Recent announcements from the South Australian mineral and energy resources sectors
This update covers the February 2019 period and is compiled from information publicly released by companies.
Readers should refer to the latest information available on company websites, particularly in regard to making any forward investment decisions.
Previous news items:
- Alliance Resources
- Andromeda Metals
- Archer Exploration
- Auroch Minerals
- Ausmex Mining Group
- Boss Resources
- Havilah Resources
- Leigh Creek Energy
- OZ Minerals
- Renascor Resources
- Woomera Mining
Alliance Resources’ scoping study for the Weednanna deposit is well advanced with completion expected before the end of March 2019 (ASX release 19 February 2019). A positive outcome will see the company progress to a prefeasibility study. Weednanna, part of the Wilcherry gold project, has a current maiden gold resource of 181,000 ounces (oz) at 5.1 grams per tonne (g/t) Au.
Alliance also reported the completion of 119 reverse circulation drillholes at Weednanna for a total of 18,623 m with high-grade shoots returning:
- 49 m at 6.3 g/t Au and 60 m at 5.7 g/t Au (Shoot 1)
- 14 m at 5.7 g/t Au (Shoot 2)
- 14 m at 36.1 g/t Au (Shoot 3)
- 15 m at 18.2 g/t Au (Shoot 4)
- 20 m at 12.4 g/t Au and 7 m at 21.2 g.t Au (Shoot 5).
The majority of shoots open in at least one direction and there is good potential for new gold shoots along strike and at depth. Preliminary metallurgical test work undertaken on Shoots 1 to 4 has indicated approximately 90% average recovery using conventional grind and carbon-in-leach.
Good regional gold potential has also been reported with the Weednanna East and Weednanna North prospects returning 2 m at 1.31 g/t Au and 22 m at 0.34 g/t Au (including 2 m at 1.12 g/t Au), respectively.
Enhanced high purity alumina metallurgical testing of Carey’s Well halloysite–kaolin has reaffirmed second round testing results which showed that 4N purity could be achieved and repeated with only one stage of purification (ASX release 4 February 2019). The Carey’s Well kaolin deposit is part of Andromeda Metals’ Poochera project.
A shipment of 140 tonnes of raw ore has arrived in China to be processed through a wet-processing plant with results expected in March 2019. The final product will then be provided to potential end-use ceramic customers for commercial evaluation. Mine design and logistic studies are also well underway.
An updated Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC, 2012) mineral resource estimate for the Carey’s Well deposit was announced in an ASX release on 12 February 2019. The estimate of 9.7 million tonnes (Mt) of halloysite kaolin with a reflectance of 82.9 includes 5.2 Mt in measured, 3.8 Mt in indicated and 0.8 Mt in inferred. The 9.7 Mt of halloysite kaolinised granite will yield 5.3 Mt of minus 45 µm halloysite kaolin product containing 18.4% halloysite, which is significantly above the typical 10% threshold required for the ceramics industry.
Andromeda has raised $1.76 million through an oversubscribed share placement (ASX release 21 February 2019). Funds will be used to finalise the current scoping study, scheduled for completion mid-2019, and subsequent feasibility study and permitting work.
Encouraging results have been reported from Archer Exploration’s maiden reverse circulation drilling program underway at the Hood prospect, part of its Blue Hills copper–gold project (ASX release 7 February 2019). Copper was intersected from surface in the first drillhole, HDRC19-01, with assay results including 24 m at 0.10% Cu. HDRC19-02 returned 40 m (from 46 m) at 0.05% Cu. In addition to copper, zones of albitite and molybdenum mineralisation were also intersected in both holes, which supports the conceptual model that a large intrusive-style mineralising event is driving the copper–gold mineralisation. Drilling is expected to be completed at Blue Hills before the end of February with further results available from Hood, Hawkeye and Katniss in the coming weeks.
Final results of the January 2019 drilling program at the Hood prospect were given in an ASX release on 22 February 2019. Further strong intrusive-style grade copper–gold intercepts included 10 m at 0.10% Cu from the surface in HDRC19-04.
Reconnaissance rock-chip sampling results have been released from Auroch Minerals’ Arden base metal project in the Adelaide Geosyncline (ASX release 7 February 2019). Numerous samples taken from gossanous material near the historical artisanal Mount Arden copper mine returned results over 2% Cu, including several high-grade results of 20.40%, 15.25%, 8.55% and 5.52% Cu. The results confirm the presence of high-grade base metals mineralisation at the Mount Arden prospect, which is close to the recently drilled Ragless Range prospect. Drillhole RRDD007 at Ragless Range returned high-grade results of 12.80 m at 4.96% Zn from 53.00 m, including 3.65 m at 15.47% Zn from 62.15 m.
Auroch propose follow-up geological mapping and more systematic sampling in the coming months, leading to the next phase of drilling in the second quarter of 2019.
Ausmex Mining Group
Several new conductive structures have been identified within the Burra exploration area following modelling of Ausmex Mining’s recent 10 km grid magnetotelluric (MT) survey data by the University of Adelaide (ASX release 4 February 2019). A higher resolution 5 km spaced grid-based audio MT survey is proposed in February/March to further define these structures. Audio MT focuses on deposit-scale conductive structures within the 200 m to 2 km depth range in the crust.
BHP’s growth plans for Olympic Dam – to increase mining and production from 200 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) to up to 350 ktpa – have been declared a major development by the South Australian government (BHP news release 14 February 2019). This is the first step in a comprehensive state and federal process that includes assessment of potential associated social, economic and environmental impacts. BHP is continuing to progress the growth studies as it works towards seeking board approval for a capital project in mid to late 2020.
An updated mineral resource estimate (JORC 2012) has been released for Boss Resources’ targeted restart area at the Honeymoon uranium project (ASX release 25 February 2019). The mineral resource, which includes the Brooks Dam, Honeymoon and East Kalkaroo deposits, totals 24 Mt at 660 ppm U3O8 for 36 million pounds (Mlb) U308, using a cutoff grade of 250 ppm. This represents an overall 30% increase in metal mass from the previously reported mineral resource estimate (ASX release 15 March 2017), 149% increase in measured and indicated status, totalling 27 Mlb at 690 ppm U308, and a combined mineral resource increase of 13% to 52.4 Mt with an average grade of 620 ppm U3O8 for 71.6 Mlb at a 250 ppm cutoff.
The new mineral resource has been derived from the recent infill drilling and historical data reinterpretation and designed to deliver measured and indicated resources specifically on the mining lease as required for completion of the definitive feasibility study and the endorsed restart strategy for the Honeymoon uranium project.
SIMEC Mining, an affiliate of the GFG Alliance, has elected to extend its period of exclusivity to complete due diligence on Havilah Resources’ Maldorky and Grants iron ore projects until 31 March 2019 (ASX release 1 February 2019). Havilah will receive a $1 million payment from SIMEC Mining. The joint objective of this due diligence and extension of the exclusivity is to determine the future development and commercialisation potential of Havilah’s iron ore projects.
Leigh Creek Energy
Leigh Creek Energy is continuing to progress the upgrading of its current SPE-PRMS 2,963.9 PJ 2C resource to a 2P reserve (ASX release 26 February 2019). (SPE-PRMS is the Society of Petroleum Engineers - Petroleum Resource Management System.) Pre-commercial demonstration operation has demonstrated commercial gas production from one of three coals seam in the Telford Basin with additional opportunities for future resource upgrades. The company expects to realise a significant reserve large enough to support a 20-year commercial project. More than 12 expressions of interest have been received from parties, including several of Australia’s largest gas retailers and users, for up to 50 PJ per annum of Leigh Creek gas.
OZ Minerals released its annual report citing strong operational performance at Prominent Hill, exceeding its copper and gold production guidance (ASX release 27 February 2019). The mine life has been further extended to 2030 with a 50% increase in proven underground ore reserves (total) of 40 Mt at 1.3% Cu, 0.6 g/t Au and 3 g/t Ag. During 2019 OZ will focus on the safe ramp-up of the Prominent Hill underground to 3.7–4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
The Carrapateena copper–gold project is now in peak construction and on track for first concentrate to be produced in late 2019. Following commissioning, the project is expected to ramp-up to a steady state production of 4.25 Mtpa.
A further highlight was the launch of the Explorer Challenge, a unique crowdsourcing competition where OZ Minerals has teamed with open innovation platform Unearthed with a A$1million prize pool. Contestants have been invited to develop ground-breaking approaches to discover new exploration targets at the company’s Mount Woods site near Prominent Hill. The competition, which runs for 10 weeks, has attracted over 1,000 competitors from 40 countries and more than 60 universities. Kicking off the competition, OZ Minerals released more than 1 terabyte of exploration data.
Renascor Resources announced a positive outcome for its spherical graphite production prefeasibility study using graphite concentrates to be produced from the Siviour graphite project (ASX release 21 February 2019). The project economics are compelling and highlight Siviour’s potential to achieve significant economic returns through the vertically integrated development of a mine and flake graphite concentrate operation, plus downstream production of spherical graphite.
Results from the spherical prefeasibility study will be used to advance off-take and project finance discussions and to assist Renascor in transitioning into development upon the completion of the Siviour graphite concentrate definitive feasibility study expected in the second quarter of 2019. The annual proposed production of spherical graphite from Siviour is 29,085 t over a 30-year mine life.
Woomera Mining’s application to regain tenure over three former exploration release areas has been approved by the South Australian government (ASX release 13 February 2019). Two exploration licence applications are located in the Musgrave Province (the former Sundown Outstation and Mount Howe exploration release areas) and the third application is in the northern Gawler Craton (the former Mount Carulinia exploration release area).