Special Report: Anax Metals and Develop Global have started a scoping study to evaluate the treatment of high-grade oxide/transitional ore from the Sulphur Springs deposit at their Whim Creek JV project.

Whim Creek is a historical mine about 120km southwest of Port Hedland in WA’s Pilbara region where oxide ore from the Whim Creek and Mons Cupri volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VMS) deposits was mined by Straits Resources in the mid-2000s.

This ore was processed through a heap leach and SX/EW plant to produce around 15,000tpa of copper cathode, leaving the sulphide ore untouched.

Anax Metals (ASX:ANX) acquired a 80% interest in the project late 2020 and has since advanced a restart of the project by completing exploration, resource development and feasibility studies.

A definitive feasibility study released in April 2023 outlined a relatively modest capital cost of $71m to bring the mine back into production at a rate of 10,000-12,000tpa of copper equivalent metal at an all in sustaining cost of just US$2.23/lb copper.

This would generate $340 million in free cash over a life of eight years and deliver pre-tax NPV of $224m and impressive IRR of 54%.

Anax also intends to refurbish the fully permitted existing heap leach facility to produce copper cathode and zinc sulphate. Heap leaching is anticipated to begin in the second year of operation and the modest refurbishments costs. This is expected to add a further $70M to project cashflows.

All regulatory approvals are also in place with the company currently engaging with a number of commodity traders and investment funds to secure financing.

Meanwhile, Develop Global’s (ASX:DVP) wholly-owned Sulphur Springs zinc-copper project about 140km southeast of Port Hedland has a resource of 17.4Mt @ 5.8% zinc, 1% copper and 21g/t silver.


Processing third party ore from other Pilbara operations

The joint venture (JV) partners will now begin an investigation into the feasibility of transporting oxide ores from DVP’s Sulphur Springs deposit to Whim Creek, where ore may be heap leached to produce saleable copper and zinc products.

The possibility of processing third-party ore from elsewhere in the Pilbara through the proposed new Whim Creek concentrator and the fully permitted heap leach facility will be considered, as well as the possibility of processing Sulphur Spring ores at Whim Creek.

Both ANX and DVP believe this will provide a processing option for a number of stranded deposits in the area and provides a launchpad for creating a much larger base and metal business centred around Whim Creek.




This article was developed in collaboration with Anax Metals, 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.