Ventnor Resources (ASX: VRX) has fulfilled all conditions required for the grant of a Mining Lease and associated licences for its Thaduna/Green Dragon Copper Project in Western Australia after reaching a Native Title Agreement.
The agreement signed with the Yugunga-Nya People is the last condition precedent required to allow the granting of the lease and Miscellaneous Licence applications over the project area.
"We at Ventnor extend our appreciation to the Yugunga-Nya People for the goodwill they have exhibited throughout our negotiations that have culminated in this important agreement.
"This agreement has been reached in four months since our original meeting, demonstrating the spirit of cooperation on both sides. Ventnor looks forward to working with the group in the future."
The agreement provides significant financial benefits to the Yugunga-Nya People as well as provision for potential community development activities and commercial opportunities when Thaduna/Green Dragon is developed.
A Scoping Study completed in February confirmed the economic and technical viability of the Thaduna/Green Dragon Copper Project.
This delivered attractive economics for project, confirming the viability of an underground extension to the initial open cut operation.
Initially, mining would commence at two open cut operations - Thaduna and Green Dragon - followed by underground mining at Thaduna.
Key findings of the study include average production of 15,000 tonnes of contained copper per annum over a 10 year mine life, with high recoveries and concentrate value.
Capital expenditure is estimated at $70 million and the average operating expenditure is expected to be around $1.75 per pound.
First production is slated for the December quarter of 2014.
Ventnor is currently carrying out the Bankable Feasibility Study, which will focus on detailed mine planning, metallurgical testwork, processing options, confirmed contract rates and operating cost reduction initiatives.
Further deeper drilling is underway at Thaduna/Green Dragon and will be included as part of the BFS.
Ventnor's aim is to extend the current JORC Resource to between 175,000 and 200,000 tonnes of contained copper.
The Resource currently stands at 142,000 tonnes of contained copper and 945,000 ounces of contained silver.
Results for the BFS are expected in the September quarter 2013.
With the Native Title Agreement under its belt, Ventnor is another step ahead on its path towards developing Thaduna/Green Dragon.
The project already offers positive economics and the capacity to produce a high level of recovery, high grade concentrates and ultra-low impurities.
A positive BFS would add a value accretive milestone.
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