• Equinox Resources’ Hamersley iron ore project now contains 108.5Mt @ 58% Fe DSO resource
  • Hamersley is just 30km away from FMG’s world-class Solomon Mining Hub
  • A Phase 1 drill campaign to increase the confidence of the resource is being planned to grow the resource further
  • Equinox now has one of the largest DSO iron ore resources for an ASX junior

 

Special Report: Equinox Resources has defined a 108.5Mt @ 58% Fe direct shipping ore (DSO) resource at its Hamersley iron ore project in WA’s Pilbara with significant upside exploration potential to grow the deposit.

 

RBC Capital Markets has boosted its second half 2024 iron ore price predictions “given the seasonal pickup in [Chinese] construction activity, blast furnace utilisation, drop in product quality and poor scrap utilisation”.

Meanwhile China – which controls almost 60% of the 1.8Btpa crude steel market and consumes around four-fifths of the seaborne iron ore trade – continues to ramp up fiscal support and pro-growth policies.

These are all good things for our local iron ore producers.

Smaller players are being taken out at a premium as large companies look for new sources of high-quality supply. Most recently,  CZR Resources (ASX:CZR), a Creasy backed company, inked an agreement to sell its 45Mt iron ore project in the Pilbara for $102 million; basically twice the market cap.

The sentiment is beginning to trickle down to the junior end, with iron ore explorers and developers making a solid appearance in May’s top 50 ASX resources stocks.

Enter Equinox Resources (ASX:EQN), which now has one of the largest undeveloped hematite resources in the Pilbara wholly owned by an ASX-listed junior company.

The 108.5Mt Hamersley project is comparable in grade to Pilbara products such as the Robe River fines, FMG Blend fines and Super Specials fines which are widely traded under the Platts 58% Fines Index.

Crucially, its located in the infrastructure-rich Pilbara region of Western Australia, ~30km south of Fortescue Metals’ (ASX:FMG) Solomon Mining Hub which produces ~65 to 70 million tonnes per year at 56.9% Fe.

It also sits on a mining lease with a native title agreement in place “and could be rapidly developed against the backdrop of a high iron ore price environment”, EQN says.

 

‘Near surface high grade ore’, with upside

The resource has been delineated through drilling over a ~2.5km x 1.5km area and has a near-surface southern extension amenable to open pit mining.

Direct shipping ore (DSO) mineralisation starts ~20m below surface and is likely to be easily mineable given the uniform nature of the deposit – with no deleterious material present.

DSO is the high-grade stuff which, once mined, goes through a simple and low-cost crushing and screening process before being exported.

Metallurgical test work also shows that, through post-screening and scrubbing, the iron grades overall can increase to ~60-62% Fe, which would attract a price premium.

Meanwhile,  standout drill hole PLRC0167 ended in mineralisation of 61.6% Fe, signifying upside potential.

“By reassessing the resource and collaborating closely with our geological team, we’ve unlocked a clearer understanding of its true economic potential, whilst revealing unprecedented exploration upside,” EQN MD Zac Komur says.

 

Proposed Phase 1 drill locations at the Hamersley iron ore project. Pic supplied: (EQN)

 

Cross – section of the higher grade near surface iron ore

 

Next steps

EQN is now planning a phased exploration approach to improve confidence in Hamersley’s iron endowment.

A Phase 1 infill drilling program for 3300m is being planned for later this year in the high-grade region of the orebody.

That will entail drilling of the southern extent of the current MRE – a total of 27 RC drillholes for an estimated 2640m, with drill depths ranging between 50-130m to initially improve the confidence in the nearer surface iron mineralisation.

The drilling will expand an across a 100m x 100m drill grid over a 500m x 500m area and six PQ3 diamond holes within the southern 500m by 500m area will be drilled for metallurgical testwork.

“This MRE update lays the groundwork for targeting the higher-grade region of the ore body,” Komur says.

“Our Phase 1 drilling program for the second half of CY2024 is set to unlock this higher-grade region, further enhancing the resource volume and grade.

These efforts will pave the way for a comprehensive scoping study, Komur says.

“This study will thoroughly evaluate alternative valuation scenarios, considering both the MRE for 58% Fe and a +60% Fe market index, with our decisions driven by a commitment to maximising value for shareholders.”

 

 

This article was developed in collaboration with Equinox 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.