Mindax (ASX:MDX) has started the second phase drilling at its flagship Mt Forrest Iron project in Western Australia, in a move to increase both the mining output and project life by increasing the iron inventory.
Mindax's Mt Forrest project is going through feasibility with a view to mining at the end of 2014.
The second phase of the field program envisions 4,000 metres of drilling and drilling contractors Westdrill has mobilised to site.
The current work will involve definition of the three detrital areas identified in phase one drilling earlier this January; testing for the presence of more detrital iron mineralisation from surface gravity survey done this March; and a small drill program targeting the regolith iron mineralisation.
The work is part of the company's effort to optimise the previously completed direct shipping ore regolith scoping study.
With the new program underway, Mindax is looking to increase both the project life and output by increasing the resource base.
Mindax's managing director and chief executive officer, Steve Ward said,"Mt Forrest is our flagship project and has considerable potential. We are pleased to be able to begin our second phase of drilling for 2013. This is a key component of our work program as we drive the project forward".
The drilling is expected to be completed in four weeks.
Mindax had completed the first phase of scout reverse circulation drilling in January 2013, which identified three new detrital iron areas that host a continuous bed of iron mineralisation.
The drilling was part of up to 6,000 metres of drilling 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 present as large flat bodies and has the potential to quickly add to the projects iron resources.
The first phase drilling comprised 124 holes for a total of 1,771 metres with the scout drilling intersecting up to 4 smaller areas indicating beds, up to 36 metres thick of iron mineralisation either outcropping at surface or buried below alluvial ferruginous gravel and clays.
The iron rich detrital material intersected in the drilling returned encouraging and similar grades as reported in the regolith mineral resource and dead assays up 57.4% Fe were returned from the coarse fraction.
A surface gravity geophysical survey done this March also helped identify further exploration targets including extensions of present mineralisation.
With the second phase of drilling already underway, Mindax is on the path to potentially expand its resource base as well as extend the mine life at the Mt Forrest project, which currently has a resource of 1.7 billion tonnes at 31.8% iron.
The drilling also bolsters its proposed partnership with Hong Kong-based Perpetual Mining that could see the latter acquiring up to a 51% interest in the 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 speed up the development of the Mindax's flagship project.
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