Thor Mining (LSE:THR) rose 7.7pc to hit its highest level this month on Monday morning after announcing a series of strong tungsten grades from the White Violet deposit at its Bonya project. A second drilling round at the asset, which is adjacent to Thor’s flagship Molyhil project in Australia’s Northern Territory, intersected 20m at 0.24pc tungsten trioxide from 2m, including 8m at 0.38pc copper from 3m. Other highlights included 8m at 0.24pc tungsten trioxide, 14m at 0.23pc tungsten trioxide, and 2pc at 0.71pc tungsten trioxide from 11m.

The work, which was managed and 40pc funded by Thor alongside 60pc project owner Arafura Resources, has extended tungsten-bearing mineralisation at White Violet by 40m to both the east and the west. Total strike length now comes in at 120m, while vertical depth now hits 110m. Mick Billing, executive chairman of Thor, which was trading at 0.28p as at writing, said it was ‘very exciting’ to confirm both consistencies of mineralisation and extensions to strike at White Violet, adding:

‘Tungsten grades continue to be positive, and it is also pleasing to see further evidence of copper mineralisation. The key Thor driver for drilling at Bonya is to add to the Molyhil area mining inventory with an objective of a minimum of ten years total open pit mining and processing.  These results, subject to assay and follow up resource work, should, we expect, go quite some way towards meeting that objective.

The rig used to drill the holes has now moved on to another Bonya deposit called Samarkand for the second part of the Thor/Arafura JV’s current drilling programme. This work aims to test the extent of the two deposits to help create create reportable mineral resource estimates.

Bonya hosts 13 outcropping tungsten deposits that currently carry an exploration target of 3-4.9MMts at 0.3-05pc tungsten trioxide. The area also hosts an inferred copper resources of 230,000ts for 4,600ts of copper.  Thor plans to extract and process this copper at Molyhil for a ‘minimal additional cost’. Despite the licence area being part of a known tungsten province, no tungsten drilling had taken place since the 1970s. Until now.

Thor and Arafura completed an initial 2,500m reverse circulation drilling programme across Bonya earlier this year. The work confirmed strong tungsten and copper mineralisation across several deposits, with particularly strong results coming from two areas called White Violet and Samarkand. Highlights from White Violet included 27m at 0.29pc tungsten trioxide from 35m, 12m at 0.67pc tungsten trioxide from 46m and 29m at 0.7pc tungsten trioxide from 81m, including 13m at 1.13pc tungsten trioxide.   Meanwhile, top copper intersections at Samarkand included 5m at 0.36pc copper, 12m at 0.77pc copper, and 7m at 1.23pc copper.

Thor hopes that Bonya could add ‘considerably’ to Molyhil’s life, scale, and economic outcomes. To recap, Molyhil is a tungsten and molybdenum asset located around 320km east of Alice Springs. The project is formed from two adjacent magnetite skarn bodies that contain economic amounts of scheelite, molybdenite and magnetite mineralisation.

Before Thor’s involvement, little work had taken place at Molyhil bar a brief period of mining at its southern ore body during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Thor has built upon these efforts considerably, completing resource extension drilling and metallurgical test work. It has also made a great deal of permitting progress, carrying out technical, environmental and social studies as well as securing environmental approvals and land agreements with traditional owners.

Thanks to Thor’s work, Molyhil is now one of the higher-grade open-pit tungsten in the western world. A mineral resource estimate in 2014 gave it a complete resource of 4.71Mt for 13,100ts of tungsten trioxide and 6,220ts of molybdenum. To build on this potential, the firm completed a feasibility study in August last year. The work gave Molyhil a post-tax NPV of $101m, an IRR of 59pc, and a seven-year open pit mine life delivering annual production of 120,000mtu tungsten trioxide and 450t of molybdenum – both in concentrate.  Meanwhile, opex came in at just $90/mtu.

Thor also believes that Molyhil could deliver a great deal of upside, through both operational enhancements and the opportunity to pursue satellite resources and underground production. Indeed, the firm has demonstrated that high molybdenum and tungsten trioxide continue below the pit floor. To read more about Molyhil and Bonya, including details on ongoing funding talks, please see our recent project update here.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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