RAMP­ING UP: Com­pa­nies to Watch

The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS - REUBEN ADAMS

“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.

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