Importantly, this iron rich material may potentially beneficiate up into a saleable product and has the potential to quickly add to the project's iron resources with thick historic intersections of up to 25 metres.
"The initial work in 2013 at Mt Forrest is certainly encouraging. We now look forward to building on this with our second planned drill program and metallurgical work," managing director Dr Steve Ward said.
The new areas were identified from the first phase of the company's Mt Forrest reverse circulation scout drilling program of 124 holes for 1,771 metres that was completed in January this year.
Most samples had grades above 40% according to XRF analysis with a peak grade of 56.8% reported.
Metallurgical testing of the detrital iron identified will now be undertaken while initial data from a surface gravity geophysical survey that was completed in March over detrital and scree covered locations has enabled further exploration targets to be identified.
This includes extensions of the present mineralisation that will be tested later this month and into May as a follow up second phase of drilling.
Final planning for the second phase of drilling is in progress. This will follow up on the initial drilling and gravity survey results.
Up to 6,000 metres of drilling has been envisaged to explore for detrital iron as part of the Proof of Concept for the optimised DSO Scoping Study. The detrital material is located off the ridges and is in the form of large flat bodies.
First Phase Drilling
The scout drilling intersected up to four smaller areas indicating beds, up to 36 metres thick of iron mineralisation either outcropping at surface or buried below alluvial ferruginous gravel and clays. Three of these areas (red) host continuous beds of iron mineralisation.
The iron rich detrital material intersected in the drilling has returned encouraging and similar grades as reported in the regolith mineral resource. Visually this material has large hematite and goethite clasts cemented in a clay matrix.
Head assays up 57.4% Fe (XRF iron assay - +2.8 millimetre coarse material) were returned from the coarse fraction. A 40% Fe cut-off grade has been used.
The detrital drilling and sampling protocol is designed to indicate whether dry screen beneficiation is applicable. Any sample interval logged as ferruginous detrital material in the field was screened into a coarse and fine daughter sample. The coarse material was plus 2.8 millimetre in size.
Both samples were sent to the laboratory for XRF analysis and their weights were recorded. The coarse samples returned generally higher grades than the fine samples as expected.
The composition and iron grades for the material exhibit similar characteristics to the regolith material located along the ridgelines. Successful metallurgical beneficiation of the regolith material has been performed, returning grades greater than 63% with mass recoveries greater than 70%.
Based on these similarities it is expected the iron rich detrital material will also be upgradeable by similar beneficiation methods.
Composite representative samples from key drill holes have been selected for bulk metallurgical testwork. These samples have been chosen on grade range and visual composition.
Lower grade composites have also been taken to test the beneficiation limits and a suitable lower cut-off grade for mineral resource estimation. The metallurgical testwork will be undertaken later this month.
With the encouraging results from the first phase drilling in hand, Mindax is building momentum for development of its flagship Mt Forrest Iron Project, which has a current Resource of 1.7 billion tonnes at 31.8% iron.
Notably, it has the potential to increase the scale of both mining output and project life.
This strengthens the case for the company's proposed partnership with Perpetual Mining that could see the Hong Kong company acquire up to a 51% interest in the Mt Forrest Project's direct shipping ore rights and up to 49% in the project's magnetite rights in return for spending up to $52 million to accelerate the development of Mt Forrest.
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