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It’s estimated the fire caused AU$10 million in damages to the facility, which refines nickel from three sources as a vital part of Nickel West’s operations.
Australian miner BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) has had a setback in its Nickel West operations in Western Australia, after its Kalgoorlie nickel smelter was forced to close after a fire ripped through the facility on the weekend.
As reported by local media, an estimated AU$10 million in damage was caused at the facility, with the fire taking four hours to be brought under control by local fire response teams.
Conditions were described by the Kalgoorlie fire station officer as very dangerous due to the nature of the facility — though no responders or workers at the site were injured during the fire, which is understood to have started in the facility’s furnace building on Sunday (September 23) afternoon.
Operations at the facility will remain suspended while BHP assesses the damage, with workers returning to work on Monday to work on recovery. No estimate for a resumption of operations has been released.
“People have returned to work at the Kalgoorlie Smelter today and the team is working on the recovery of safe operations,” a company spokeswoman told The West Australian.
“Our first priority is the safety of all our people and returning the plant to normal operations.”
The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has launched an investigation into the incident.
The Kalgoorlie smelter is a junction of operations for Nickel West, with three streams of nickel concentrate coming together from concentrators at Mt Keith, Leinster and Kambalda to be processed into nickel matte, with another facility processing it further to premium-grade nickel powder and briquettes containing 99.8 percent nickel.
In the last financial year, Nickel West produced 91,000 tonnes of nickel.
Kalgoorlie is home to BHP’s Nickel West operations, which earlier this year announced it would be embarking on an expansion program that would see new mines, upgraded facilities and a focus on nickel sulfate in a bid to cater to the booming battery metals market.
The company forecasts that by Q4 2019, its sales to the battery segment will make up almost 90 percent of all nickel sales — up from less than 60 percent at the start of this year.
On the LME, nickel — which has been the most resilient of the base metals during the trade war – was trading at US$12,840 a tonne as of Tuesday (September 25).
In Sydney, BHP was trading at AU$34.50 as of market close on Wednesday (September 26) AEST, up 1.17 percent.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
An unprecedented increase in nickel prices pushed the London Metal Exchange to halt nickel trading.
Nickel doubled in price to hit a record level of US$100,000 per tonne before the London Metal Exchange (LME) decided to suspend trading on Tuesday (March 8).
The base metal, used mainly in stainless steel, but gathering attention for its use in electric vehicle batteries, was up an unprecedented 250 percent in two days on the back of a short squeeze.
“Nickel is clearly trading in crisis mode,” ING senior analyst Wenyu Yao said in a note. “Market positioning could be the trigger, but the industry has long faced structural issues.”
Nickel prices were 66 percent higher, at US$80,000, when the LME decided to suspend trading for at least the rest of the day. Earlier on Tuesday, nickel had soared to a record US$101,365 ― 111 percent higher than its closing price on Monday (March 7).
The 145-year-old exchange had been monitoring “the effect of the evolving situation in Russia and Ukraine,” saying it is clear the nickel market in particular has been affected. The LME later said it would cancel all nickel transactions that had taken place earlier in the day.
The latest price increase has been attributed to the additional time given to China Construction Bank (OTC Pink:CICHF,SHA:601939), a big state-owned lender, to make payments on margin calls it missed on Monday. Payments have now been made.
Additionally, Bloomberg reported that Chinese tycoon Xiang Guangda — who built a large short position in nickel futures and controls the world’s largest nickel producer, Tsingshan Holding Group — is facing billions of dollars in mark-to-market losses.
Low inventories have added volatility to the market, with stocks of nickel in LME-registered warehouses standing at 75,012 tonnes, their lowest point since 2019.
“Fundamentals, though supportive of stronger prices, do not justify this frenzy,” Yao said. “It remains to be seen how this crisis ends. However, the market has long been faced with structural issues.”
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
As the world continues its transition towards a sustainable future, Australia has the potential to become a major player in clean energy and climate projects.
Sustainability is changing the course of multiple industries, with significant impacts on the investment sector.
Sustainable investing is the future — a means by which one can diversify their portfolio while also promoting positive societal and environmental impacts. This is arguably most evident in the energy and carbon markets.
"We're really in the middle of a low-carbon transition right now," said Adeline Aw, vice president of environmental sustainability at Singapore's Economic Development Board, according to a recent McKinsey podcast. "What's really important is to help finance and bring to life projects that can help us remove and to avoid carbon emissions."
The global push for sustainability
In 2018, scientists published a study in the peer-reviewed Earth System Dynamics, a scientific journal focused on climate change, geology and atmospheric science. According to that study, the world was fast approaching the point of no return for reversing global warming. Another report was published later that same year by the UN International Panel on Climate Change.
The second report has been the source of much confusion on the sustainability front. Many have grimly noted that it establishes 2030 as the point at which climate change is irreversible. What it actually says is that we need to significantly lower carbon emissions by that point — otherwise, we may be unable to stabilize the planet's warming.
This does not make the need for climate action any less urgent, nor does it undermine the importance of decarbonisation. It simply establishes a critical milestone for climate initiatives. That milestone has served as the bedrock for multiple countries as they lay out their environmental goals in both the short and long term.
Australia occupies a unique niche in that with respect to decarbonizing efforts. Although it was only responsible for roughly 1 percent of global carbon emissions in 2020, Australia is home to over 10 percent of the world's species. It’s also home to Daintree, the world's oldest known rainforest. Protecting the country's unique ecosystem, especially its forests, will be critical in the fight against climate change.
Australia has made great progress in this regard, and the country is currently on track to exceed its initial 2030 target for emissions reduction by up to 9 percent.
A closer look at Australia's climate change strategies
Australia has adopted what it refers to as a technology-led approach to emissions reduction. The country's Technology Investment Roadmap is foundational to this strategy, establishing a clear process for identifying, developing and deploying sustainable technology. Australia's investments are not solely domestic in nature either.
The country has also established low-emissions technology partnerships with several key global players, including South Korea, the UK, Germany, Japan and Singapore.
Australia has also established the Emissions Reduction Fund, the Safeguarding Crediting Mechanism and Climate Active initiative to incentivise decarbonisation and sustainability in both business and industry. Finally, it has defined comprehensive systems for emissions monitoring, reporting and accountability.
As some have noted, Australia could go even further than carbon neutrality with technology that already exists. It could achieve net-negative carbon, removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it creates. To that end, researchers at the Australian National University have created the ANU Below Zero Initiative, which sets the deadline for net-zero carbon emissions in 2025.
A net-negative approach to a sustainable future
Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) is one of the companies currently leading Australia's transition towards net-negative emissions.
Its flagship project, the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH), will produce nickel through a proprietary process that requires no tailings dams and discharges no liquids. TECH will also leverage waste mine gas from the Bowen Basin in its production process, helping offset a major contributor to Australian emissions. Finally, the company is exploring productive uses for the residue created from nickel production, primarily silica.
Recognized as a prescribed project by the Queensland government, the TECH project is expected to reduce net emissions by 14.9 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent for every kilogram of nickel produced, a total reduction of 238,000 tonnes annually. The independent sustainability consultant Minviro undertook these CO2 emissions calculations in an ISO-compliant lifecycle assessment.
Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) is another major player in the pursuit of Australia's net-zero goals.
The Sconi project, situated just 220 kilometres northwest of Townsville, aims to deliver the most sustainable, carbon-neutral-certified nickel and cobalt in the world. Australian Mines has placed its focus on developing an end-to-end production chain, including a 2 million tonne per annum ore processing plant. Expected to begin production in 2024, Sconi has a projected lifespan of over 30 years and will primarily supply materials to LG Energy Solution (KRX:373220).
As with TECH, Sconi has been identified by the Queensland government as a prescribed project.
Australia's second largest independent producer of oil and gas, Santos (ASX:STO) operates a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project known as Moomba, alongside partner Beach Energy (ASX:BPT). Developed to capture carbon produced by the nearby Moomba gas plant, the project will, upon completion, reduce Southern Australia's annual emissions by more than 7 percent. Captured carbon will be injected into depleted gas reservoirs via pipeline and is part of a plan to develop longer-term CCS capabilities in the region.
Finally, Anglo-Swiss mining and commodity company Glencore (LSE:GLEN) is currently developing its carbon transport and storage company project, which will capture emissions from a coal-fired power plant for storage in Queensland's Surat Basin. Speaking to Reuters, a Glencore spokesperson noted that if proven sustainable, the basin could hold "very sizable" volumes of carbon.
There are many carbon-focused projects in Australia across multiple industries and sectors, which together have the potential to greatly reduce the country's carbon emissions, while also providing compelling opportunities for sustainable investment.
This INNSpired article is sponsored by Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM). This INNSpired article provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Queensland Pacific Metals in order to help investors learn more about the company. Queensland Pacific Metals is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this INNSpired article.
This INNSpired article was written according to INN editorial standards to educate investors.
INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.
The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Queensland Pacific Metals and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.
Indonesia, the Philippines and Russia were the top nickel-producing countries in 2021. Interested in nickel investing? Find out which other nations made the list.
As the electric vehicle (EV) industry continues to boom, the future of nickel looks bright in the coming years, and activity in the world’s top nickel-producing countries could increase.
With demand for the commodity continuing to grow, companies and countries alike have been eager to jump on the production bandwagon.
Having said that, it’s worth keeping the top nickel-producing countries in mind. Here the Investing News Network presents the top nickel-producing countries of 2021, based on the latest data from the US Geological Survey.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Developing a Sustainable and High-Purity Battery Materials Refinery Project
The rapid growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry has created a strong demand for battery materials. The expected demand has been intensified by efforts from various governments to support decarbonization goals. A key element of the EV industry is nickel, which is a base metal that is mainly used in stainless steel. The nickel industry’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials have recently received considerable attention as well.
Still, the most pressing issues facing the nickel industry relate to the environment –– specifically carbon emissions and environmental footprint. Even though nickel supports the EV industry and thus the green economy, current production comes largely from Indonesia. The country is the largest producer of nickel and it does not have a net-zero plan by 2050. New High Pressure Acid Leach projects being constructed in Indonesia will also require tailings dams and effluent disposal, which will leave a significant environmental footprint. As a result, companies with prospective nickel and battery material projects with strong sustainability credentials may present an exciting opportunity for investors.
Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) is a company focused on developing its sustainable and high-purity battery materials refinery project in Townsville, Northern Queensland. The company’s fully-owned flagship Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” project will be a modern and sustainable producer of critical metals for the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle sector.
“We believe that the TECH Project can be a global leader in sustainable battery metal production, with our net-negative carbon emissions, zero liquids discharge and no requirement for a tailings dam. Methane emissions from coal mining in the Bowen Basin is one of Australia’s biggest contributors to carbon emissions. By working with our partners to capture the waste gas and utilise it at the TECH Project, we simultaneously reduce carbon emissions, whilst producing critical battery metals to enable the electrification of the automobile industry,” said Managing Director Dr Stephen Grocott in an interview with INN.
The company’s TECH project will process high-grade ore imported from New Caledonia to produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, high purity alumina and other by-products –– maximising the value of the underlying metals in the ore. In November 2021, an ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment was completed by Minviro Ltd. The assessment highlights the TECH Project as not only net-zero carbon but significantly net Carbon Negative. The Life Cycle Assessment calculated that in steady state operation, the TECH Project will reduce carbon emissions by 238,000 tonnes per annum, the equivalent of 52,000 typical
Queensland Pacific Metals is committed to environmentally sustainable production. The company has entered into an MOU signed with Transition Energy Corp. to commission the supply of waste gas that will be used to fuel the TECH project. The company has also entered into an MOU with North Queensland Gas Pipelines for the transport of the fuel.
In June 2021, Queensland Pacific Metals formed strategic partnerships with LG Energy Solution and POSCO to significantly advance its project. LG is the world’s largest battery manufacturer and this partnership represented their first investment in their nickel supply chain. POSCO is one of Korea’s biggest conglomerates and one of the largest steel producers in the world that is seeking to diversify its assets. POSCO recently purchased 30 percent of a significant nickel project from First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSE:FM) called Ravensthorpe. The partnership involved an equity investment of US$15M by LG and POSCO in Queensland Pacific Metals, resulting in the companies becoming shareholders with respective ownership interests of 6.4 percent and 2.8 percent. As part of the partnership, the company also entered into a binding offtake agreement with LG and POSCO for almost two thirds of its nickel and cobalt production.
The company’s 290-hectare TECH project is strategically positioned 40 kilometers south of Townsville in the Lansdown eco-industrial precinct. The precinct is anticipated to become Northern Australia’s first environmentally-sustainable advanced manufacturing, processing and technology hub. Ore will be imported from New Caledonia, unloaded at the Port of Townsville and transported by road to Lansdown. QPM products will then be transported back to the Port for export to global customers.
Queensland Pacific Metals’ TECH project is well supported by all levels of government. At a State level, the TECH Project has been awarded Prescribed Project status by the Queensland Government, making it a project of state significance.
QPM is currently completing a Definitive Feasibility Study for the TECH Project, which is expected to be completed mid 2022. Subject to financing and approvals, construction could start later this year with first production in 2024.
- Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) is developing its sustainable and high-purity battery materials refinery project in Townsville, Northern Queensland.
- The company’s fully-owned flagship Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” project will produce critical battery metals, including nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, high purity alumina and other by-products.
- Queensland Pacific Metals’ TECH project has a minimal environmental footprint with zero liquids discharge and no requirement for a tailings dam. The project will also be net carbon-negative according to an ISO-compliant life cycle assessment.
- The company has strategic partnerships in place with LG Energy Solution and POSCO with each party obtaining shareholder status in Queensland Pacific Metals and having signed binding offtake agreements for nickel and cobalt.
- Queensland Pacific Metal’s TECH project is strategically positioned in the Lansdown eco-industrial precinct that is anticipated to become Northern Australia’s first environmentally-sustainable advanced manufacturing, processing and technology hub.
Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” Project
The Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” project is located in the Lansdown eco-industrial precinct in Northern Queensland. The 290-hectare project has access to skilled labor, engineering services and infrastructure including port, rail, water pipeline, gas pipeline, electric transmission, fiber optic communications and solar arrays.
The company’s TECH project will process high-grade ore imported from New Caledonia to produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, high purity alumina and other by-products –– ultimately resulting in almost zero-waste products for the first time in the world. New Caledonia hosts many ore supply partners with long-established mining operations. The ore would be transported by road or rail and unloaded at the Port of Townsville. The TECH project proposes to use a patented technology called DNi Process™ to process the ore in a processing plant.
Dr. Stephen Grocott - Managing Director and CEO
Dr. Stephen Grocott is an accomplished executive in the mining and mineral processing sector with nearly 40 years of international experience. Dr. Grocott was the chief technical development officer at Clean TeQ Holdings Limited in which he was accountable for all technical and process development. He also supported technical marketing, due diligence and project funding for the A$2B Sunrise Ni-Co-Sc Project in NSW. Dr. Grocott’s exposure to EV and battery producers combined with his world-class expertise in process and development for minerals processing and battery chemicals will underpin the progress of the company
Duane Woodbury - Chief Financial Officer
Duane Woodbury has more than 25 years of experience in listed equity markets. His experience includes involvement with many organizations in Australia and overseas. Woodbury has worked with Macquarie Bank. He has also worked with Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. as CFO. His most recent role was CFO at Metro Mining Ltd. where he successfully procured all funding required to construct the Bauxite Hills mine. At Metro Mining Ltd., he also secured a loan from Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund expansion initiatives. During his career, Woodbury has managed large debt and equity raisings for development and operating companies primarily in the resources sector.
Barry Sanders - Project Director
Mr Sanders has over 30 years’ experience, including 20+ years in leadership and strategy roles involving the delivery of complex industrial, power, mining and oil & gas projects throughout the Asia Pacific region. Barry is highly regarded by industry and peers for exemplary leadership across construction, commissioning and project delivery with roles at GE, John Holland, Thiess, Jacobs and Clough.
Corinne Bufnoir - General Manager New Caledonia
Mrs. Bufnoir is a geologist engineer with 20+ years’ experience in the nickel industry. Corinne has had a public-private career in areas related to strategy and resource management in lateritic nickel mining operations and has strong New Caledonian relationships and ore supply chain operating experience. Corinne's most recent role was mining counsellor to President of the New Caledonia Government. Corinne has worked for a range of New Caledonian and international organisations including country manager for Transamine Trading SA and Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd. Previously, she held senior roles with the New Caledonian Department of Industry, Mines & Energy and Goro Nickel New Caledonia
Cyprium Metals Limited (ASX: CYM) (“Cyprium” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce further assay results from 28 RC holes (for 7,504m) of the Nifty West drilling program. The drilling programme targeted a lightly drilled area, up-plunge of the former underground mine in the keel area of the Nifty Syncline, below the western end of the Nifty open pit (refer to Figure 1).
- Assay results have been received from a further 28 RC holes drilled at Nifty West, targeting lightly tested areas of copper mineralisation below the former Nifty open pit.
- Confirms continuation of significant copper mineralisation in the keel zone to the west at 80- 100m thick, enhancing a potential large-scale open pit development.
- Significant results include:
Hole 21NRWP018 - 86m @0.57% Cu downhole zone of copper mineralisation including:
- 8m at 0.49% Cu from 170m including:
- 1m at 1.09% Cu from 176m, and
- 9m at 0.81% Cu from 181m including:
- 2m at 1.23% Cu from 182m & 2m at 1.05% Cu from 187m, and
- 18m at 0.96% Cu from 196m including:
- 1m at 2.03% Cu from 197m & 3m at 1.85% Cu from 202m & 1m at 1.36% Cu
from 207m & 2m at 1.29% Cu from 209m, and
- 10m at 0.76% Cu from 215m including:
- 1m at 1.00% Cu from 217m & 1m at 1.41% Cu from 223m, and
- 3m at 1.09% Cu from 226m including:
- 1m at 1.62% Cu from 226m, and
- 12m at 0.52% Cu from 244m including:
- 1m at 2.21% Cu from 245m
Hole 21NRWP020 - 97m @0.47% Cu downhole zone of copper mineralisation including:
- 7m at 0.58% Cu from 153m including:
- 1m at 1.02% Cu from 156m, and
- 5m at 0.60% Cu from 169m including:
- 1m at 1.12% Cu from 170m, and
- 6m at 0.91% Cu from 179m including:
- 3m at 1.30% Cu from 180m, and
- 5m at 0.54% Cu from 187m including:
- 1m at 1.02% Cu from 190m, and
- 15m at 0.70% Cu from 201m including:
- 2m at 1.49% Cu from 207m & 1m at 1.19% Cu from 215m, and
- 4m at 0.75% Cu from 222m including:
- 1m at 1.78% Cu from 223m, and
- 7m at 1.90% Cu from 235m including:
Managing Director Barry Cahill commented:
“We have been very pleased with the drilling results received to date. These assay results continue to confirm the presence of a substantial zone of copper mineralisation which is up-plunge of the former underground mine. We continue to be excited about the receipt of the results of balance of the outstanding assays. It is not often that you have the privilege of getting these widths of mineralisation beneath an existing shallow open pit. The assays will be included in an updated mineral resource estimate that we look forward to releasing during the first half of this year.”
This article includes content from Cyprium Metals, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.
Successful in-fill drilling continues to de-risk the Project by increasing confidence in the shallow open pit mineralisation that will underpin early payback of the planned mining operation
Centaurus Metals (ASX Code: CTM) is pleased to report outstanding new results from ongoing resource development drilling at its 100%-owned Jaguar Nickel Sulphide Project in the Carajás Mineral Province of northern Brazil. The results are expected to further increase confidence in the Mineral Resource before delivery of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and initial Ore Reserve estimate due by the end of calendar 2022.
- Significant shallow results received from ongoing in-fill drilling at the Jaguar Central (JC), Jaguar South (JS) and Jaguar Northeast (JNE) deposits, demonstrating the continuity of the mineralisation within the current Mineral Resource model. New assay results include:
- 46.0m at 2.17% Ni from 128.0m including 23.2m at 2.82% Ni from 148.0m in JAG-DD-22-274 (JC)
- 49.3m at 1.20% Ni from 31.9m including 13.2m at 2.37% Ni from 53.5m in JAG-DD-22-262 (JC)
- 38.3m at 1.16% Ni from 87.7m in JAG-DD-22-246 (JS)
- 15.2m at 2.12% Ni from 187.8m including 2.6m at 9.14% Ni from 200.4m in JAG-DD-22-260 (JS)
- 33.3m at 0.89% Ni from 136.3m in JAG-DD-22-282 (JC)
- 26.9m at 0.93% Ni from 91.6m in JAG-DD-22-265 (JC)
- 22.5m at 1.01% Ni from 116.5m including 6.0m at 2.29% Ni from 133.0m in JAG-DD-22-272 (JC)
- 15.0m at 1.42% Ni from 122.0m including 5.5m at 2.82% Ni from 126.0m in JAG-DD-22-260 (JS)
- 20.3m at 0.93% Ni from 62.5m in JAG-DD-22-265 (JC)
- 13.1m at 1.40% Ni from 116.2m in JAG-DD-22-271 (JS)
- 14.9m at 1.22% Ni from 90.4m in JAG-DD-22-277 (JS)
- 9.3m at 1.51% Ni from 183.5m including 3.5m at 2.86% Ni from 183.5m in JAG-DD-22-282 (JC)
- 14.0m at 0.86% Ni from 40.2m in JAG-DD-22-259 (JS)
- 13.2m at 0.94% Ni from 162.0m in JAG-DD-22-260 (JS)
- 12.6m at 1.05% Ni from 28.4m in JAG-DD-22-265 (JC)
- 11.7m at 0.93% Ni from 88.0m in JAG-DD-22-259 (JS)
- The Jaguar December 2021 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), comprising 80.6Mt @ 0.91% Ni for 730,700 tonnes of contained nickel, is already one of the largest nickel sulphide resources held by an ASX-listed company and the largest outside of the majors.
- The next Mineral Resource update scheduled for Q3 2022 will underpin the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and the Project’s first Ore Reserve estimate.
- There are currently 15 rigs on site (13 diamond and two RC) drilling double-shift with the drilling currently focused on upgrading as much of the MRE into the Measured and Indicated categories as possible.
- Centaurus is well-funded with cash reserves of approximately $65 million.
The resource definition drilling program currently underway is expected to upgrade more of the Jaguar MRE into the Measured and Indicated categories in advance of Ore Reserve estimation as part of the DFS.
Centaurus’ Managing Director, Mr Darren Gordon, said: “We are extremely pleased with how the resource definition drilling program is progressing, with the ongoing drilling continuing to de-risk the project by demonstrating the continuity of the mineralisation within the cornerstone Jaguar deposits.
“Seeing high-grade, shallow intersections like 46.0m at 2.17% Ni within a constrained US$22,000/t nickel price pit shell gives us a lot of confidence that the early stages of a future mining operation at Jaguar can support robust capital payback on the project.
“The target pit we are using for the in-fill drilling has expanded considerably since the Scoping Study was delivered, and this has resulted in most of the diamond rigs on site now being swung onto in-fill drilling so we can deliver the planned MRE upgrade by the end of Q3 2022. This updated MRE will, in turn, underpin the initial Ore Reserve for the DFS.
“In-fill drilling is a clear focus of our drilling effort right now. We expect a steady flow of results from this work over the next couple of months as reflected in the number of drill holes currently in the laboratory for assay. We currently have a total of 15 rigs operating on-site, with two rigs currently continuing to focus on resource growth step-out drilling and the balance currently dedicated to in-fill drilling. Once the MRE upgrade is complete, we will swing most of the rigs back to resource growth and discovery drilling.”
Resource Development In-fill Drilling
The December 2021 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) comprised 80.6Mt @ 0.91% Ni for 730,700t of contained nickel (Table 2), with an Indicated component of the Resource being 43.4Mt @ 0.92% Ni for 397,000t of contained nickel, representing 54% of the Global MRE. The total MRE at Jaguar has increased by 30% since the Scoping Study Resource Estimate was announced in March 2021 and more than 40% since the Company’s maiden Resource was announced in June 2020 (Figure 1).
The focus of drilling during the first half of 2022 has shifted to resource development in-fill drilling at all of the Jaguar Deposits. In-fill drilling is designed to upgrade all resources within a constrained US$22,000/t nickel price pit shell limit into the Measured and Indicated categories.
The US$22,000/t pit shell limit is considerably bigger than the shell used for the Scoping Study, which was generated using a US$13,800/t nickel price. The Company is targeting more than 500,000t of contained nickel in the Measured and Indicated categories of the next MRE based on the extensive in-fill drill currently being undertaken and the MRE already in place.
Figure 1 – The Jaguar JORC Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) Growth
This article includes content from Centaurus Metals (ASX Code: CTM), licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.
Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans said, “Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain and we think we're going to play a critical role in that.”
Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans: Sustainable Hardrock Lithium Opportunities in Quebec youtu.be
Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) CEO Chris Evans joined the Investing News Network to discuss the company and its Cancet lithium project in Quebec, Canada.
"We listed on the ASX on November 30, 2021," he explained. "We're lithium focused but based in Canada, and we've been pretty successful in the last six months — our share price has done well. I think I've been putting this down to the success factors which we possess as a company, including the fact that we're into lithium at a moment with high demand. Any mining company that's associated with lithium has tended to do well.
“Our assets are in Quebec, a fantastic mining jurisdiction for all sorts of reasons. Also, being listed on the ASX — Australian investors tend to like early stage plays a bit better. They've certainly woken up to the electric vehicle and lithium revolution that's occurring in the world. And it's a pleasure having the assets in Canada.”
Next, Evans got into specifics about the company's flagship project. “The Cancet project is our flagship, in the James Bay region of Quebec. All our projects are hard-rock lithium; that's digging the rocks out of the ground and concentrating the lithium in them. Then it gets converted into the final product, which is lithium carbonate or hydroxide, that then goes into electric vehicle batteries,” he explained.
“Cancet’s had about 5,500 metres of drilling done on it historically, so we know that there's a great deposit of lithium at fantastic grades. It outcrops on the surface, the lithium-containing spodumene from the pegmatite rock, where we have 3.7 percent lithium oxide over a 17 metre interval from the surface at our most successful drill hole. We just completed 2,000 metres of drilling ourselves, increasing our knowledge of the orebody that's there, and also looking for extensions to the orebody. We've got 395 claims, and our drilling and exploration is only over about 15 of the claims. So we've got a lot further to look here and a lot more to develop.”
As for supply location, and the company's relationship with the international market, Evans said, “We think it's fantastic for us, and our shareholders, that we have assets in Quebec. Roughly 50 percent of the world's hard-rock lithium comes from Australia, where it’s mined and concentrated. The problem is that final conversion into lithium carbonate or hydroxide all occurs at the moment in China ... lithium is on the critical minerals list in Canada, the US and Australia, and Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain. We think we're going to play a critical role in that.”
Elaborating on the sustainability industry that drives the battery revolution, he said, “(Nearly) all power in Quebec is generated by hydroelectricity and renewable forms of electricity. That’s very important, because the mining and concentration process for lithium products traditionally produces a large carbon footprint, because it's energy intensive. The EU, from 2024, has mandated that all batteries are labeled with the carbon footprint of all the materials that are contained within them. Then, by about 2026, there's specific targets that batteries have to meet in order to be sold in the EU. If you don't have a renewable source of energy to produce your lithium products that go into those batteries, it's going to severely restrict your markets — and that's another bonus for us being in Quebec.”
Evans said that Winsome Resources’ approach is to develop a mine itself, rather than selling or partnering. “We will approach this as if we are going to be developing the Cancet project, and producing lithium ourselves, in four or so years. And I think that'll best serve our shareholders.” With regards to other ways the company could benefit investors, Evans said, “Being listed on the ASX, and having access to a lot of capital, I think there's a great opportunity for us to acquire other projects in Canada. We're about to start our summer exploration. And we're on the lookout for a new project. So I think the good news is really to come.”
Watch the full interview of Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans above.
Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Winsome Resources in order to help investors learn more about the company. Winsome Resources is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.
INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.
The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Winsome Resources and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.
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Where are the silver mines in Australia? You might be surprised to learn that the country is home to one of the world’s top primary silver producers.
Mining is a big part of Australia’s history, and it continues to shape the country’s economy and position in the world today. The nation is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of resources, with coal, uranium, copper and gold being some of its best-known commodities.
Australia is also a key producer of silver — it was the world’s fifth-largest producer of the metal in 2021, tied with Russia, putting out 1,300 MT. Interestingly, most of Australia's silver is produced from silver-bearing galena, but some is also produced from copper and gold mining.
Refined silver comes mainly from the Port Pirie lead smelter and refinery in South Australia, though silver is also refined at gold refineries in Perth, Kalgoorlie and Melbourne.
But where are the silver mines in Australia, exactly? While it’s interesting to know what types of deposits the precious metal is found in, many investors want to know what companies are producing silver and where their mines are located geographically. Read on to find the answers to those questions.
Where are the silver mines in Australia?
Silver has played a role in Australia since the mid-1800s — Wheal Gawler, Australia’s first metal mine, was a silver-lead mine developed in South Australia in the 1840s. And that’s not Australia’s only early silver-mining operation — the Broken Hill deposit in New South Wales and the Mount Isa deposit in Queensland are two other early Australian silver discoveries.
Broken Hill, a lead-zinc-silver deposit, was discovered in 1883 by German immigrant Charles Rasp, and the Broken Hill Proprietary Company was born in 1885; it ultimately merged in 2001 with another mining giant, Billiton, to form BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT). BHP Billiton is no longer involved with Broken Hill, but ore is still being extracted there today. Perilya now runs the southern and northern operations.
For its part, Mount Isa was discovered in 1923 by John Campbell Miles, and like Broken Hill is still producing today. It was acquired by Glencore (LSE:GLEN) in 2013 and in addition to silver is also a producer of zinc.
These major early Australian silver discoveries are not the country’s only sources of silver. Other silver mines in Australia include Cannington, one of the world’s top primary silver producers. It’s a fly-in, fly-out mining and processing operation that is owned by South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32), a diversified resource company spun out from BHP Billiton in 2015. Cannington also produces lead and zinc.
Australia holds the McArthur River mine as well, which opened in 1995 and is owned by Glencore subsidiary McArthur River Mining. The mine is one of the world’s largest zinc-lead-silver mines, and is located in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Glencore’s 2021 annual report claims total silver production reached 31.519 million ounces for the year, representing a 4 percent drop from 2020. That includes 625,000 ounces from McArthur River.
The Century mine, which previously belonged to MMG (HKEX:1208), shut its doors at the end of 2015, but was a major producer of zinc (and silver) until that time. It was reopened in mid-2018 by New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) and the company says it now has an estimated annual production capacity of 264,000 tonnes of zinc and 3 million ounces of silver.
Independence Group (ASX:IGO) also produces silver, along with copper and zinc, at its Jaguar operation in Western Australia. Gold producer Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) owns some projects with silver reserves as well. As you can see, there are and have been many silver mines in Australia.
Future silver mines in Australia?
In addition to being home to a slew of large silver mines, Australia also plays host to many companies that are exploring and developing silver projects. Below are a few that have made recent progress.
Please let us know in the comments if we’ve forgotten to mention any Australia-focused silver companies. All companies listed had market caps of at least AU$5 million on May 19, 2022.
Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) — Argent Minerals’ main asset is its 100-percent-owned Kempfield polymetallic project in New South Wales. In May 2018, the company announced an updated resource estimate for the asset — its silver equivalent contained metal now stands at an estimated 100 million silver equivalent ounces at 120 g/t silver equivalent; that’s approximately double the previous estimate.
In total the company has three projects, with all of them being in New South Wales.
Investigator Resources (ASX:IVR) — Investigator Resources is advancing silver, copper and gold deposits in South Australia. Currently its properties include the Peterlumbo/Paris silver project, the Eyre Peninsula and Stuart Shelf projects and the Northern Yorke Peninsula projects.
The total resource for Paris stands at an estimated 18.8 million tonnes at 88 g/t silver and 0.52 percent lead for 53.1 million ounces of contained silver and 97,600 tonnes of contained lead (at a cut off of 30 g/t silver). The indicated component is 12.7 million tonnes of silver (95 g/t) and represents 73 percent of the total estimated resource ounces.
Horizon Minerals (ASX:HRZ) — Horizon Minerals owns the Nimbus silver-zinc project in Western Australia. Nimbus has a high-grade silver-zinc resource estimate of 255,898 tonnes at 773 g/t silver and 13 percent zinc; the total Nimbus resource stands at 1.21 million tonnes at 52 g/t silver, 0.9 percent zinc and 0.2 g/t gold.
Silver Mines (ASX:SVL) bills itself as a leading Australian silver exploration company, and has spent a considerable amount of time acquiring Australian silver projects. Those include Malachite Resources’ (ASX:MAR) Conrad project and Kingsgate Consolidated’s (ASX:KCN) Bowdens silver project.
While the company’s main focus has been on the Webbs silver project in New South Wales, the Bowdens project represents the largest undeveloped silver project in Australia, and Silver Mines is working to get the project through the feasibility, environmental impact statement and permitting stages.
In a 2018 report, the feasibility study demonstrated an average silver production of 3.4 million tonnes per annum for the project, with 5.4 million during the first three years of operation. Estimations also included 6,900 tonnes of zinc and 5,100 tonnes of lead.
This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2018.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Ryan Sero, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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