Suvo has unleashed a much anticipated maiden resource estimate for its Nova silica sands project that highlights its suitability to fulfil a range of high-end market applications.

The broader 216 million tonne Inferred Resource includes a 132Mt resource grading 99.24% silicon dioxide – silica – with very low levels of deleterious elements that make it suitable for use in glass-making.

More importantly, Suvo Strategic Minerals (ASX:SUV) noted that the resource includes 60Mt of silica flour and 24Mt of coarse silica sand, both of which have the potential to elevate the economics of the Nova project.

Silica flour is used for fillers and wellhead cement additives and typically commands a price of between US$90 and US$150 per tonnes while the coarse sand is suitable for foundry applications that typically pay US$45-70/t for the right stuff.

By way of comparison, regular glassmaking silica sand is typically priced between US$35 to US$53 per tonne.

Adding further interest, the resource is based on current drilling, which only tested 15% of the company’s tenure while most holes were only drilled to a depth of 20m and ended in white silica sand.

This suggests that further drilling both across the tenement and deeper into the ground could unlock further resource growth.

“The outstanding results from our maiden JORC Resource at Nova has demonstrated that the extra time appropriated to undertake more detailed testing by Suvo was worth the wait,” executive chairman Robert Martin said.

“Achieving a 216Mt resource with low deleterious elements from approximately 15% of our granted tenure is truly amazing. Suvo now has one of the best, if not the best, silica deposits in the Midwest.”

He added that Nova’s numbers alluded to the true potential of the deposit and represented the first step towards commercialising what the company believes will be a world-class asset.


Nova project and silica sands demand

The Nova project consists of four exploration licences covering 169sqkm on the Eneabba plains at the foot of the Gin Gin scarp near Eneabba and was the subject of exploration surface mapping and sampling in 2019.

It benefits from being close to excellent infrastructure such as the Dampier-Bunbury gas pipeline within the tenements and the Eneabba to Geraldton Port rail line.

The product size range allows for the development of various products for a wide range of both domestic and international markets.

Nova’s resource also comes as demand for high-grade silica sands increases while new sources of high-quality supply become hard to find.

Suvo plans to carry out further drilling to the north and south of the current resource to both increase its size and confidence level.

Deeper holes are also being contemplated as some historical holes intersected white silica sands to a depth of 50m.

This program will also collect a bulk sample for metallurgical test work that will more closely replicate production scale processes, which will better frame the likely operation and the final silica products for marketing.

Additionally, only the silica glass sand has been properly evaluated by density and magnetic separation with further metallurgical sampling from the bulk sample expected to help complete work on both the coarse silica sand and silica flour fractions.

Primero has been commissioned to conduct scoping study works that include the development and costing of a flow sheet for a process plant to produce suitable quality silica products.

This article was developed in collaboration with Suvo Strategic 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.