Akora awaits Bekisopa’s MRE update

Akora Resources (ASX:AKO) is gearing up to conduct a new Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) in Q2 2024 at the Bekisopa Project in Madagascar, amid completing a fourth drilling campaign. 

In October 2023, the $13.77 million market capitalisation company completed drilling, in which 52 out of 65 drillholes encountered new ‘high-grade’ iron ore of direct shipping ore (DSO) style mineralisation at grades of 58% and above. 

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Paul Bibby says the results across the project’s northern and central zones were designed to increase the overall DSO resource tonnage. 

“The assay results will be used by Wardell Armstrong consultants to update the current MRE for the Bekisopa Project, with additional DSO tonnes expected to add mine life, improve project financials, and increase cash flow for our planned low capital DSO start-up project.”

The Bekisopa iron ore (Fe) mineralisation has a 6km strike length and encompasses the southern, central, and northern zones. 

In the southern zone, 4.4 million tonnes (Mt) of indicated DSO tonnes grading 60.9% Fe have been defined according to JORC standards within the overall total project resource of 194.7Mt. 

Akora says the DSO resource formed the basis for the updated Scoping Study, announced in November 2023, which found that Akora could ramp up production to 2 million tonnes per year over an initial 5 year mine life.

The company notes that an updated Scoping Study financial model and metrics for the expected increased DSO tonnage and mine is expected to be released in due course. 

Akora will also be performing a product quality assessment on the ‘high-grade’, near surface fresh rock intercepts, 40 – 55% Fe, to evaluate the potential for minimal additional processing of crushing and magnetic separation steps, to add increased tonnes of upgraded fines DSO product. 

Akora Resources is an Australian resources company focused on developing 4 ‘high-grade’ iron ore projects in Madagascar. 

As of 31 December 2023, the company had $1.314 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

New Playa in HPA’s Impact on Lake Hope

Better than 99.99% (4N+) high-purity alumina (HPA) has been produced from the metallurgical processing of lake clays from Impact Minerals’ (ASX:IPT) Lake Hope project. 

The 4N HPA was produced via a proprietary and patented metallurgical process, called the ‘sulphate process, which is owned by privately held Playa One. 

The $34.37 million market capitalisation company says the recent results add further momentum to Impact’s ongoing Prefeasibility Study (PFS) at the Lake Hope Project in Western Australia, which is progressing on schedule and due for completion late this year. 

Impact Minerals Managing Director Dr Mike Jones says producing 4N HPA is a ‘major’ milestone and ‘exciting’ results for the company as it has now demonstrated that it can produce this ‘high-value’ product that commands prices of US$20,000 per tonne or more. 

As this news service previously reported, the sulphate process underpins the recent Scoping Study, which demonstrates an net present value (NPV8) of $1.3 billion for Lake Hope and an estimated operating cost to produce 4N HPA up to 50% lower than anyone else globally, at less than US$4,000 per tonne. 

Jones says: “We have also optimised the Playa One sulphate process and have already started batch production of HPA to demonstrate consistent quality to our potential customers. 

We have discovered from our marketing that there is very strong demand for this high-value product, so we will continue progressing the Prefeasibility Study as quickly as possible. 

In addition, we recently uncovered 2 other possible process routes to produce HPA from these remarkable clays, which may offer yet further reductions in operating cost and capital expenditure if our initial testwork is positive, and we are looking forward to getting those results soon.”

A full run of all 5 stages of the sulphate process is currently in progress to demonstrate production of HPA in bulk at a consistent purity to satisfy end-user requirements. 

As part of the ongoing metallurgical research, Impact Minerals Project Manager and Director of Playa One Roland Gotthard has uncovered other potential pathways to HPA which may offer a simplified low-temperature flowsheet that may ‘significantly’ reduce reagent and energy costs compared to the sulphate process. 

Impact says 2 processes are showing promise. Results from initial testwork on one process are due shortly, while the second process is due at the start of Q2 2024. 

Further, the company also expects to release a report on the baseline flora and fauna surveys completed in late 2023 this quarter. 

A report on the baseline flora and fauna surveys completed in late 2023 is expected in the current quarter. Impact notes that preliminary advice is that minor adjustments to the haul road corridor may be required to avoid sensitive flora communities.

This will not affect mining on the lake, the company adds.

Impact Minerals is a mineral explorer focused on its ‘extensive’ tenement holdings covering a 4,000km-square area within Australia. 

The clays at Lake Hope occur in the top 2m of two small salt lakes on E63/2086 in a deposit containing about 880,000 tonnes of alumina (Al2O3) in various minerals. The deposit comprises indicated (88%) and inferred resources (12%) of 3.5 million tonnes at an average grade of 25.1% alumina.

Impact says the lake clays contain a unique combination of naturally extremely fine-grained minerals, which delivers significant cost advantages to the mining and processing of the ore to produce HPA.

The clays are free-digging and require no crushing, screening or other on-site preparation, and it is envisaged that the clay will be trucked offsite to a pre-permitted industrial site, most likely either in Kalgoorlie or Perth.

As of 31 December 2023, the company had $2.098 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au      

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Viridis hatching Colossus study in Brazil

Viridis Mining and Minerals (ASX:VMM) has employed professional services firm Hatch a contract to deliver a Scoping Study and general engineering support for the Colossus Project in Brazil.  

Viridis, which has a $55.97 million market capitalisation, says engineering support from the Perth Hatch office is now underway and the formal Scoping Study will begin in March 2024. 

The study will have an initial focus on the ‘highly prospective’ Northern concessions consisting of Fazenda, Caminho Das Pedras, Central, and Carijo prospects.

Key deliverables from the Study will include processing and production methods, flow rates and associated mine life, review of capital expenditure estimate (capex) to deliver Colossus, the associated operating expenditure estimate (opex) to operate the project at nameplate throughout, and the project execution schedule. 

The output from the Scoping Study will enable Viridis to execute other key scopes on the development pathway, including full asset lifecycle financial modelling to support project financing, offtake discussions, and finalisation of the project execution plan. 

Other key scopes include the technical output to support mining permit applications, environmental impact assessments and regulatory submissions, as well as technical and economic outputs to support the conversion of mineral resources to reserve. 

Metallurgical flowsheet development will be supported by an ongoing Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO) testwork program and the early engineering engagement with Hatch. 

The early engagement is expected to provide guidance on additional lab testing required to de-risk the final flow sheet design.  

Viridis Mining and Minerals Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rafael Moreno says: “We are thrilled to have secured a strategic world class professional services contractor such as Hatch, with specialist rare earth processing experience to work with our teams here in Perth and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 

Having spent most of my career delivering major capital projects, you quickly learn that the calibre of your engineering contractor, early in your development journey, plays a crucial part in de-risking the execution phase of the project including the environmental approvals process. 

Discussions held with Hatch management have given Viridis confidence that the team understands the value drivers of delivering a Scoping Study which reduces the complexity of the flow sheet design and technology selection, sets a global benchmark in environmental standards whilst keeping the facility OPEX at the low end of the cost curve.”

Hatch Director Metals Australia-Asia Claude D’Cruz says: “Hatch is excited to be working with Viridis to undertake the Scoping Study for the Colossus Rare Earth Element (REE) Project in Minas Gerais, Brazil. 

We look forward to working closely with Viridis to set the Project up for future success by drawing on our significant expertise in the processing of rare earths and associated elements, and our substantial project delivery experience.” 

Hatch is a multi discipline engineering, management, and project development consultancy with execution offices in Perth, Western Australia, and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 

Viridis Mining and Minerals is a resource explorer and developer with assets in Brazil, Canada, and Australia. 

The company’s Brazilian assets include the Colossus project, which it considers to be prospective for rare earth elements (REEs).

As of 30 December 2023, Viridis Mining and Minerals had $1.568 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

Astral nears Scoping Study completion

Gold and base metals explorer Astral Resources (ASX:AAR) is looking to deliver a Scoping Study for its Mandilla Gold Project in Western Australia as further ‘high-grade’ assays come to light. 

Managing Director Marc Ducler says the Scoping Study is ‘well advanced’, with only limited workstreams and report compilation still outstanding. 

“We are looking forward to delivering the Scoping Study to the market later this quarter.”

Meanwhile, drilling results have been returned as part of an aircore (AC) drilling campaign completed in May this year and demonstrate the potential for Astral to continue extending the Eos palaeochannel deposit to the southeast. 

The $49.78 million market capitalisation company says this highlights the opportunity to grow the existing shallow 41,000 ounce (oz) Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) with further drilling. 

Further AC drilling is expected to be completed in the coming months. 

Astral reports this latest batch of results includes gold (Au) grades of up to 28.02 grams per tonne (g/t), with other key results including hole MDAC613 with 8m @ 9.58g/t Au from 49m including 3m @ 18.93g/t Au from 49m; and hole MDAC623 with 10m @ 5.05g/t Au from 45m including 3m @ 11.81g/t Au from 49m. 

The company notes RC drilling is currently underway to the southeast of the Theia deposit at Mandilla to complete the Theia in-fill drilling program suspended in May this year. 

Astral expects a diamond drill rig will be mobilised to Mandilla to continue testing the central portion of the Theia deposit, with the goal of extending the extent of known mineralisation both on the flanks and at depth. 

An AC rig is also anticipated to be delivered to site in December this year to complete regional drilling to the southeast of Eos. 

Meanwhile, a structural review of previously drilled diamond drillcore at Theia remains on track for completion in the September quarter.  

Speaking on the results, Ducler says: “Despite the modest scale of the aircore program, it has delivered exceptional high-grade assay results from drilling designed to test the south-eastern extent of the Eos palaeochannel, which already hosts a Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 0.8Mt at 1.6g/t Au for 41koz of contained gold. 

The drilling has not only confirmed that the palaeochannel remains open to the southeast, but it has also returned some of the highest-grade assays obtained at Eos so far

The drilling has not only confirmed that the palaeochannel remains open to the southeast, but it has also returned some of the highest-grade assays obtained at Eos so far. 

This is a very pleasing result which clearly demonstrates the potential for further resource growth at Mandilla.” 

Astral Resources is a Perth-based ASX-listed explorer with a portfolio of projects considered prospective for gold and base metals in Western Australia. 

The company’s flagship Mandilla Project is situated about 70km south of Kalgoorlie and 20km south of the township of Kambalda in Western Australia and currently holds an updated MRE of 37 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.1g/t gold for 1.27 million ounces (Moz) of contained gold. 

Astral Resources had $1.3 million cash at hand as of 30 June 2023. However, it secured commitments to raise $3 million through a single-tranche placement on 31 July 2023, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

Greenstone engages specialist consultants for Mt Thirsty scoping study

Greenstone Resources (ASX:GSR) has engaged a specialist team of independent consultants to undertake a Scoping Study at the company’s Mt Thirsty Joint Venture (MTJV), including Simulus and WSP Australia.

Simulus is a hydrometallurgy and mineral processing services group specialising in metallurgical testwork, process simulation, engineering studies, and the development of hydrometallurgical flowsheets. Over the past 19 years, Simulus has been involved in the assessment, development, design, commissioning or operation of 22 nickel projects.

WSP is a full-service mining consultancy with a global team of more than 4,400 mining professionals covering geology, resource estimation, mining, processing, and environmental. WSP’s mining team (formally Golder Associates) have experience with the Mt Thirsty project, having previously undertaken the most recent mineral resource estimates and tailings design.

Greenstone Resources reports as part of the Scoping Study, WSP will be undertaking an updated mineral resource estimate, mine design, tailings management plan and associated site infrastructure design.

as part of the Scoping Study, WSP will be undertaking an updated mineral resource estimate, mine design, tailings management plan and associated site infrastructure design

The company recently updated on exploration activities at Mt Thirsty with assays having now been received for an additional 9 drillholes targeting Co-Ni-Mn-Sc-PGE mineralisation.

The project is located 16km north-northwest of Norseman, Western Australia and is 50:50 owned with Conico (ASX:CNJ). The project is supported by a network of existing infrastructure including road, rail, port, and power.

It hosts the Mt Thirsty cobalt-nickel-manganese deposit with a current JORC Resource of 26.9 million tonnes @ 0.126% Co and 0.54% Ni with an updated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) and aforementioned Scoping Study currently underway.

Greenstone Resources says assays have now been received for a further 9 reverse circulation (RC) pre-collars completed late last year as part of the phase one drill campaign.

The most recent significant intercepts from the upper Co-Ni-Mn-Sc zone include MTRC035D: 44m @ 0.03% Co, 0.47% Ni, 0.16% Mn, and 39.2g/t Sc from 2m, including 10m @ 0.09% Co, 0.71% Ni, 0.38% Mn, and 23.0g/t Sc from 33m.

Also, MTRC013D: 59m @ 0.05% Co, 0.37% Ni, 0.35% Mn, and 45.3g/t Sc from 10m, including: 11m @ 0.18% Co, 0.45% Ni, 1.15% Mn, and 49.7g/t Sc from 39m.

The phase one drill campaign also employed a comprehensive multi-element assay suite, serving to identify the presence of scandium which had not previously been assayed for, and is not included within the existing resource estimate.

Scandium is a rare earth metal that is highly valued for its unique properties, including high strength, light weight, and resistance to corrosion. It has a wide range of applications, including aerospace, defence, hydrogen fuel cells and electronics industries. In 2021 the global scandium market size was valued at US$460.9 million, however this is projected to reach US$977.3 million by 2030, growing at a forecasted compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% between 2022 to 2030.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.