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Torque Metals (ASX:TOR) discusses high-grade lithium hits at New Dawn

Torque Metals Limited (ASX:TOR) Managing Director Cristian Moreno discusses the roadmap for the company and promising recent results.

Paul Sanger: I’m Paul Sanger for the Finance News Network, and today I’m talking to Torque Metals (ASX:TOR). Torque Metals, trading under the ASX code “TOR” with a market capitalisation of $25m, is a smart exploration company with a proven discovery methodology combining drilling results and machine-learning algorithms and geological interpretation. Torque’s focus is on lithium, gold and nickel in one of the most well-established mineral provinces across Australia. Joining me today is Torque Metals MD Cristian Moreno. Welcome back.

Cristian Moreno: Thank you very much, Paul for the excellent introduction and thank you for having me here again.

Paul Sanger: It’s my pleasure. So, Cristian, following your 100 per cent acquisition of an extensive package of tenements and the establishment of the Penzance Exploration Camp in early January, you promptly launched into a drilling campaign at the New Dawn Lithium Project to expand the spodumene bodies scale. February’s initial results marked a significant milestone for Torque, with each drill hole consistently encountering vertically stacked pegmatites with indications of spodumene. Today you provide another update on this drilling campaign. Can you please discuss these latest findings?

Cristian Moreno: Indeed. Thank you very much, Paul, again. Look, we have an excellent and amazing project there. We have confirmed multiple vertically stack pegmatites with a spodumene mineralisation. This project is located just 600m far away from a producer, that is Bald Hill lithium mine, owned by Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN). We acquired the project in September last year, and since September we have drilled two drill campaigns and we have come up with excellent results proving the lithium mineralisation intersections. And on top of that we have disclosed to the market an exploration target that is telling us that this project could be between eight to 14 million tonne lithium 1 per cent. But this is just in 40 per cent of the project, so there is potential for extension. This drill campaign has tested some portion of the exploration target, and it is also extending the exploration target. So, we could have a significant project here, and my dream is to come up with something similar to Bald Hill.

Paul Sanger: And tell me, how is the progress of your metallurgical test work program, I think expected to be completed in Q124. Are you still confident about meeting this timeframe?

Cristian Moreno: Indeed, indeed. As always, what I have promised I have delivered. All my shareholders know that everything that I have said I have delivered, and I have said that the metallurgical studies are in place and ideally we are going to release the information to the market as soon as feasible. But it is important to mention that Bald Hill lithium mine, they have one of the most high-grade concentrates in Australia, with a significant quality of ore, and ideally we would like to have something similar. But the results will tell, and I will tell the market as soon as they became available.

Paul Sanger: Now, Cristian, it’s very clear to me that Torque has established a very clear pathway to achieve a maiden mineral resource estimate by the end of the year. Can you just recap the key components of this plan?

Cristian Moreno: Indeed. So, what we need to do is additional drilling, but everything that we have so far is indicating that we are going to have something substantial. I can’t mention any numbers, unfortunately, but everything that we have in-house, internally in our geological model is indicating that this resource is being expanded. We will have, potentially, some portions of indicated and inferred as well. And ideally we keep going with these drill campaigns, intersecting beautiful intersections of pegmatites and spodumene. Ideally we will come up with a mineral resource estimate by the end of the year.

Paul Sanger: And with regard to approvals, boxes already being ticked, licences, you’ve got the licences. There’s no short-term encumbrance that are going to stop this rapid progress that you are making, correct?

Cristian Moreno: Indeed, Paul. So, if we want to dig the project tomorrow, we can do it straightaway. Why? Because we have mining licences. Why? Because they are pre-native title. Why? Because we have all the approvals, and it’s just come up with a resource estimate and go to production if we want to do so as soon as possible.

Paul Sanger: Now, Cristian, you are living and breathing lithium on a daily basis. It’s been in the front page of the papers now for several months, particularly with the huge pullback in lithium during ’23. What do you see from your perspective? You’re right in the middle of it. What are you hearing and what are you seeing around lithium pricing, and what’s your views on what we’re going to see over the next six to 12 months?

Cristian Moreno: Look, I’m extremely, extremely happy with what is happening with the market out there and particularly with the lithium and lithium carbonate price. I’m extremely happy seeing companies going to auctions to sell the material to the market without considering any potential manipulation from an Asian country.

Look, I believe that the lithium price has bottomed, as multiple analysts and market forecasters are considering as well. I believe that the demand for spodumene and lithium carbonate is going to increase dramatically very, very soon. Governments such as the US, Europe and really, really top 20 countries are going full on in electrification, and the only material that can allow this electrification and this transition to a clean source of energy is the lithium. See what is happening with the solid state lithium batteries, see what is happening with electric vehicles, see what is happening with the demand, and everything is just demand and supply, so everything, everything is indicating that we could enter in a default very soon in terms of the supply. And there is where the spodumene price will kick off again.

So, I’m expecting a really, really good bounce up in the spodumene price, and apparently it is happening now. It starts right now. So, what I’m considering is, look, I see a bright future for lithium and lithium companies. I see companies such as Arcadium (ASX:LTM), Pilbara (ASX:PLS), Liontown (ASX:LTR), Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) going full on, full on in lithium. And companies like them, look, they have very, very smart people. They are the best companies out there. And if they are following that indication, I believe that, yeah, we should follow as well.

Paul Sanger: Yeah, absolutely. And when the lithium price was on its knees, it was good to see that some of the big players came out and I think they took nearly 10 per cent of expected production off the table pretty much within weeks. And guess what? The lithium price started to rally as soon as that happened. We see more of that production come offline, then hopefully that will give the lithium price another push upwards.

Cristian Moreno: Yeah, let’s see, Paul, what happens in a couple of months, but I think that you and I, we will be right.

Paul Sanger: And just to conclude today, what key developments should investors keep an eye on in the months ahead with regards to Torque?

Cristian Moreno: We have multiple things happening. We have a potential mineral resource estimate for the Paris Gold Project. Keep in mind that we also have the gold project out there in the best jurisdiction in the world. Our project is located in Australia, there is not any better country to be exploring than this country, the best country in the world, the safest country in the world with the best geology in the world. So, ideally potential mineral resource estimate for Paris, additional drill campaigns, metallurgical characterisation. There is something else going on that I can’t comment to the shareholders, but the only thing that I can say is, guys, I’m working super hard to make things happen.

Paul Sanger: Cristian, as always, many thanks for your time, and we’ll be keeping a very close eye on Torque Metals over the coming weeks and months.

Cristian Moreno: Thank you very much, Paul, for your time. Thank you for your support as well. And thank you for the support of all my shareholders. Thank you.