Bonya

  • ‘There is a lot of upside to be had here’: Mick Billing on Thor Mining’s recent trip to Bonya and ongoing Molyhil deal discussions (THR)

    Earlier this month, Mick Billing, chief executive of Thor Mining (LSE:THR), carried out a site visit to the firm’s tungsten and copper-prospective Bonya tenements. The trip was carried out as part of planning for a drilling programme at Bonya, which is adjacent to Thor’s flagship Molyhil and tungsten and molybdenum project following promising intersection earlier this year.

    Against the exciting backdrop of an initial 114,000t copper resource at the Moonta project held within Thor’s EnviroCopper subsidiary, we caught up with Billing to discuss his findings from the trip. The chief executive also provides us with an update on Thor’s ongoing efforts to secure project finance and offtake agreements at Molyhil.

    Bonya opportunity

    To recap, Thor purchased a 40pc stake in Bonya from Rox Resources last year and is now in a JV with Arafura Resources. The two firms now share development costs proportionally to the size of their holdings. 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’.

    Location of the Bonya tenements relative to Molyhil (Source: Company)

    Despite the licence area being part of a known tungsten province, no tungsten drilling had taken place since the 1970s.  Regardless, in April, Billing said he hoped that Bonya could add ‘considerably’ to Molyhil’s life, scale, and economic outcomes. True to its word, Thor - alongside 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. To read the results in more detail, please click here.

    Recent trip

    To build on these strong initial results, Thor and Arafura will now target near-term drilling to test the extent of the two deposits and create reportable mineral resource estimates. To support this, Billing says he and his colleagues searched White Violet and Samarkand for surface scheelite – a tungsten compound that shines blue when a UV light is shined on it in the dark – on their recent trip. Billing says the work was high encouraging, further informing and extending the imminent drilling programme and leaving him with the impression that there is a lot of upside to be had in the area.

    ‘At White Violet we have identified a couple of holes where we drilled last time that we would like to take deeper and another one we would like to move the hole a bit to connect better up with some trenching,’he said. ‘We are also going to do some infill work because we are really keen on getting a resource estimate out of this deposit in the next drilling programme, which we expect will start in September.’

    ‘Things were even more encouraging at Samarkand as we have found a couple of quite promising scheelite occurances extending past the area drilled out. We won’t just be going a bit deeper to do resource-type infill work, we will also be extending to the north-west and hopefully also to the south-east. We think there is a good chance we can not only get a resource at Samarkand but also extend the area where the mineralisation is currently known. There is a lot of upside to be had here.’

    Outcropping copper just south of Marrakech deposit at Bonya

    Funding discussions

    Bonya and Molyhil’s prospectivity appears to increase with every related RNS release. Indeed, earlier this week Thor announced that a second metallurgical bulk sample drill hole has further boosted its flagship Molyhil project’s prospectivity for copper alongside tungsten and molybdenum.

    Speaking to MiningMaven, Billing told us that he remains confident Thor will be able to lock in project finance and off-take agreements for both tungsten and molybdenum concentrates mined at Molyhil. As previously discussed, the company has been approached by, and advanced discussions with, several players whose interests include offtake agreements, joint venture arrangement, or debt instruments. Billing says such talks are still proceeding, with the business taking great care to ensure it picks the arrangement that works best for both itself and shareholders.

    ‘There is now quite a large group of companies who would like to offtake from the output at Molyhil. There is a smaller group who are interested in funding and there is another group that have said there is interest in a joint venture,’ he said.  ‘One of the things these potential JV partners will want out of that type of structure is almost certainly an offtake. With this in mine, we are not locking in with any of the others until we have exhausted the opportunity for a JV. These are people that are working at their own pace so I cannot underwrite the success or a timeline. However, we are still confident there is a deal to be done with a couple of the people with which we are in discussions.’

    Author: Daniel Flynn

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

  • MiningMaven Podcast 104 - with Mick Billing, executive chairman of Thor Mining (THR)

    In this episode of the podcast, executive chairman of Thor Mining (LSE:THR), Mick Billing explains why he is ‘very excited’ by the interim drilling results from the Bonya tungsten deposits in Australia.

    Mick says the average grade of open pit tungsten mines around the globe is around 0.2pc tungsten trioxide (WO3). Molyhill has grades a little higher than that but testing by portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) at Bonya indicate grades well above average.

    ‘When we see results of 20-30 metres at around 0.7-0.75pc WO3 at Bonya we get pretty excited’ explains Mick during the interview.

    ‘Tungsten’s about four times the price of copper, so this is equivalent to copper grades of nearly 3pc. Anybody intersecting copper mineralisation around 3pc copper is going to be pretty happy, so that puts it into context’ Mick added.

    Thor holds a 40pc interest in Bonya which lies around 30km east of its 100pc owned Molyhil tungsten project. The drilling campaign consisted of around 2,500 metres of Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling at a number of targets including the Samarkand, Jericho, White Violet, and Tashkent deposits.  Interim results for three of the four targets are now available following portable XRF determination. The White Violet deposit stole the show with very strong results, including 27 metres of 0.32pc tungsten oxide from 71 metres. Copper was also found from a number of holes, particularly on the White Violet deposit including 16 metres at 0.43pc copper from 43 metres.

    This interview was recorded on 1st May 2019.

    Author: Stuart Langelaan

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Systems Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not own a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Systems Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Systems Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

    All opinions expressed are those of MiningMaven and the respective guests, unless otherwise stated and should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation to buy shares in any featured Company. From time to time MiningMaven principals may take equity positions in companies featured. Listeners are advised to do their own extensive research before buying shares which, as with all small cap exploration stocks, should be viewed as high risk. Investors should also seek the advice of a qualified investment adviser or stockbroker as they deem appropriate. MiningMaven.com is a trading division of Catalyst Information Services Limited. Registered in England no. 06537074 (Registered Office Address 3rd Floor Ivy Mill, Crown Street, Manchester, M35 9BG) #gold #mining #investing

     

  • Thor Mining pushes forward on strong tungsten intercepts at Bonya (THR)

    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

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

  • Thor Mining’s Mick Billing on what investors can expect at Kapunda, Molyhil, and more over the coming months (THR)

    Thor Mining (LSE:THR) has started 2020 with a bang, delivering strong sampling results, resource estimates, and financing news across major assets in its portfolio. Here, the company’s chief executive Mick Billing walks us through the firm’s plans for the coming months, highlighting potential sources of newsflow that could prompt a re-rate in its share price.

    Proof of concept at Kapunda

    One of Thor’s critical areas of focus over coming months will be the Kapunda project it has exposure to through its investment in EnviroCopper Limited.

    Based in South Australia, Kapunda is a historic copper mine that EnviroCopper is working to exploit through a low-cost, environmentally-friendly extraction technique called in-situ recovery (“ISR”). In layman’s terms, this involves dissolving minerals underground in a solution – a process called “leaching”- before extracting by pumping to the surface. From there, the process is identical to a heap leaching operation after the process of dissolving the metal in the heap.

    2019 saw Thor and ECR make much progress at Kapunda, establishing proof of concept for the use of ISR to extract copper and gold and launching field pump tests to test the flow of fluid through its deposits. Meanwhile, in 2017, the Australian government announced an offer to provide the firms with A$2.9 million of research funding over 30 months to advance the project.

    Site of recent hydro-geological drilling at Kapunda (Source: Thor Mining)

    With Thor recent reporting that initial field pump results had shown “good potential connectivity” and “good copper values”from initial geochemical work, Billing says he expects full assays to be delivered imminently. Initial signs are positive, he adds:

    “I expect assays to come in the next couple of weeks. Other testing will establish that there is connectivity in the deposit from one area to the next – something that is needed for ISR to work. Currently, there is every inference that that connectivity exists.”

    Following this, Billing says the firms plan to launch field recovery trials later this year to establish whether copper and gold that has not yetbeen dissolved in the ground can be dissolved and extracted. As it stands, a small but significant amount of copper has already dissolved in the groundwater present at Kapunda naturally over time.

    Should EnviroCopper be able to establish this, it will provide definitive evidence that what the firms have been able to do in the laboratory with historical core and with modelling can be done in the field economically. In this case, Billing says the project – alongside its sister asset Moonta – have the potential to be bigger than Thor’s Molyhil and Pilot Mountain properties combined.

    We believe this copper business is potentially our best, we are very excited about establishing the economic vitality of ISR at Kapunda, and one of the nice things is that the bulk of this is being paid for by the Australian government by way of a grant."

    Financing at Molyhil

    Another key area of focus for Thor over coming months will be its wholly-owned Molyhil tungsten project and associated Bonya tenements. The firm manages and 40%-owns these latter deposits in a joint venture with Arafura Resources.

    For some time now, Thor has told investors that discussions are ongoing with various potential partners who have expressed in financing Molyhil’s development. Billing says that, while these discussions will continue, a new dimension has now opened up when it comes to the asset’s financing.

    The company is in discussions with several Australian Commonwealth government agencies mandated to provide financial assistance to undeveloped critical mineral projects. These agencies include Export Finance Australia, the Defence Export Facility, the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office and the North Australian Infrastructure Facility. With tungsten becoming an increasingly crucial critical mineral globally – prices have recovered in recent months - Billing is hopeful this initial interest will develop:

    “Because tungsten is a critical mineral and because of the increased focus on critical minerals by the US and the partners of the US like Australia and Canada, there is potential for some financial assistance from some of these bodies. We have been working with a couple of them for several months and, while nothing can be guaranteed, there is an additional dimension to the financing of Molyhil compared with the story of several months ago. This does not replace the work we have been doing with several parties we have been working with, but adds to that work and complements it.”

    Meanwhile, Billing says Thor will continue its work to develop Bonya after establishing tungsten and copper resource estimates for its White Violet and Samarkand deposits last month:

    “There is permitting to do, drilling to upgrade the resources and a host of environmental work to complete. We are also seeking an agreement with the original landowners that will allow us to have the same rights at Bonya as we have secured at Molyhil. That is a work-in-progress but it is going through.”

    Location of the Bonya tenements (Source: Thor Mining)

    Pushing Pilbara forward

    Finally, Billing expects Thor to follow up on a recently-completed field reconnaissance programme at its Pilbara goldfield tenements. Samples from 44 sites provided strong evidence of gold prospectivity along with anomalous nickel and chromium. Billing says the presence of these two latter metals was “unexpected” and warrants further exploration:

    “We have gold in 15 of sites and nickel and chrome in another two. We are following up on the gold because the success and density of those hits mean it looks like much more than a couple of isolated specks, there could be significant quantities. Meanwhile, chrome is often an indicator metal for nickel , and ultramafic rocks are a known environment to host sulphide nickel deposits. We think there is potentially quite a strong nickel story out of this that will require following up.”

    Thor’s share price has fallen by close to 30% since the beginning of the year, sitting at 0.298p at writing. With so much work ongoing in the company’s portfolio, it will be interesting to see whether a strong run of news can buck this trend and help the firm to return to the 1p plus territory at which it sat this time last year.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

  • Where next for Thor Mining’s Molyhil and Bonya projects as CEO Mick Billing heads out on site visit?

    Thor Mining chief executive Mick Billing is currently out in the Northern Territory of Australia visiting the company’s Bonya tenements adjacent to its flagship Molyhil tungsten and molybdenum project. The visit follows recent claims by the business that it is continuing to make steady progress in its efforts to lock in project finance and off-take agreements for metal concentrates mined at the asset. With this in mind, can investors expect an imminent update on the project? Here we look at Molyhil and Bonya’s in detail before running through Thor’s recent efforts to enhance both assets’ already attractive fundamentals.

    Making Molyhil

    Wholly-owned by Thor, 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.

    The underground case for Molyhil(Source: Company)

    Advancing talks

    Thor has spent much of this year focused on locking in project finance and off-take agreements for both tungsten and molybdenum concentrates mined at Molyhil. Although this has taken longer than expected, Billing recently said Thor’s confidence in securing such a deal ‘remains firm’. He added that the company had been approached by, and advanced discussions with, several players whose interests include offtake agreements, joint venture arrangement, or debt instruments.

    In the meantime, Thor has also spent time working to support these discussions by enhancing Molyhil’s already attractive fundamentals. In June, the organisation drilled two holes down plunge of the site’s Yacht Club lode to support the production of tungsten and molybdenum concentrate samples for prospective offtake partners. One of these holes intersected 1pc tungsten trioxide and 0.16pc molybdenum down 92.6m.

    The hole confirmed extensive high-grade scheelite mineralisation and molybdenum grades expected at Molyhil. However, it also encountered 0.13pc copper from the surface, a grade that Billing described as ‘potentially economic’. Although copper has been part of Molyhil mineral resource estimates before, it has been absent from Thor’s recent marketing efforts. However, with recent work supporting the production of a separate, saleable copper concentrate at Molyhil, this could soon change. Thor believes that the modest copper levels could provide another revenue stream and plans to include the metal in an updated Molyhil mineral resource estimate over coming months.

    Bonya boost

    Thor’s efforts to enhance Molyhil’s fundamentals have also seen it complete considerable work at a collection of adjacent tenements called Bonya this year. Bonya, in which Thor purchased a 40pc position from Arafura Resources last year, hosts 13 outcropping tungsten deposits. These 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 at Molyhil for a ‘minimal additional cost’. Despite the licence area being part of a known tungsten province, no tungsten drilling has taken place since the 1970s. Regardless, in April, Billing said he hoped that Bonya could add ‘considerably’ to Molyhil’s life, scale, and economic outcomes.

    Location of the Bonya tenements relative to Molyhil(Source: Company)

    True to its word, Thor - alongside 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. To read the results in more detail, please click here. To build on these strong initial results, Thor and Arafura will now target near-term drilling to test the extent of the two deposits and create reportable mineral resource estimates.

    Vanadium opportunity

    Finally, it is worth mentioning that Thor’s deal with Arafura last year also saw it take a 40pc stake in the Jervois vanadium project in Australia at no extra cost. Although the project is very early-stage, past exploration has intersected extensive and potentially economic grades of vanadium and titanium. Some samples also returned up to 1.59ppm of combined gold, platinum, and palladium when assayed.

    Thor and Arafura announced an exploration target range for Jervois of 90-110MMts at 0.3-0.8pc vanadium pentoxide and 4-8pc titanium dioxide in July. The pair also outlined a future work programme for the asset, which will focus on resource drilling at the Casper, Coco, and RD deposits. They will also test another prospect for potentially economic grades of vanadium and titanium and complete follow up work on the gold and PGE potential on all candidates. Subject to success in these areas, the business would then conduct further metallurgical studies along with environmental and social impact studies.

    Where next?

    As can be seen, Molyhil has long represented an attractive asset. Work completed by Thor over the past year has only enhanced this prospectivity by adding in a whole new source of tungsten deposits and throwing copper into the mix. With the company long claiming that Molyhil has enjoyed third party interest, there seems a good change that these efforts will have made the project more attractive to potential offtakers and financiers. In the wake of Billing’s trip to Bonya, then, can Thor firm finally take discussions over the line and create value for itself and shareholders alike?

    Author: Daniel Flynn

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

  • With a £1.7m market cap, is Thor Mining prepped for a rerate? – A portfolio review

    As all readers will be aware, this year has seen the outbreak of Covid-19 has driven one of the most significant market sell-offs in history. As more and more countries have enter lockdown conditions, appetite has waned significantly among panicked investors. In response, share prices have seriously declined across the board almost without prejudice.

    However, while the short-term outlook may be grim, many experts are already eyeing the inevitable rebound that will occur once the pandemic passes.

    Using analysis of performance during previous outbreaks, such as SARS in 2003, S&P Global has already identified metal markets as one of the most significant potential beneficiaries here. In particular, analysts expect a huge release of pent-up Chinese demand – coupled with unprecedented government and central bank intervention – to drive stronger commodity markets for some time post-Covid-19.

    Should this be the case, then one London-listed company well-positioned to benefit could be Thor Mining(LSE:THOR). With assets spreading several commodities – copper, tungsten, and molybdenum to name a few – the recent hit to the firm’s share price could open up an interesting entry point once things begin to stabilise. Here, we take a look at Thor’s portfolio of assets in detail:

    Kapunda

    Kapunda is a copper and gold opportunity located in South Australia, close to a town also called Kapunda that lays claim to being the birthplace of the country’s booming copper mining industry.

    Not only is Kapunda based near a great deal of established infrastructure and a skilled labour force, but it also benefits from historic exploration by many companies over the years. Data collected from this work has helped to establish an inferred resource of 47.4 million tonnes for 119,000 tonnes of copper for the property.

    This copper will be extracted using a low-cost and low-environmental impact technique called in-situ recovery (“ISR”) that utilises chemical processes rather than mining operations. The process centres around extracting a solid that has come into contact with a liquid – a process called “leaching” that is not too dissimilar to the way a tea bag infuses boiling water when making a cup of tea.

    In geological terms, leaching occurs naturally when slightly acidic groundwater dissolves minerals such as copper contained within bodies of rock into a solution. This is then transported through porous spaces in the rock to eventually reach the surfaces where it will be visible as staining. By pumping a solution called a “lixiviant” into the body of rock to dissolves all of the metal present, ISR substantially accelerates and scales-up this natural process. The “pregnant” solution is then extracted and transported to a processing plant where ion exchange technology is used to extract a saleable commodity.

    As well as causing far less impact to the environment (projects can be entirely returned to their original purpose once extraction completes) the critical advantage of the ISR process is its low cost. This allows operators to process lower-grade mineralisation that would otherwise be uneconomical due to the high cost of building a mine.

    The ISR process in action – notice that the waterbore wellheads are the only apparatus visible at surface (Source: ECR)

    Although ISR has been used commercially for phosphate and uranium extraction since the sixties, its introduction at Kapunda would mark the first time it has ever been used for copper extraction in Australia. Meanwhile, several projects are in the commissioning stage in Arizona, USA.

    Thor’s exposure to Kapunda comes through its 25% equity interest in private Australian company EnviroCopper – a stake that it can increase to 30% by investing A$400,000. EnviroCopper, in turn, is earning up to a 75% interest in Kapunda.

    What’s the latest?

    In 2018, the Australian government granted Environmental Copper Recovery (“ECR”) – Thor’s fellow EnviroCopper backer– an A$2.9 million grant to trial copper and gold ISR recovery at Kapunda over 30 months.

    ECR has been busy at work ever since, and in the June 2019 quarter, it announced that it had successfully recovered both copper and goldfrom rock core at Kapunda in test scenarios. Later in the year, this work was taken further three holes were drilled into the deposit to measure its connectivity, porosity, and permeability, All of these characteristics are essential to the effective operation of an ISR project.