• Baseline environmental surveys at Lake Hope HPA project indicate no threatened or priority species of flora and fauna
  • High purity alumina, or HPA, is a high value critical mineral used in electric vehicles and LED lights
  • David English – who led development of DeGrussa and Nova-Bollinger — appointed to lead the Lake Hope prefeasibility study (PFS)

 

Special report: Baseline environmental surveys have indicated no threatened or priority species of flora and fauna on Impact Minerals’ Lake Hope salt pan, paving the way for a mining lease application.

Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT) Lake Hope HPA project covers two salt lakes around 100km east of Hyden on the border of WA’s Goldfields and Wheatbelt regions.

The company is working towards completing a pre-feasibility study at the project by the end of this year, which will allow IPT to up its stake via an earn-in agreement to 80%.

Lake Hope boasts 3.5Mt of mud-like ore just 2m deep, enough to be mined for 80 years on Impact’s early assessments.

 

Impact Minerals ASX IPT
Lake Hope project. Pic: Impact Minerals

 

A scoping study in December last year suggested the company could produce HPA at sector low operating costs of just US$3264/t, generating 10,000tpa with annual post-tax cash flows of $174m a year.

If a PFS and 10t pilot plant this year is successful and mining approvals are straight-forward, Impact could be producing at demonstration plant rates of 1000-2000tpa in a couple of years.

 

Flora and Fauna surveys complete

IPT has now confirmed that baseline flora and fauna studies carried out on Lake Hope have not identified any threatened or priority species in and around the salt lakes that host the alumina-bearing mud at the project.

Together with the already-received heritage clearance from the Ngadju Aboriginal people, this is a further significant milestone on Impact’s journey to producing HPA.

The surveys, which were undertaken by Biota Environmental Sciences, were completed in the spring season in late 2023 and were focused on E63/2086, which contains the Lake Hope alumina deposit.

A few species that will require an environmental management plan are present in a few places close to some of the proposed site logistics but will not have a material effect on development.

Further surveys will be completed in these areas and also along the route of the proposed haul road to the Norseman-Hyden Road in due course.

  

Environmental impact of development ‘exceptionally small’

“These results confirm that the environmental impact of our proposed development of the Lake Hope alumina deposit will be exceptionally small,” IPT managing director Dr Mike Jones says.

“Given that mining will only leave a hole about one to two metres deep in the lake, the environmental risk and any post-mine rehabilitation are minimal at this stage.

 

New feasibility study manager

“In addition, we have appointed a well-respected and very experienced feasibility study manager for Lake Hope, Mr David English,” he says.

“David helped lead the teams that developed both the De Grussa copper mine (Sandfire Resources) and the Nova-Bollinger nickel-copper mine and he was instrumental in getting both projects to production in near-record times.

“His appointment has allowed Roland Gotthard, who discovered Lake Hope and developed the metallurgical processes to produce HPA from lake mud, to focus on the metallurgical test work and accelerate end-product development.”

 

What’s next?

Discussions are underway with potential candidates for a marketing role for the end-products.

These positions—feasibility study manager, technical manager, and marketing manager—will form the three pillars of Lake Hope’s development.

 

 

This article was developed in collaboration with Impact Minerals, 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.