Thor Mining’s (LSE:THR) Pilot Mountain project in Nevada was thrust back into the spotlight on Monday after the firm revealed positive results from project drill samples including potentially economic levels of gold. Thor, which currently sits at 0.78p, conducted locked-cycle metallurgical testwork on 600kg of drill core grading 0.265pc tungsten trioxide from Pilot Mountain’s Desert Scheelite deposit. The work produced a scheelite concentrate considered saleable at a recovery of 73.57pc assaying over 68pc tungsten trioxide.

What’s more, the tailings produced from the testwork contained potentially economic levels of gold assayed at 0.33g/t along with other tungsten minerals not usually recovered using flotation. Thor will investigate whether these minerals, which include wolframite, have the potential for subsequent recovery.

Pilot Mountain is based 250km south-east of Reno and contains tungsten, copper, zinc, and silver skarn-style mineralisation at four primary locations. These are the Desert Scheelite, Garnet, Gunmetal, and Good Hope deposit. After extensive historical drilling, work by Thor has delivered JORC resources on two deposits. All-in-all, the asset boasts an inferred and indicated resource of 12.53Mt for 34,290ts titanium trioxide, 16,000ts copper, 207ts silver, and 40,300ts zinc.

A scoping study completed in September last year projected project life of mine EBITDA of $125m for Desert Scheelite alongside $30-35m of project capex, and a project payback period of 30 months. When Garnet and process enhancements are factored in, the project has a life of mine EBITDA of $202-370m, with the same capex and a shortened 12-18-month payback period.

On Monday, Thor’s executive chairman Mick Billing called the metallurgical results a ‘significant step forward’ for the business at Pilot Mountain: ‘The locked cycle testwork has demonstrated production of a high grade scheelite concentrate with good recoveries. We are following up the gold potential via extraction of sample pulps from previous testwork which will be re-assayed for gold. Significant potential exists for further enhancements to this work which may improve project economic outcomes.  Tungsten remains classified as a critical mineral in the USA, with no domestic tungsten production’.

Elsewhere, Billing said Thor continues to have a principal focus on securing off-take and finance agreements for its flagship Molyhil tungsten-molybdenum deposit in the Northern Territory of Australia. Molyhil is located 220 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs as the crow flies within the prospective polymetallic province of the Proterozoic Eastern Arunta Block.  Thor completed an updated Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the project back in August and is now focused on securing project finance to bring Molyhil into production.

The firm has been in advanced discussions with several potential partners regarding potential off-take, joint venture and debt financing arrangements.  The DFS suggests project capex will be around $51m with a payback period of just 18 months from first production.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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