Thor Mining (LSE:THR) rose 3.9pc to 1.4p on Monday morning after revealing strong sampling results at what it expects to be the first of a series of satellite tungsten and copper deposits in Australia.

The first stage of exploration at Samarkand, one of thirteen known tungsten deposits within Thor’s Bonya project, revealed extensive tungsten mineralisation including high-grade zones. The business collected samples via a systematic sampling program carried out in December last year. This focused on trenches excavated across the deposit more than four decades ago.

Among the strongest intercepts were seven metres at 0.667pc tungsten oxide and three metres at 0.307pc tungsten oxide within trench one on the deposit. Meanwhile, trench two contained a three-metre intercept at 0.271pc tungsten oxide, and trench three offered a three-metre intercept holding 0.203pc of the compound. Thor added that the deposit outcrops at the surface for more than 500m and is open-ended.

Thor is 40pc owner and operator at Bonya alongside Australian resource firm Arafura Resources (ASX:ARU). A maiden resource estimate in Q4 last year gave Bonya a deposit of 230,000 tonnes containing 4,600 tonnes of copper. In Monday’s update, executive chairman Mick Billing said Samarkand the business now has ‘confirmed tangible evidence’ of additional extensive surface outcropping tungsten mineralisation at the project.

‘These initial results demonstrate proof of surface outcropping tungsten mineralisation extending in excess of 500 metres strike length at the Samarkand deposit,’ he added. ‘Current indications are that Bonya tungsten mineralisation is coarse grained and may be amenable to low cost pre-concentration by x-ray ore sorting and treatment at the Molyhil processing plant.’

Bonya is found within trucking distance of Thor’s flagship Molyhil mine project in the Northern Territory of Australia. With this in mind, Billing said the case for developing Molyhil would become ‘even more compelling’ if the success at Samarkand is replicated at Bonya’s numerous additional prospects.

Thor is currently completing traditional owner and regulatory clearance for a drill program at Bonya and hopes to be licenced to begin work by the end of this month.  It believes this will enhance its knowledge of the extent of mineralisation in the area.

Finally, Billing said Thor is continuing to carry out discussions and negotiations with potential offtake and investment partners at Molyhil. Molyhil is now substantially permitted and ready for construction as a result of Thor’s significant drilling and metallurgical testing work.

As it stands, the site contains a probable reserve of 3.5MMts at 0.29pc tungsten (10,200ts) and 0.12pc molybdenum (4,300ts). Last August, an updated definitive feasibility study for the site gave it an NPV(5) of A$101m, an internal rate of return of 59pc, an EBITDA of A$239m and a payback period of around 18 months.

In an update last week, Thor said these enhanced figures had attracted the interest of various potential partners. It hopes to finalise an acceptable arrangement over the near term.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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