Resources Top 5: Bonanza gold and SA gives the green light for a halloysite-kaolin project
Here are the biggest small cap resources winners, Thursday March 2.
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Earlier this week the lithium giant’s joint venture company, POSCO Pilbara Lithium Solution Co executed a KRW600 billion (US$460M) debt facility with Korean government-owned banks to fund the balance of the capital development and commissioning costs for its new 43ktpa Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate Chemical Facility in Gwangyang, South Korea.
The loan agreement has been executed with The Korea Development Bank and The Export-Import Bank of Korea, and represents the remaining ~60% of the forecast funding required for the development of the chemical facility.
The first 21,500tpa train is scheduled to begin commissioning from late 2023 and the second 21,500tpa train from the March 2024 Quarter.
Pilbara Minerals will be the sole supplier of spodumene concentrate (up to 315,000tpa) to the new facility.
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The company owns the large and low-grade Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam.
With a mining inventory of 64.5Mt at a grade of 0.41% nickel, a PFS in February last year anticipated producing an average of 18,000t of nickel in concentrate a year over a roughly 10-year mine life.
But Blackstone’s ambitions are broader, with the company aiming to head downstream and refine nickel-cobalt-manganese 811 battery precursor for battery producers.
In its latest quarterly, BSX announced the completion of the Ta Khoa Refinery piloting program at ALS Metallurgy in Western Australia, successfully developing a scaled version of the Ta Khoa Refinery, processing concentrate to battery grade nickel and cobalt sulphates.
On the exploration front, resource definition drilling at the King Snake massive sulphide vein deposit confirmed continuity and high grades, up to 4.3% nickel and 18.2 g/t platinum group elements.
In addition, the company is targeting potential nickel-copper-cobalt sulphide at its Twilight project in Canada, with ground electro-magnetic surveys completed.
BSX finished the quarter with a cash position of $18.2m.
Drilling has pulled up an eyewatering 28m at 34.81g/t gold from 204m outside the current resource at the Rox-Venus Metals (ASX:VMC) Youanmi project JV in WA.
The company has now identified several near-mine exploration targets including the Youanmi South prospect and the Midway structure which represent new exploration opportunities.
“Youanmi South is just 250 metres from the Youanmi main open pit, yet historical drilling was largely restricted to the weathered zone so true geology has been unconstrained,” MD Robert Ryan said.
“The exceptional grade and continuous high-grade tenor of the intersection in an area previously untested by drilling is cause for cautious optimism whilst we determine orientation of the mineralised zone.
“A core focus of our current exploration program is to test the splay structures off the historically-mined zone structures along the granite margin.
“The results from Midway, and those reported here on Youanmi South emphasise that Youanmi has the potential to deliver extensive resource growth with quality ounces through near-mine discovery.”
The explorer has nabbed approval from the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) for the Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) for its Great White halloysite-kaolin project.
It’s the second and final stage in the SA government’s regulatory process and permits the processing of up to 300,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of ore, producing up to a nominal 150,000 tpa of halloysite- kaolin products from the project.
It also authorises the staged development of the company’s planned operations and anticipated production during the first 13 years of the mine’s expected 28-year life-of-mine.
“With this important regulatory milestone now achieved, Andromeda is poised to progress towards construction, as we advance funding discussions which will enable a final investment decision,” MD James Marsh said.
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Liontown’s dream of becoming Australia’s next lithium producer is well and truly underway with the on-schedule start of open pit mining operations at its Kathleen Valley project in Western Australia in early February.
The mining of the Mt Mann open pit will generate material for construction of the run-of-mine pad and tailings storage facility, potential Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) and a stockpile of mill feed to facilitate the start-up commissioning, and ramp up of the process plant, with first production on schedule for mid-2024.
Additionally, recent mine plan optimisation work has reduced the operational complexity of the mine plan from both an open pit and underground mining perspective.
The company will now expand the Kathleen’s Corner open pit to produce more ore than estimated in the Definitive Feasibility Study while reducing Mt Mann to a large box-cut before establishing the underground portal and subsequent decline development.
Liontown said the expansion of Kathleen’s Corner will result in more material being moved over the initial project period, which given strong market conditions offers a potential opportunity to monetise material not previously expected to be processed as a DSO product – which could deliver early revenue during the pre- and post-commissioning phase at Kathleen Valley.