Alien Metals Ltd (AIM:UFO), a global minerals exploration and development company, is pleased to update the market on the Company’s progress regarding the Hancock Iron Ore Project and first production commencing in 2023.
Follow the link to view the announcement in full, including all figures:
· Metallurgical test work programme completed and flow sheet finalised
o Results further highlight the high-grade and low impurity nature of the Hancock deposit
· Due to the ratio of fines to lumps and low impurities of the DSO material at Hancock, Alien is in advanced discussions with potential offtake partners. These discussions have led to the delivery of marketing samples
· The Company is in preliminary discussions with a number of potential funding partners
o Alien has been presented with a range of funding options, both equity and debt, to ensure optimum financing structure and minimal dilution
· Engagement with key stakeholders during the development and mining stages has commenced
· Key approvals and permitting advancing on schedule, overseen by experienced consultants, Greenvalues
Bill Brodie Good, Chief Executive Officer & Technical Director of Alien Metals, commented: “The development aspects of the Hancock Iron Ore Project to be shovel ready for early 2023 are progressing very well. We are on track to have all the permitting in place, and will soon be in a position to commence mining next year. Additionally, in-depth discussions with third party contractors and potential offtake partners to enable us to get into production in 2023 are continuing”.
The Company continues to advance the Hancock Project towards being mine ready in early 2023. On 22 September 2021, the Company delivered a maiden JORC compliant inferred Mineral Resource Estimate at Hancock of 10.4Mt @ 60.4% Fe. The Company believes there is significant potential to grow the size of the DSO grade resource at Hancock (see announcement dated 30 March 2022), with three 1,400m+ long high grade targets on ridge F, and two targets on ridge G of 900m and 600m. In addition, there remains ~6.5 kilometres of additional ridges to test across the central and eastern areas of the project.
Table 1: Mineral Resource Statement, Hancock Iron Ore Project, Alien Metals, September 2021
Resource and Mine Planning
A 10cm vertical accuracy Digital Elevation Model (DEM) has been received along with a 5cm vertical accuracy photo imagery dataset of the central area of the tenement and the proposed haul road corridor. This provides the Company with detailed topography that is being incorporated into the resource update, as well as the technical planning and routing for the haul road. We expect this will aid in further exploration work as the detail in the imagery makes targeting high grade areas even more efficient.
Mining Plus Pty Ltd, in conjunction with IOCA’s Geologist and Competent Person, Howard Baker, are progressing an updated scoping study incorporating the Ridge C and E resources, including updated JORC compliant pit shell, to include the current phase 4 drilling programme and mine plan optimisation work.
The Company’s exploration team has re-mobilised to the site this month to conduct the Phase 4 drilling campaign that will both continue to increase the confidence and quantity of the existing JORC Resource whilst continuing to expand the potential of the project.
Howard Baker, IOCA’s Resource Geologist and Competent Person, completed a site visit in May 2022. Following the visit of Mr Baker and Alien’s CEO, the Company believes there is further potential across the Hancock Project. More detailed mapping will take place over the coming field season to further increase confidence in both the resources and the new drill targeting.
Metallurgical Test Work
The Company is pleased to advise that the initial bulk metallurgical test work conducted on the Hancock Project Ridge C, comprising 2.5 tonnes of excavated bulk material, has been used to add detail to the process flow sheet for the crushing and screening circuit designs once mining begins.
The test work was conducted using 2,563kg of bulk samples at the ALS laboratory in Perth. The test work’s success to date confirms the quality of the iron ore to be produced from the resource area.
The test work produced a high-grade ‘Fines’ product with a nominal 10% lump product yield. In terms of onsite processing, the vast majority of product will be fines, meaning minimal processing will be required, resulting in lower operating costs to prepare the product for shipment.
The final report is still awaited from ALS, but provisional results are highly encouraging, with the key 62% Fe grade from preliminary results being reported with associated low deleterious elements to confirm the excellent quality of the material.
Offtake, Marketing and Funding
The ALS NATA Certified laboratory has prepared marketing samples from the Bulk Sample of about 100Kg each, soon shipped to interested parties. This allows potential buyers and offtake partners to do their own technical due diligence on the product.
The Company is currently continuing discussions with several interested potential offtake partners to support the development of the Hancock Project, including options for funding to support the path to production and guaranteed purchase of the product for a set period.
Engagement with Key Stakeholders
IOCA’s development team continues to engage with all key stakeholders.
The Company continues to engage with the Pilbara Ports Authority for potential access to the Utah Point Public User Facility at Port Hedland, Western Australia. An initial meeting with the CEO of the Shire of East Pilbara to update them on the project and understand the support that IOCA could offer in the local community going forward recently took place. Alien will continue to keep these parties updated on the Company’s progress.
The Main Roads Department of Western Australia (MRWA) has recently approved the concept design for the intersection of the Hancock Project’s haul road and the Great Northern Highway. This is a significant step, being a key aspect for permitting to transport product to port. This is now significantly advanced, allowing IOCA to proceed to a final intersection design.
Early contractor engagement is continuing with civil construction, mining and haulage contractors to optimise the likely CAPEX and OPEX for the project and develop good working relationships with potential long-term partners. Due to the quality of the product and its relative proximity to the port in comparison to other projects in the area, the Company is receiving interest from several highly experienced and competitive contractors, and continues to discuss options that would suit the project development.
Pleasingly, provisional pricing from likely contracting partners continues to be in line with the Scoping Study assumptions from October 2021.
The Company notes that the road transport of bulk materials, such as Iron Ore and Manganese in this region to the Utah Point facility at Port Hedland, is already a tried and tested method. From recent discussions, the Company understands this will continue to be the case. This further reduces haulage risks of the product to market, as well as providing more competitive options for the haulage of the product to market.
Approvals and Permitting
Work continues on permitting and approvals, with the Company’s target to commence production and first ore stockpiling in early 2023.
All studies to support the permitting process are progressing well, including:
• The seasonal Flora and Fauna Studies
• Hydrogeological and Hydrological Study
• Soil and Waste Characterisation Studies
The Heritage Agreement has been lodged with the Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation (KNAC), the Native Title representative group for the Nyiyaparli People. The Company is progressing for heritage survey works to be completed in the next quarter.
An initial Mining Lease area within the tenement has been surveyed, and an application has been made. A Miscellaneous Licence application for the Haul Road corridor is being finalised, and an application is in preparation.
Planned activities from the IOCA development team during the September quarter include:
• Planned geotechnical ground assessment of access road and intersection
• Progress MRWA intersection design
• Water bore drilling
• Finalise crushing & screening plant flowsheet design and plant selection
• Finalise CAPEX and OPEX inputs, including pricing for intersection, haul road, mining, haulage and site establishment
• Secure offtake agreement and funding for early works
• Further resource drilling
• Upgrade JORC Resource, including maiden measured and/or indicated resources to support a maiden mining reserves
The Company looks forward to updating the market in the coming months on the progress of the Hancock Project and continues to be on track to be shovel ready in early 2023.
Figure 1: Location of Hancock Iron Ore Project, Western Australia
Figure 2: Location and results of rock chip sampling programme, Hancock Iron Ore Project, Western Australia, March 2022
Figure 3: Wide flat lying depression DSO potential on Ridge H, May 2022
Figure 4: Utah Point Public User Facility, Port Hedland, Western Australia
Figure 5: Typical ‘Quad’ Road Train for bulk haulage to Port Hedland
For further information please visit the Company’s website at www.alienmetals.uk, or contact:
Alien Metals Limited
Bill Brodie Good, CEO & Technical Director
Tel: +44 (0) 203 811 2144
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