Tertiary Minerals: New fluorspar estimate confirms MB project’s world class potentialWednesday, February 13th, 2013
Wardell Armstrong International, the company’s consultant, estimates that the project hosts between 85 and 105 mln tonnes of mineralisation grading between 9 and 11% fluorspar.
The report suggests potential for at least 8 mln tonnes of contained fluorspar, Tertiary said, and that is double the amount of fluorspar resources at the group’s two Scandinavian projects combined.
In addition, WAI says the project was part of a larger mineralised system, and it estimates this exploration target has between 395 and 615 mln tonnes at grades of 5 to 7% fluorspar.
Chairman Patrick Cheetham says he was already ‘very familiar’ with the historic data before commissioning the WAI report so the validating estimates have lived up to his expectations for the project’s potential.
“It is nice to see [our expectations] confirmed. The higher grade estimate is in line with our grade target for the project,” Cheetham said on a call with Proactive Investors.
“But, what has exceeded expectations is the overall size of the mineralised system.
Importantly, Cheetham points out that the estimate for the ‘higher grade area’ is based on the results of shallow drilling and that mineralisation remains open at depth.
So there is still potential for further resource upside from future drilling.
“[The estimate] is a significant milestone. It scopes out the system and it will help us to focus on where we do our first drill programmes and it will help us decide how we’ll focus our efforts in the broader mineralised system.”
WAI has recommended a staged drill programme to upgrade these estimates into JORC compliant mineral resources.
Cheetham says it is as too early to say how much drilling Tertiary will initially commit to, but the company is currently consulting with WAI about their recommendations.
However, Cheetham says the drilling is likely to focus on specific areas of the ‘larger area’, targeting areas where the company believes it can find economic grades, its target is 10% fluorspar, and it will also test the depth and aerial extent of the ‘higher grading area’.
Once the plans are finalised Tertiary will have to secure permits for the programme. And Cheetham believes drill work could start by late spring.
While this first assessment of MB has shown the project to be at least twice the size of its two Scandinavian projects combined, Cheetham explains that the more advanced projects – Storuman in Sweden and Lassedalen in Norway – are by no means on the ‘back burner’.
“What we are really focused on is getting one of our projects into production as soon as possible.
The Scandinavian projects are still progressing as expected, Cheetham says, with Storuman at pre-feasibility level and a scoping study just completed for Lassedalen.
And Cheetham explains that all projects – including MB – will be progressed in parallel going forward.
“But, what MB does add is geographical diversity. The fluorspar market is geographically fragmented. The major producer of fluorspar is China, but the major consuming centres outside of China are Europe and North America.
“So we now have good exposure to both.”
Cheetham highlights that both are ‘practically import dependent’ markets, particularly the United States which considers fluorspar to be a strategic mineral and currently doesn’t have any significant production within its own boarders.
The MB project area spans 1,712 acres and it is located in Eureka County, in central Nevada, just 20 kilometres away from the town of Eureka, which is on Highway 50.
The WAI report was based on historic drill results, which comprise 108 holes over a period of 24 years – from 1960 to 1984.
According to Tertiary this is the first time all of the data has brought together into a comprehensive tonnage-grade estimate using ‘rigorous estimation methods.’