AXE to get into the farming game

Published at Dec 9, 2015, in Mining

Archer Exploration (ASX:AXE) has confirmed that it will be swapping the hard hat for an Akubra, with final testing at Sugarloaf finding the carbon deposit there more suited to an agricultural project than a graphite play.

AXE had been testing mineralisation at Sugarloaf, one of its projects on the Eyre Peninsula, with the University of Adelaide since August with an eye toward identifying whether the mineralisation could be used as a soil improvement agent rather than being mined for graphite.

It told its shareholders today that further testing from the University had confirmed the graphite deposit at Sugarloaf was not quite mature enough for graphite mining, but did contain enough minerals to be used as a soil improver.

There’s still further testing to go from the University, but the latest round of results were enough for AXE to confirm that Sugarloaf will move to further soil conditioning and remediation focused testing.

“The final Sugarloaf test results support the possible development of Sugarloaf as a low cost source of potentially high value soil improvement and soil remediation products,” managing director Gerard Anderson said.

“A locally manufactured carbon based product could contribute to the economic success of Archer’s broader Eyre Peninsula graphite project.”

Diversifying

Known predominantly as a graphite explorer, AXE has been hard at work in recent times to diversify its commodity base, moving into carbon-based soil improvements and magnesia.

Last month AXE told shareholders that it would move to take advantage of the closure of the Leigh Creek coal field to breathe life into its magnesite project in the area.

A map showing Archer Exploration's projects

A map showing Archer Exploration’s projects

AXE had previously talked about ramping up its magnesite dreams, signing a heads of agreement with Leigh Creek Energy to “explore synergies” in getting AXE’s magnesite deposit up and running.

Better known as a graphite miner in South Australia, AXE now thinks the left over infrastructure from the Alinta closures provides an opportunity for it to get a “magnesia-based mining venture” up and running.

“Development of this valuable resource has previously been restricted by both the lack of infrastructure and the inability to access existing Leigh Creek coalfield infrastructure,” chairman Greg English said.

AXE also has copper and gold projects on the slate, but the main focus has been on its graphite play near Whyalla.

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