The targeted silica sand deposits at the Arrowsmith Silica Sand Project are the aeolian sand dunes that overlie the region which host the Eneabba heavy mineral deposits.
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Worldwide demand is increasing for high purity silica sand in the production of photo voltaic panels and silicon-metal composite material for lithium-ion batteries.
Ventnor’s exploration target for Arrowsmith North is 100 to 140 million tonnes of high-quality silica sand and 40 to 80 million tonnes of high-quality silica sand for Arrowsmith South.
Silica sand demand
Arrowsmith could address dwindling sand supply in the Asia-Pacific region used in glass manufacturing, concrete construction and as a tech metal.
Supply deficits are due to Asian regional governments acknowledging sand as a strategic resource.
The demand for sand is increasing for infrastructure-construction programs utilising concrete in Asia - particularly China, India and Vietnam - putting pressure on supplies and consequently, on prices.
Significantly, preliminary reconnaissance work on the Arrowsmith Project indicates substantial potential for sand resources suitable for both glass making and construction.
Arrowsmith is traversed by the Eneabba-Geraldton rail line, which provides direct access to the ship-loading facilities at the Geraldton Port facilitating a unique logistics solution.
Initial sampling by Ventnor indicates that the dune sand located on the Arrowsmith tenements can be upgraded by conventional techniques, to provide a high-grade purity of 99.5% silica.
Importantly, the dune sand contains only nominal amounts of benign deleterious minerals.
Mineralogical analysis is currently underway to determine the deleterious minerals that remain in the +0.212 mm and -1 mm size fraction.
Depending on this determination, testwork will determine the best methodology to remove these minerals from the silica sand grains.
A deeper hand-auger program will be undertaken in the next few months to better determine the variability of the sand quality through the dune system.
An aircore drilling program is proposed to determine the extent of the dune system and the variability of the grade, to be undertaken early 2018 when granting of the tenements is anticipated.
Bulk samples will be collected to undertake further metallurgical testwork and determine the most suitable processing circuit.