VRX Silica Ltd (ASX:VRX) has upgraded the total mineral resource estimate for its Arrowsmith Central Silica Sand Project in WA after completing an aircore drilling program over an area previously only tested by shallow hand auger drilling.
Arrowsmith Central’s indicated estimate is now 28.2 million tonnes at 96.6% silica which represents an increase of 273% on the maiden mineral resource estimate.
When inferred resources are included, Arrowsmith Central has a total estimate of 76.5 million tonnes at 96.8% silica while the total estimate across all three VRX Silica projects is in excess of 1 billion tonnes.
Ore reserve to be estimated
With an indicated mineral resource estimate, VRX can complete its Arrowsmith feasibility study and estimate an ore reserve for the project.
A positive feasibility study will allow Arrowsmith to progress through mining approvals, financing and into construction before mining operations.
MRE will support feasibility study
VRX Silica managing director Bruce Maluish said Arrowsmith Central was ideally positioned for a unique logistics solution.
Maluish said: “The project [is] traversed by the Eneabba to Geraldton rail line with a direct connection to the Geraldton port.
“This mineral resource estimation will now allow the company to finalise estimates of ore reserves which will support the impending BFS.
“The mineral resource is complementary to our Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project and adds not only to our total inventory but will also produce alternative products for the glassmaking and foundry industries in Asia.”
Long-life mining project expected
Drilling was undertaken in March and results show the indicated mineral resource is predominantly within the mining lease application area for Arrowsmith Central.
VRX expects that most of the indicated mineral resource will convert to probable reserves and a long-life mining project.
Work to complete the process for the mining lease applications and environmental approvals at both Arrowsmith North and Arrowsmith Central is ongoing.
The two projects plus the third Muchea Silica Sand Project contain a total inferred estimate of 1.056 billion tonnes at 98.2% silica.
High-purity silica sand product
Based on the soil mapping data the entire Arrowsmith Central target area is underlain by a single-mixed silica sand material unit which consists of dominant pale deep sands with interspersed yellow sands.
Metallurgical test work completed to date confirms this updated silica sand model is readily amenable to upgrading by conventional washing and screening methods, producing a high-purity silica sand product with high mass recoveries.
High-purity silica sand product specifications are expected to be suitable for the glassmaking, foundry and ceramics industries.