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Recent announcements regarding the South Australian mineral and energy resources sectors

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This update covers the December 2017 period and is compiled from information publicly released by companies and Ministerial news releases.

Readers should refer to the latest information available on company websites, particularly in regard to making any forward investment decisions.

Previous industry news items have been archived:
Industry news archive 2017 ¦  Industry news archive 2016

Company news

Archer Exploration

More high-grade cobalt results have been returned from reconnaissance rock chip sampling at Archer Exploration’s Yarcowie project (ASX release 6 December 2017). The latest results confirm previous work where up to 0.94% Co was discovered (ASX release 8 November 2017) and suggest the mineralisation is more extensive than originally anticipated. Archer proposes to integrate the results with available geophysical data to identify additional targets.

Archer reached a milestone with the granting of the Campoona mineral lease to Pirie Resources Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Archer (ASX release 8 December 2017). The lease covers approximately 6 ha and includes the Campoona Shaft graphite deposit, one of several such advanced deposits within Archer’s broader Eyre Peninsula graphite project. The lease is accompanied by a miscellaneous purposes licence (MPL) for graphite and graphene processing infrastructure at nearby Sugarloaf (including treatment plant, site office, power station, workshop, water supply and tailings storage facility) and a second MPL for sourcing processing water from the nearby Pindari Borefield.

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Argonaut Resources

An airborne gravity survey will be flown over the large Torrens anomaly in January 2018 to better define the extent of dense bodies of rock within the broader gravity anomaly (ASX release 13 December 2017). Joint venture partners Argonaut Resources (30%) and Aeris Resources (70%) consider the high-density anomalies may represent iron oxide–copper–gold mineralisation that can be targeted for drilling.

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Boss Resources

Boss Resources has entered into a binding conditional agreement to acquire 100% of the shares in Wattle Mining Pty Ltd (ASX release 7 December 2017). Wattle holds the remaining 20% of the shares in Boss Energy Pty Ltd, the holding company for Boss Uranium Pty Ltd and the Honeymoon uranium project. Boss will have 100% ownership of the project on completion of the acquisition.

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Iluka Resources

The restart of Iluka Resources’ Jacinth-Ambrosia mineral sands mine will be completed by mid-December (The Advertiser 1 December 2017). More than 180 jobs are expected to be created following the restart, with the possibility of further expansion. Forty employees and 80 contractors have been recruited to date.

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Minotaur Exploration

Minotaur Exploration has completed four diamond drillholes testing electromagnetic targets along the Skylark Shear Zone, north of the Prominent Hill mine – Bellatrix East, Bellatrix Northeast, Nexus and Maverick (ASX release 15 December 2017). Assay results are expected in January 2018.

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Red Metal – OZ Minerals

The Punt Hill and Pernatty Lagoon copper–gold projects located near OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena deposit have been advanced with the execution of a binding heads of agreement between Red Metal and OZ Exploration, a wholly owned subsidiary of OZ Minerals (ASX release 21 December 2017). Red Metal noted that the entry of such a high-quality joint venture partner to fund the projects will provide new impetus, particularly with OZ Minerals’ strong commitment to regional exploration.

OZ Minerals will assist developing local level agreements with native title parties and landowners. Once access has been achieved they will have the right to earn 70% of the projects by spending $10 million on exploration within three and a half years. OZ Minerals has committed to a minimum work program of 6,000 m of drilling within the first year of achieving land access. OZ Minerals can vest 51% in the projects by spending $4 million of exploration within 18 months provided it then elects to move forward on the projects. Red Metal will maintain 30% of any mine discovered on the Punt Hill project and between 17 to 20% on the Pernatty Lagoon project which remains subject to the existing heads of agreement with Havilah Resources.

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Renascor Resources

The prefeasibility study for Renascor Resources’ Siviour graphite project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018 (ASX release 13 December 2018). An immediate large-scale production case as well as a low start-up capital, smaller-scale production case that would permit first production in 2019 are being considered.

The spherical graphite scoping study and mineral lease application remain on schedule. The scoping study is expected to be completed in December; the lease application is expected to be lodged by the second quarter of 2018.

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Senex Energy

Senex Energy has received $5.26 million through the South Australian Government’s second round of PACE Gas grants. The grant program was launched in late 2016 to help secure new and significant gas supplies for the state. The joint venture will match the government funding received to drill a conventional tight sands gas exploration/appraisal well in the Allunga Trough, southern Cooper Basin (ASX release 18 December 2017).

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WPG Resources

Further encouraging gold assays have been returned from the second fan of drillholes in WPG Resources’ phase 2 drilling program at Challenger Deeps (ASX release 6 December 2017). The holes were designed to target the M2 lode at the 95 m relative level, which is two levels or 40 m below the lowest production level at Challenger. Intercepts on the M2 and Animus lodes are:

  • 0.86 m (true width) at 14.07 grams per tonne (g/t) Au from 27.55 m downhole (17CUD2200)
  • 0.79 m (true width) at 20.05 g/t Au from 162.90 m (Animus; 17CUD2201)
  • 1.74 m (true width) at 6.77 g/t Au from 51.91 downhole (17CUD2202)
  • 1.25 m (true width) at 5.37 g/t Au from 28.00 m and 1.56 m (true width) at 5.32 g/t Au from 81.81 m downhole (17CUD2203)
  • 1.41 m (true width) at 18.62 g/t Au from 18.00 m and 2.86 m at 10.41 g/t Au from 23.00 m downhole (17CUD2204)
  • 0.60 m (true width) at 7.94 g/t Au from 31.36 m and 0.53 m at 6.66 g/t Au from 60.00 m downhole (17CUD2205)
  • 0.56 m (true width) at 5.92 g/t Au from 22.00 m downhole (17CUD2206).

Exciting results have also been returned from WPG’s initial exploration drilling program on the Tarcoola mining lease. A total of 54 drillholes were completed for a total depth of 2,284 m during September–October 2017. Assay results range from <0.005 to 67.68 g/t Au (ASX Release 8 December 2017). Best intercepts include:

  • 2 m (true width) at 39.90 g/t Au from 73 m (Morning Star prospect, MS004)
  • 4 m (true width) at 3.24 g/t Au from 57 m (Genie Bar prospect, GB002)
  • 2 m (true width) at 3.24 g/t Au from 7 m (Wondergraph prospect, WOG001)
  • 0. 5 m (true width) at 4.95 g/t Au from 54 m (White Hope prospect, (WH008)
  • 3 m (true width) at 1.28 g/t Au from 17 m (Daly’s Dream prospect, DAD004).

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Ministerial news releases

Commonwealth: Gas Acceleration Program Grant Guidelines released

Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia
20 December 2017

The Australian Government’s $26 million Gas Acceleration Program (GAP) will open to applications early in the new year, to further strengthen the East Coast gas market. GAP will provide matched funding grants of up to $6 million to accelerate the responsible development of onshore natural gas for domestic gas consumers. Projects with the greatest likelihood of securing new and significant volumes of gas for domestic gas customers from onshore gas fields by 30 June 2020 will be supported.

The grant round will be formally opened on 15 January 2018.

PACE Gas Round 2 to fund projects in Cooper and Otway basins

Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy
18 December 2017

Four projects are to be funded from the second round of PACE Gas, potentially leveraging more than $70 million in private investment to find new South Australian gas supplies. The successful PACE Gas Round 2 grant recipients are:

  • $6.89 million for Santos–Beach Cooper Basin project to deploy a heat-energy recovery system to offset natural gas used to run the Moomba petroleum processing plant
  • $5.26 million for the Senex Cooper Basin Gemba exploration/appraisal project
  • $6.89 million for the Beach – Cooper Energy Dombey project in the Otway Basin
  • $4.95 million for the Rawson–Vintage Nangwarry project in the Otway Basin.

Magnetite Strategy to more than double the number of iron ore mines in SA

Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy
8 December 2017

Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis has launched South Australia’s Magnetite Strategy, which aims to more than double the number of magnetite mines in the state in less than 15 years. Released to industry at the South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 8 December, the Magnetite Strategy seeks to attract the investment required to transform the state’s in-ground iron assets into high-volume products to supply energy efficient steelmakers.

Campoona mining project approved to produce ultra-pure graphite for batteries

Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy
8 December 2017

Archer Exploration has been granted approval for its Campoona graphite project, north of Cleve on the Eyre Peninsula. Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis made the announcement on the 8 December at the South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The project will create about 60 jobs during construction and about 35 ongoing positions. The proposed graphite project includes an open-cut mine and a mineral processing facility at nearby Sugarloaf to eventually produce up to 140,000 tonnes of graphite ore a year.

South Australia's mineral resource potential on show at Discovery Day

Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy
7 December 2017

South Australia’s mineral resource potential will be on show at Discovery Day at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 7 December. Industry representatives will be presented with a range of new and updated geological data revealing the prospectivity of the east, central, north, and far western areas of South Australia (Gawler Craton Airborne Survey; Curnamona Magnetotellurics; and Coompana Drilling Program).

Technical report books, posters and an abstracts volume will also be made available to attendees and published online.

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