ISR

  • Thor Mining & EnviroCopper – Pioneering the in-situ recovery of copper in Australia (THR)

    EnviroCopper is a privately-run mining company seeking to develop copper projects using an extraction method called “in situ- recovery” (“ISR”). London-listed Thor Mining Plc (LSE:THR) has the right to purchase a 30pc stake in the business, which in turn is earning into a 75pc position in two Australian assets called Kapunda and Moonta.

    According to EnviroCopper, it is the first business to apply the ISR technique – which is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than traditional mining – on the ground in Australia. With Kapunda and Moonta boasting a combined resource inventory of 233,000ts of copper, the upside opportunity that Thor’s exposure can offer to its shareholders is clear.

    Alongside Thor’s executive chairman Mick Billing, we begin the below report with a detailed analysis of the ISR technique, the Kapunda project, and Envirocopper’s operational activity. In a subsequent update, we take an in-depth look at EnviroCopper’s August release on Moonta, which saw it announce that it is targeting between 428,000ts and 713,000ts of ISR-amenable copper at the project.

    Simply click on the link below to read the special report in full screen.

     

     

  • Thor Mining reveals strong initial drilling results at Kapunda ISR project (THR)

    Tuesday saw Thor Mining (LSE:THR) rise after revealing positive drilling results at its part-owned Kapunda in-situ recovery (ISR) copper project in South Australia.

    Three holes were drilled, and two screened wells installed, to complete initial hydrogeological investigations at the asset – in which EnviroCopper has entered a two-stage agreement to earn a 75pc stake. Thor, in turn, holds a 25pc interest in EnviroCopper with rights to increase that stake to 30pc.

    Not only did this work reveal that the project’s water table is quite shallow, but it also confirmed connectivity between screened intervals along its predominant fracture directions. These are both critical requirements for the ISR process, which centres around a chemical process called ‘leaching’. In layman’s terms, this involves dissolving minerals underground in a solution before extracting them at the surface. As ISR is much cheaper and quicker than actually building a copper mine, EnviroCopper believes that the technique can bring lower-grade projects into economic territory.

    Elsewhere on Tuesday, Thor said the first round of drilling at Kapunda had revealed that the fracture zone contains significant copper mineralisation thought to be amenable to the ISR process. Indeed, the pilot hole encountered 66m at 0.27pc copper including 5m at 0.72pc copper and 11m at 0.54pc copper. Meanwhile, the two additional holes intersected 8m, 23m at 0.49pc copper to end of hole and 22m, 6m at 0.47pc copper to end of hole respectively.

    EnviroCopper’s next stage of work includes large-scale column leach recovery tests leading on to a full-scale field trial.

    Thor’s executive chairman Mick Billing said: ‘It is very exciting to have confirmation of both consistency of mineralisation and possible hydrogeological connectivity along strike in the facture zone. This adds considerable weight to the potential for a successful ISR operation in due course. ‘It is also pleasing to note that the preliminary copper grades are above the average for the resource.  We are very keen to have laboratory assays to confirm these, and also to provide any gold values, as gold is most unlikely to be picked up in portable XRF readings.

    ‘These holes were drilled on the very southern tip of the main resource area, and previously conducted IP surveys further south show additional chargeable anomalies which should be investigated to see if they contain additional mineralisation, which could significantly extend the resource.’

    As we have written before, by achieving production at Kapunda, EnviroCopper hopes to demonstrate ISR’s operational viability in the copper market and take the technology to other projects.

    Aided by historical mining data and environmental and hydrogeological work, EnviroCopper has estimated Kapunda contains an ISR-amenable inferred copper resource of 119,000ts. As announced in April, the company has also been able to recover gold from samples taken from the project and work to ascertain whether it can establish a resource for the precious metal is ongoing.

    Before commercialisation, EnviroCopper must complete a pre-feasibility study and a definitive feasibility study at Kapunda.  It will also have to meet any necessary environmental, social, and regulatory requirements and secure financing.  Handily, its $2.8m government-issued research grant will support it in these efforts- indeed, the firm expects these funds to take the project through to demonstration of feasibility.

    Once progress has been made at Kapunda, EnviroCopper will move on to Moonta - its second 75pc-held project. Moonta is located around 160km north-east of Adelaide within the historical copper triangle of South Australia, where around 300,000ts of copper were mined and processed between the 1860s and 1920s.

    Although it is an earlier-stage project than Kapunda, Moonta is also thought to be a much larger opportunity. In August 2019, EnviroCopper announced an initial inferred resource estimate for the asset of 66.1MMts grading 0.17pc copper. This translates to 114,000ts of contained copper considered amenable to ISR, taking EnviroCopper’s business-wide managed resource inventory 233,000ts. However, this initial figure was formed from the analysis of just 164 drill holes at Moonta. This lead to the identification of three copper deposits, called Wombat, Bruce, and Larwood. A further 308 holes already drilled over these deposits will feature in future resource modelling once quality assurance has been completed, providing an obvious opportunity for upside. What’s more, all three deposits remain open along strike or at depth – providing EnviroCopper with a chance to identify mineralisation beyond that already discovered.

    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 own 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

     

  • Thor Mining: is EnviroCopper closing in on more than half a million tonnes of copper at Moonta? (THR)

    EnviroCopper is a privately run mining company, which is seeking to develop the Kapunda and Moonta copper projects using an extraction method call “in situ- recovery” (“ISR”). Thor Mining Plc (LSE:THR) has the right to purchase a 30pc stake in EnviroCopper, which is pioneering the application of ISR in copper mining operations in Australia. ISR is a highly cost effective and environmentally more friendly extraction method compared to traditional mining.

    EnviroCopper is earning into 75pc of two ISR projects in Australia, at Kapunda and Moonta. Across these two projects EnviroCopper now has a managed resourced inventory of 233,000 tonnes of copper; 119,000 tonnes at Kapunda and now, following August’s maiden resource estimate, 114,000 tonnes at Moonta.

    In this special MiningMaven Wire we provide analysis of the maiden copper resource estimate at Moonta and provide some more contextual background about other global ISR copper projects that could provide indicators as to how EnviroCopper might develop.

     

    The latest Moonta report can be read by accessing the download page HERE.

     

    This MiningMaven Wire also provides an update to the main EnviroCopper report published in June 2019, following release of the initial mineral resource estimate at Moonta in August 2019. The full report can be read HERE.

  • 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