All aboard the Orient Express: Iltani on track to become a serious producer of silver and indium, a critical raw material
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Special Report: Historical test work has confirmed Iltani Resources has the potential to produce lead-silver and zinc-indium-silver concentrates via its Orient project in Queensland.
According to managing director Donald Garner, Iltani Resources (ASX: ILT) recently received a large package of historical data – including drill logs, assay results and technical studies such as metallurgical test work – for a number of projects in the Herberton region of Far North Queensland.
The bulk of the data related to work completed on Iltani’s Orient and Isabel projects during the 1970s and 1980s.
Metallurgical test work completed on core samples taken from the Orient West deposit in 1988 were found to support the production of separate lead-silver and zinc-indium-silver concentrates, respectively grading 48% lead and 2250g/t silver and 47-48% zinc, 2000g/t indium and 200g/t silver.
Based on enquires to date, Iltani believes both concentrates can be sold. The company also determined it could implement a metal equivalent calculation using the silver, indium, lead and zinc due to the “reasonable” potential for recovery and sale of those elements.
Garner said the historical data would help accelerate work at Orient in a “much more focused and cost-effective manner”.
“An immediate benefit is our ability to confirm that the Orient project can produce separate high quality lead-silver and zinc-indium-silver concentrates, positioning Iltani as a potential supplier of this key critical raw material,” he said.
Indium’s status as a critical raw material has been noted by multiple studies, driven by its strategic end-uses and potentially constrained supply in a market still very much dominated by China.
The production of indium tin oxide (ITO) accounts for most global indium consumption. Thin ITO coatings are primarily used for electrically-conductive purposes in many flat-panel displays, such as LCD screens.
Other common applications include solar cells and smartphone displays, alloys used in the aerospace engineering and automotive manufacturing industries, and solders where a low melting point is required.
Located within Iltani’s wider Herberton project, Orient now stands as one of Australia’s leading silver-indium opportunities. Its strategic location close to established export centres in both Mourilyan and Townsville also bodes well for the company’s ambitions to become a preferred supplier of indium into key growth markets globally.
Following confirmation of the historical metallurgy, Iltani has restated the results from its recent Stage 1 RC drilling program at Orient.
Notable silver equivalent intercepts from Orient West now include 41m @ 125.3 g/t Ag Eq. from 60m downhole, 41m @ 71.4 g/t Ag Eq. from 55m downhole, 9m @ 215.9 g/t Ag Eq. from 64m downhole, 10m @ 151. 5 g/t Ag Eq. from 141mm downhole and 7m @ 100.5 g/t Ag Eq. downhole in Orient West
Plus, notable silver equivalent intercepts from Orient East now include 38m @ 190 g/t Ag Eq. from 19m downhole and 41m @ 107.2 g/t Ag Eq. from 39m downhole.
Orient West and East are over 2km apart (refer to figure), and all intercepts are open down dip and along strike, and Orient has a known extent of at least 4km2 to date.
All future assays from Orient will now be quoted silver equivalent basis, with the company taking a conservative approach and discounting the antimony and tin content for now due to the likelihood neither will be payable.
Iltani’s upcoming Stage 2 drilling campaign will look to extend the mineralisation intersected in the initial program and test stockwork targets generated by mapping.
With a solid pipeline of drill targets in the offing, Garner is confident the company’s flagship project has the capacity to host a large open pit resource.
“The guys are up on site this week starting preparation for another round of drilling, scheduled to commence at end of November,” he said.
“We will do some holes now, where we have straightforward access, before the wet seasons start, and we will come back after the wet seasons to drill the targets which will take more time to get to, where we have to build significant access tracks and require First Nations clearance.”
Should the Stage 2 drilling program continue to expand the known mineralisation, as Iltani believes it will, then it is apparent that anyone getting aboard the Orient Express now could be in for an incredible ride, as Iltani seeks to match and then pass the current ASX listed ‘go-to’ silver companies, Investigator Resources Limited (ASX:IVR) and Silver Mines Limited (ASX:SVL).
This article was developed in collaboration with Iltani Resources, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.