Bonya

  • 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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.