Image Resources (ASX: IMA) has completed wet testwork on a bulk sample taken from its Boonanarring mineral sands project in the North Perth Basin that shows two high quality Ilmenite fractions can be produced.
Preliminary indications are that one fraction (about 55% TiO2) would be suitable for sulphate pigment plant feed, while the higher grade fraction (about 59% TiO2) would be suitable for SR plant feed or other pigment feed applications.
Significantly, this has exceeded previous expectations of only making one Ilmenite grade suitable for sulphate plant feed, which broadens the potential customer base and potentially lifts the profitability profile for the project.
Test samples of ilmenite, rutile and zircon from Boonanarring are now being prepared for full analysis and packaging ready to be sent to potential customers for testing.
Resumption of drilling
Drilling restarted at Boonanarring on 13 January 2013.
Planned work through to early March will include hydrological testwork and exploration drilling to complete the resource estimation work along the full 12 kilometre strike length of the northern part of the mineralisation.
Environmental and heritage studies are also continuing together with other work related to land access.
Image continues to make good progress on other major aspects of the Feasibility Study, including:
- Assaying of samples from Block C at Boonanarring is continuing, and a resource upgrade to include Block C is scheduled for February 2013.
- Drilling of Block A is scheduled to begin later in January.
- Wet testwork on the Atlas bulk sample has begun at AML.
- Work is continuing to produce final product samples of ilmenite, rutile and zircon for customer testing.
- CSA Global has commenced the independent expert review of resources and mining aspects of the Feasibility Study.
- Hydrological testwork will begin later in January; and
- Environmental field studies are continuing.
The next steps will be completion of the additional resource estimates at Boonanarring, commencement of process design work and preparation of marketing samples from the Atlas project bulk sample.
The ability to produce two high quality ilmenite products from Boonanarring instead of just one is a significant result for Image.
It further strengthens the company's confidence in the potential to produce good quality ilmenite and zircon products.
More importantly, the result broadens the potential customer base and potentially lifts the profitability profile for the project.
The Boonanarring deposit has several major competitive advantages, including high in situ resource grades, good ilmenite and zircon products, established road and rail logistics, several multi user ports in the region, and proximity to existing mineral separation and SR plants.
The project already hosts a 10.5 million tonne JORC Measured and Indicated Resource, with resource upgrades expected to bring Boonanarring alone to 15 to 25 million tonnes depending on the cut-off grade used.
Image plans to construct a 3.3 million tonne per annum single mine and wet plant operation at Boonanarring with production to commence in 2014.
The company recently raised A$6.7 million on strong support from Singapore and Malaysia-based investors, as well as a new group of investors, demonstrating the international recognition the company's North Perth Basin Project is receiving.
Together with working capital, the funds exceed the current estimated costs for the Bankable Feasibility Study on the Boonanarring and Atlas mineral sands projects.
Image has a market cap. of $18 million, against a share price of $0.17.
The recent pullback in share price provides investors with the opportunity to gain exposure to a strategically located, high grade mineral sands project.
Proactive Investors Australia is the market leader in producing news, articles and research reports on ASX "Small and Mid-cap" stocks with distribution in Australia, UK, North America and Hong Kong / China.