household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. Their company has a financial relationship with the following companies referred to in this article: None.

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