Up 165% since March, is it too late to buy Delta Lithium shares?

ASX mining giant Mineral Resources recently became Delta Lithium's biggest shareholder.

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Delta Lithium Ltd (ASX: DLI) shares have risen 165% since hitting their 52-week low of 29 cents in March.

The latest big news surrounding this ASX lithium small-cap is the massive buy-up of Delta Lithium shares by ASX 200 mining giant Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN), owned by billionaire Chris Ellison.

Mineral Resources substantially increased its stake in Delta Lithium to a total of 17.44% last month.

That earned Ellison a seat on the board of Delta Lithium this week.

And not just any seat, either. He's the non-executive chair.

The CEO of the MinRes lithium division, Joshua Thurlow, has also joined the board as a non-executive director.

But this isn't the only thing powering Delta Lithium shares higher this year.

Let's take a look at what's been happening with the miner formerly known as Red Dirt Metals

What's the latest news from Delta Lithium?

Delta Lithium owns four Western Australian projects: the Yinnetharra and Mt Ida lithium projects, the Eureka gold project, and the Earaheedy Basin PB-ZN project.

The latest news from Delta Lithium came last week when it announced "very strong recent gold results" from new drilling in the area adjacent to its lithium operation at the Mt Ida project.

New drilling results include:

  • 1.1m @ 302 g/t Au from 82.9m in IDRD146
  • 9m @ 26.48 g/t Au from 84m in SSRD044
  • 5.7m @ 35.7 g/t Au from 191.4m in IDRD066
  • 1.3m @ 55 g/t Au & 0.75% Cu from 362m in IDRD162
  • 2.7m @ 21.3 g/t Au & 1.9% Cu from 355.5m in IDRD033
  • 7m @ 7.4 g/t Au from 162m in IDRD085
  • 1.5m @ 35 g/t Au & 0.6% Cu from 224.4m in IDRD112.

The company says there's enough gold there to justify separate mining.

Delta argues that the gold could provide welcome additional cash flow for the Mt Ida project over its life.

The company is now preparing both gold and lithium resource updates for release later this month.

Meantime, Delta Lithium is expecting formal approval to commence drilling at Mt Ida this year.

Also exciting Delta Lithium share investors in 2023 is the substantial lithium discovery at the Malinda Prospect at Yinnetharra, where there is lithium mineralisation stretching 350 metres below the surface.

Executive Chairman David Flanagan says Yinnetharra has clear world-class potential.

So, is it too late to buy Delta Lithium shares?

Delta Lithium shares closed on Wednesday at 79 cents, up 6.08% for the day.

As my Fool colleague James reports, Bell Potter reckons Delta Lithium shares can rise by more than 70% from here.

Bell Potter reckons the stock will get to $1.35 per share within 12 months.

The broker gives the ASX lithium share a speculative buy rating.

Interestingly, Bell Potter has flagged the possibility that Ellison may want to take over Delta if the opportunity presents itself (i.e., if the value of Delta Lithium shares weakens).

Bell Potter said:

In our view, given MIN's clear interest in DLI's projects, any weakness in DLI's share price could result in a full takeover offer.

We expect a number of potential catalysts for DLI in late CY23 / early CY24, including i) Mt Ida development plans, ii) Yinnetharra initial Mineral Resource estimates, and, iii) Jamesons Prospect exploration commencement.

Delta Lithium was one of the best-performing ASX All Ords mining shares of FY23.

The ASX lithium stock has a market capitalisation of $394 million.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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