Rafaella Resources Limited (ASX:RFR) has announced a 42% increase in open pit measured and indicated resources at its Santa Comba tungsten and tin project in northwest Spain, following a resource estimation by independent consultants Wardell Armstrong International.
The company reports that the results vindicate recent drilling, which was tasked with de-risking the project by converting ‘inferred’ resources to the ‘measured and indicated’ category.
The updated results lead to a total open pit MRE of 9.97Mt @ 0.16% WO3 and 100ppm Sn for 16,063 tonnes of contained WO3 and 994 tonnes Sn, with mineralisation remaining open along strike and at depth.
The underground inferred MRE remains unchanged from 2016, with 0.234Mt @ 0.95% WO3 and 2,797ppm Sn for 2,221 tonnes of contained WO3 and 655 tonnes of contained Sn (0.53% WO3 cut-off).
Pilot processing fast-tracked
RFR reports that pilot plant processing of ore from underground stockpiles is on track for September 2021, with increasing tungsten prices expected to provide a significant boost to the project’s feasibility study and an opportunity for the company to progress underground development to full-scale commercial operation as quickly as possible.
Further drilling will be required to convert and expand the current underground resource.
“Further benefits are expected to flow from a much-improved tungsten market with prices up 43% from the earlier study”
Rafaella Resources Managing Director Steven Turner said: “The Company set out a clear objective to extend the mine life through the conversion of open pit Inferred Resources to Measured and Indicated Resources. This was an important precursor to increase debt capacity, enhance the economics and secure offtake. The increased Measured and Indicated Resources will now be fed into the feasibility study where we will be able to see the impact of this upgrade.
Further benefits are expected to flow from a much-improved tungsten market with prices up 43% from the earlier study. This has led the Board to agree to accelerate the current small scale underground development to a full commercial operation. The underground is fully permitted, the resource is high grade and offers additional tin credits, whilst the metallurgy is well understood from historical production. Finally, the company is actively reviewing a number of attractive opportunities to materially increase its tungsten exposure and enhance the flexibility in managing its portfolio to maximise shareholder return.”
Images: Rafaella Resources Limited