Archer updates magnesite project to latest JORC standards

Published at Apr 13, 2016, in Mining

Archer Exploration (ASX:AXE) has completed a comprehensive review of its Leigh Creek Magnesite Project in South Australia and formerly updated the Mount Hutton Central Resource up to the latest JORC 2012 standard. The news follows on from several recent developments at Leigh Creek for AXE, which recently completed a Project Study of Leigh Creek.

The Leigh Creek magnesite deposits were formerly owned by a succession of related companies including SAMAG, Pima Mining and Magnesium Development Limited and Magnesium International Limited.

The JORC 2012 Resource estimate comprises a new interpolation of the high quality drilling, chemical and metallurgical data from work in 1999-2001 (SAMAG) that led to the estimation of a JORC 1999 global Mineral Resource for Leigh Creek of 453 million tonnes @ 41.4 % MgO and new information generated by AXE between 2011-2016.

The upgrade was done as preparation for the development of the Leigh Creek Magnesite Project – a 540 sq. km. land tenure spanning several prospects. At the current time, Leigh Creek represents the world’s largest single magnesite resource, and it’s entirely owned by AXE.

The Mt Hutton deposit lies within 20km of the privately owned Leigh Creek to Port Augusta standard gauge rail line potentially providing an efficient supply chain. With a JORC Reserve of 7Mt, Mt Hutton alone could support a large magnesia operation (150,000tpa CCM) for over 20 years.

More about Magnesite

Magnesite is a mineral used for two primary applications.

The first is as feedstock in the production of dead-burned magnesia and for refractory brick use in lining furnaces in the steel industry and non-ferrous metal processing units.

The second use is for processing to caustic calcined magnesia which is used principally as a food supplement in agribusiness and in fertilisers as well for fillers in paints, paper and plastics. Raw magnesite is used for surface coatings, landscaping, ceramics and as a fire retardant.

Direct human use of Magnesite is limited to ‘Milk of Magnesia’ – a common cure for indigestion, upset stomachs and digestive ailments.

The reason why Magnesite could become a hot commodity over the coming years is because one of its derivatives – Magnesium Oxide (MgO) – is slowly but surely replacing Gypsum in wallboards and making buildings more fire resistant, mould-free, water resistant and cheaper to build.

Australia is by far the world’s most dominant producer claiming almost 60% of all global reserves currently available.

Climbing Mount Hutton

The Mt Hutton Central Project represents only part of the total Leigh Creek Magnesite Project which has a Mineral Resource of 434Mt @ 41.4% MgO.

Moving forward, AXE is determined to move Leigh Creek into production under the stewardship of recently appointed Non-Executive Director Paul Rix.

AXE has increasingly focused on its magnesite deposits at Leigh Creek in South Australia as a result of Alinta closing coal operations in the area. Last year Alinta confirmed it was moving away from its operations in Leigh Creek, leaving vital infrastructure behind. Alinta’s exit opened the door for AXE to engage in talks with SA government officials about utilising the infrastructure already in place.

Giddy about graphite

As an explorer, AXE is diversified in several resources. AXE is actively exploring for graphite, copper, gold and coal in addition to magnesite.

AXE currently holds a JORC Resource of 8.55 million tonnes @ 9% graphite content for 770,800 tonnes of contained graphite – the largest JORC resource in Australia.

Campoona is thought to be the most advanced graphite play for AXE, with plans for a 10,000 tonne per year processing centre at Sugarloaf on the horizon.

Graphite demand is expected to rise alongside the growing popularity of lithium-ion batteries and energy storage solutions such as domestic power and electric cars.

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