During the March 2018 quarter, the Company announced its acquisition of the Darling Range Bauxite Project (Darling Range) located in the Darling Ranges northeast of Perth, Western Australia (ASX announcement 15th January 2018).
The Darling Range Project comprises two Exploration Licence Applications (ELA 70/5111 and 70/5112), which cover a total area of 405 km2 within the Darling Ranges, approximately 60 km northeast of Perth (Figure 1).
The Darling Range Project area hosts a JORC 2004 Inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 89.3Mt @ 41.75% total Al2O3 (aluminium oxide) and 4.43% reactive (soluble) SiO2 (silicon dioxide), inclusive of nine main resource areas over a strike of approximately 75km. See Table 1, below, for Resource details.
|Total Inferred Resource||89.3||41.75||28.51||4.43||19.21|
The tenements covering Darling Range were previously held by Pacific Bauxite (under its former name, Iron Mountain Mining (ASX:IRM)). The Company sold the Darling Range tenements to Chinese-backed private mineral resources investment company Alpha Bauxite Pty Ltd (Alpha) in 2012 (IRM ASX announcements, 6 March 2012 and 24 August 2012). Alpha subsequently surrendered its tenure in June 2017.
Given the Company’s previous exposure and understanding of the Darling Range Project area, it viewed the opportunity to acquire the asset as a highly attractive, low-cost entry point to a potentially high quality, advanced bauxite project with significant upside, in a major, established bauxite region.
The Darling Ranges host extensive bauxite resources and have a long history of exploration and mining. Production commenced in the region in the 1960’s and it currently hosts major bauxite mining operations including South 32’s Worsley Alumina and Alcoa.
Proposed Strategy and Activity
Upon the successful granting of the Exploration Licence Applications by the Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Pacific Bauxite plans to assess and review the JORC resource estimates, with a view to upgrading the Mineral Resource to JORC 2012 compliance as a priority. The Company will also plan fieldwork programs designed to define and expand the extent of the mineralised area within the Darling Range Project.
The Darling Range Project tenements are subject to multiple and varied land-use stakeholders. The Company will undertake an extensive review of any conflicting land-uses, access issues and infrastructure in its assessment of the Darling Range Project’s existing Mineral Resource prior to the commencement of any ground disturbing fieldwork.