Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure
Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
10 September 2020
Strategic Minerals plc
("Strategic Minerals" or the "Company")
Leigh Creek Copper Mine Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation Lodged
Strategic Minerals plc (AIM: SML; USOTC: SMCDY), a producing mineral company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials, announces that, in line with its 1 September 2020 notice to the market, the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Leigh Creek Copper Mine ("Leigh Creek", "LCCM" or the "Project"), has formally lodged with the South Australian government its Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation ("PEPR") in relation to its planned operations in accessing the Paltridge North deposit.
Given the level of detail reviewed in the draft submission and the encouragement received to date by the South Australian government, the Company feels confident that an approval will be forthcoming before the year end, paving the way for full scale operations to commence in 2021, subject to finance.
As reported in the 1 September 2020 RNS, an independent third party has been contacted and we can now confirm that PPM Global, who have operated the Mountain of Light plant for both the Company and the previous owners, Phoenix Copper, have been engaged to update and review the likely capital cost of developing the Lynda/Lorna Doone deposit. The Lynda/Lorna Doone deposit is located approximately 70km north of the Paltridge North deposit and was included in the feasibility study announced in November 2019. The proposed funding of the development of Lynda/Lorna Doone is intended to be sourced out of project cash flows from the LCCM mine subject to the recommencement of production.
At current copper prices, and with many of the market commentators indicating further upward pressure on prices, the Project's anticipated economics have become more robust.
It is the intention of the Board to provide the market an update on the financial analysis shortly after receiving the capital cost review which is expected before the end of September.
Commenting, John Peters, Managing Director of Strategic Minerals, said:
"The lodgement of the full PEPR and the strong recovery in copper prices increases the likelihood that 2021 will see the full-scale re-commencement of operations at Leigh Creek.
While the process of getting Leigh Creek into operation has taken longer than initially anticipated, the goal of developing a second income stream within SML remains of key strategic importance in building long term wealth within the Company."
Notes to Editors
Strategic Minerals plc is an AIM-quoted, operating minerals company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials. It has an operation in the United States of America and Australia along with development projects in the UK and Australia. The Company is focused on utilising its operating cash flows, along with capital raisings, to develop high quality projects aimed at supplying the metals and minerals being sought in the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.
In September 2011, Strategic Minerals acquired the distribution rights to the Cobre magnetite tailings dam project in New Mexico, USA, a cash-generating asset, which it brought into production in 2012 and which continues to provide a revenue stream for the Company. This operating revenue stream is utilised to cover company overheads and invest in development projects orientated to supplying the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.
In January 2016, the portfolio was expanded with the acquisition of shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd, which holds tenements in Western Australia prospective for cobalt, nickel sulphides and rare earth elements. The Company has since acquired all shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd. In September 2018, the Company entered contracts for the sale of certain CARE tenements identified as gold targets.
In May 2016, the Company entered into an agreement with New Age Exploration Limited and, in February 2017, acquired 50% of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project in Cornwall, UK. The bulk of the funds from the Company's investment were utilised to complete a drilling programme that year. The drilling programme resulted in a significant upgrade of the resource. This was followed in 2018 with a 12-hole 2018 drilling programme has now been completed and the resource update that resulted was announced in February 2019. In March 2019, the Company entered into arrangements to acquire the balance of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project. This was completed on 24 July 2019.
In March 2018, the Company completed the acquisition of the Leigh Creek Copper Mine situated in the copper rich belt of South Australia and temporarily brought the project into production in April 2019. Recommencement of full-scale processing is expected in 2021.