Tuesday, 18 December 2012 13:01
Venturex Resources has released results from the definitive feasibility study (DFS) of its 100 per cent owned Pilbara Copper-Zinc Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The DFS results have confirmed the potential for a robust project with an average payable metal production profile of 16,500tpa copper, 30,000tpa zinc and 200,000ozs pa of silver for at least 8.5 years.
This defines the Pilbara project as one of the largest emerging base and precious metals projects in Australia.
The project has a reported total mineral resource inventory of 26.37 Mt grading 1.2 per cent copper, 3.4 per cent zinc, 0.3 per cent lead and 18.9 g/t silver. The current DFS ore reserve estimate for the project has significantly increased to: 8.37 Mt at 1.8 per cent copper, 4.0 per cent zinc, 0.3 per cent silver, and 21.5g/t gold.
This confirms the decision to locate the project at Sulphur Springs with around 85 per cent of the DFS ore reserve being drawn from the Sulphur Springs deposit. The DFS provides for all operations to be totally focused at the Sulphur Springs deposit for the first 6.5 years of the project transitioning to a blended ore supply from the Whim Creek area in the later stages of the project.
The DFS incorporates only three of the six known mineral resources currently controlled by the company in the Pilbara region. The proximity of the recently acquired Kangaroo Caves resource provides an excellent brownfields exploration target and potential future ore supply for the processing hub at Sulphur Springs.
Preliminary modelling indicates that the additional resources could produce a potential project life in excess of 11 years at the currently planned throughput rate.
Total pre-production capital for the project is estimated at $279 million, which comprises: process plant and equipment ($110.7 million), infrastructure ($106.3 million), and mine development ($62 million).
The bulk of the pre-production capital is dedicated to the construction of a standalone 1Mtpa processing plant and all associated surface infrastructure at the Sulphur Springs site.
This amount includes a future provision for the installation of a lead recovery circuit in year 6 to coincide with the commencement of ore production from the Mons Cupri deposit. Construction time for the process plant and infrastructure is 15 months.
The mine development costs for the construction of the new underground mine and associated surface infrastructure at Sulphur Springs represents capitalised ore and waste development up to first concentrate production and is scheduled to commence 15 months prior to first concentrate production.
The company is evaluating a range of transport and logistics options to get its product to market. These options include a containerised “mine to ship solution” and are expected to be completed early in 2013, when more information will be provided to the market.”
“The DFS has confirmed the robust economics of a significant new copper-zinc operation centred in the mining heartland of the Pilbara region,” Venturex managing director Michael Mulroney said.
“The Pilbara Copper-Zinc Project is globally competitive against other forecast new sources of copper-zinc production with excellent cash costs and attractive capital intensity in an area with abundant mining and transport infrastructure.
“The growth in the Sulphur Springs ore reserve is an excellent result and there remains considerable additional value upside to the unlocked. The evaluation of Venturex’s other resources, particularly at the recently acquired Kangaroo Caves area, will provide long-term potential to further enhance the value of the Pilbata Copper-Zinc project, and extend the mine life of the project.
“We will be advancing permitting and financing options over the next six months.”
Venturex has commenced work on the project approvals and the financing strategy for the Pilbara Copper-Zinc Project. It is anticipated that the required WA Government approval documentation will be completed and submitted in late February 2013, with Government project approvals expected to be completed in mid to late 2013.
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