RAMPING UP: Companies to Watch
“In my 20-years in mining and mine finance, I have rarely seen a base metal project in a top tier jurisdiction demonstrate the kind of economics as shown by the Abra Scoping Study,” said incoming Galena chief executive and managing director Alex Molyneux.
The ex-Paladin boss has substantial experience in major mine development, and represents a key element in Galena’s aggressive transition from explorer to major base metals producer in the next three years.
Galena’s high-grade Abra lead-silver-gold project in the Gascoyne region of WA – 100km from Degrussa’s Sandfire operation – represents one of the world’s largest undeveloped lead resources; and it just keeps getting bigger.
The June 2018 Scoping Study revealed an outstanding long life, high margin, low capex project.
This includes an initial 11 year life producing 91,000t lead and 450,000oz silver each year at full production.
Pre-production capex is estimated at $153m, with project payback from start of production of between one and one and a half years.
Galena is currently undertaking a Pre-Feasibility Study, due for completion in September.
Venturex Resources is another company who has tapped an experienced executive to spearhead its projects through feasibility and into development and production.
Managing director Ajanth Saverimutto, who took the reins in April this year, was most recently founder and managing director of Salt Lake Mining, but has also held senior roles with Unity Mining, BHP, and Freeport-Mc Moran.
Venturex’ cornerstone asset is the large scale, low cost, and long life Sulphur Springs copper-zinc-silver project near Port Hedland in WA, which it is aggressively advancing towards a development decision. A Definitive Feasibility Study is pending.
In 2017 Venturex estimated a pre-tax NPV of $338m at Sulphur Springs; but with zinc and copper prices enjoying a healthy boost since then, this economics of this project could be improved substantially. In July, diversified junior Havilah offloaded its small Portia gold mine for $14.7m to focus on its advanced copper-cobalt-gold plays in South Australia.
And these are standout projects, boasting the largest combined copper-cobalt-gold sulphide resources in Australia, as well as the second largest copper equivalent undeveloped resources in Australia (behind OZ Minerals).
Havilah’s next priority is the high-grade Mutooroo copper-cobalt deposit.
The company believes the project – which outcrops at surface, requires low start-up capex, and enjoys exploration upside – could be in production in two years.
Havilah is currently undertaking a $5 million work program at Mutooroo that covers exploration, a Prefeasibility Study and permitting.
But the company maker is Kalkaroo, which based on a 100mt ore reserve, is the largest undeveloped open pit copper-gold-cobalt deposit in Australia on a copper equivalent ore reserve basis.
Its 23,200t cobalt resource also makes the project the largest sulphide cobalt deposit underpinned by copper in Australia.
“What sets Havilah’s projects apart is that our projects work on copper alone,” Havilah chief executive Walter Richards told The Australian Mining Review in June.
“The cobalt therefore becomes a bonus that generates significant upside, without increasing the risk of the projects.”
And there’s good potential for additional resources, with Kalkaroo open in every direction.
Additional Prefeasibility work to optimise project economics is due for completion by the end of the year.
Galena’s Abra lead-silver-gold project represents one of the world’s largest undeveloped lead resources. Image:GalenaMining.