Austral Resources Australia Ltd (Austral) operates in the Mt Isa region, located in Queensland, Australia. Its asset mix has a diversity rarely seen in the Australian small cap mining space.
The Company is a copper cathode producer and copper miner/explorer. In addition to its production plant and mine assets, Austral holds 2,147km2 of highly prospective exploration tenure, comprised of 38 exploration permits minerals (EPMs) as well as two additional EPM applications waiting approval before end of 2022.
Austral is expected to further expand the size of its exploration project book via a finalised Earn-in Agreement with Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines (MIM). Under this agreement, Austral can spend Aus$2.0M over four years to earn-in up to a 65% interest of a further 116km2 of tenure.
Going forward, Austral has committed to an annual Aus$10M exploration budget targeting both oxide copper and copper sulphide in the heart of this world class copper and base metals province. The Company holds 15 Mining Leases covering 53km2.
Austral is today also a growing copper producer, with its Mt Kelly copper oxide heap leach and solvent extraction electrowinning (SX-EW) plant having a nameplate capacity of 30,000tpa of copper cathode. This facility expects to produce 40,000t of copper cathode over a four-year period from mid-2022. The feed for this plant is sourced from the Company’s wholly owned Anthill oxide copper mine, which currently has an Ore Reserve of 5.06Mt at 0.94% Cu.
Austral also owns a significant copper inventory with a JORC compliant Mineral Resource Estimate of 60Mt@ 0.7% Cu (420,000t of contained copper). With an eye to quickly growing this JORC resource estimate, the Company continues to progress an intensive exploration and development program across its project book designed to extend the life of mine, increase its resource base and then review options to commercialise existing and any newly identified copper resources.
Austral recently achieved its target of positive operational cash flow and commercial production at the Anthill Project, which is part of the Company’s Queensland-based greater Lady Annie Project.
A drilling program encompassing the prioritised phase 1 Anthill 2.0 copper oxide exploration targets within the existing ML was in progress at the start of calendar 2023.
Drilling of phase 1 McLeod Hill and Lady Annie copper oxide exploration targets was completed by the end of calendar 2022, with both targets on existing MLs.
Copper Oxide Targets set to be explored in 2023 include:
- The Drifter Trend, where recent surface rock chip samples were assayed at 16.05% Cu
- Highly prospective known targets adjacent to the Anthill open pit mine
- Targets within the Glencore JV.
Copper Sulphide targets set to be explored in 2023 include:
- Lady Colleen, where Austral continues to define a high grade zone
- Enterprise, where Austral has already reported a Maiden Mineral Resource
- A number of other prospects, headed by Flying Horse, Lady Annie, Investigator and Neptune. Here Flying Horse and Lady Annie already have existing Mineral Resource estimates.
Austral is undertaking the groundwork required to explore for additional high-grade oxide and sulphide copper mineralisation over calendar 2023, including lower-tonnage higher-grade zones within its sulphide mineralisation assets.
Austral continues to leverage off the material existing legacy datasets, paving the way to further accelerate the Company’s exploration to discovery pipeline.
Austral has already allocated an Aus$10M budget for exploration over 2023.
JV discussions continue with multiple parties, which have the potential to further accelerate the exploration of key assets in Austral’s project book.
Phillip Thomas | Chairman
Phillip has been CEO and Chairman of a number of ASX and TSX companies and has a wealth of experience in exploration, mine feasibility and development, operations, minerals trading, corporate strategy and valuation. He has significant trading and investment banking experience having been a senior executive at Macquarie Bank, ABN-Amro, Watson Wyatt and McIntosh Securities.
Phillip has substantial Australian and international mining experience having worked in Chile (copper),
Argentina, Peru, Mexico (copper), USA, Canada (copper) and Malaysia. He has a keen understanding of the skills required for the successful development of mining businesses and the teams that run them.
He is a strong proponent of “get it right the first time” and developing people to excel in their roles. Phillip’s commodity experience includes copper, gold, iron ore, lithium, and rare earths.
Phillip joined the Board as a non-executive director in June 2021 and has since been appointed Chairman.
His key responsibility is to provide guidance and share his experience, skills and expertise with other Board members and the CEO. The Board will meet on a regular basis to receive CEO reports on the Company’s progress and assist in the decision making of significant endeavours.
Phillip focuses on creating shareholder value. This means an increase in the share price, commensurate with positive economic developments achieved by the Company.
Dan Jauncey | Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Dan founded Matilda Earthmoving in 2000. This business was based in Toowoomba, Queensland and operated predominately in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
In 2003, Dan saw an opportunity in the resource sector to supply late model, low-hour ancillary equipment on a rental basis. This alleviated a number of industry challenges and, as a result, Matilda Earthmoving was wound down and Matilda Equipment was formed. Over a 15-year period, Dan expanded Matilda Equipment nationally and also established a branch operating in Papua New Guinea. In 2012, Matilda Equipment was recognised as one of the fastest growing companies in the country and was placed in the BRW Fast 100 Companies. In 2018, Matilda Equipment was sold to an ASX listed company.
Dan was instrumental in the acquisition of the key mining assets for Austral Resources in 2019.
Since acquisition, he has been involved in all facets of Austral Resources, from day-to-day operations through to capital raising. He takes a holistic, handson approach to business, regularly visiting sites and being involved with the team.
Ultimately, Dan is responsible for ensuring that Austral Resources continues to grow through its LME Grade A copper production and Anthill Project.
Dan is keenly aware of the need to be agile and competitive in a global industry. He will position the Company to take full advantage of the team’s skills and knowledge to diversify its production and maintain its position as a market leader.
Jeff Innes | Non-Executive Director
Jeff is a professional leader with high integrity and demonstrated performance in operations management, strategic planning in mines, feasibilities, mine expansion, and HR restructuring.
Jeff possesses a progressive style of leadership, with a strong customer focus and an ability to view the organisation in a global context.
His management style involves focusing teams on value adding priorities.
His commodity experience includes zinc, silver, lead, iron ore, gold, copper, uranium, and coal.
Jeff has worked across senior management levels at a number of companies, including General Manager positions with MIM, Joy Global, HSE Mining, BHP, and Ok Tedi Mining Limited (PNG), as well as COO for Conquest Mining.
Jeff joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director in June 2021. He brings many years of experience in leading and improving mining operations, working as an owner-miner and as a mining contractor using both inhouse and contractor labour hire models.
He will be involved with the Safety and Sustainability committee and the Audit and Remuneration committee. As a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Jeff is well versed in the governance and fiduciary requirements of a Non-Executive Director.
Jeff’s appointment marks a significant step for Austral Resources. He adds immense value in bringing Anthill to fruition and extending the exploration efforts in the area.