The update will include deeper reverse circulation (RC) aircore drilling results with some aspects of the work having been delayed by COVID-19 interruptions to laboratory operations in South Africa.
TSL’s Mannar Island scoping study is also nearing completion and will be finalised in the weeks following release of the resource upgrade.
Titanium Sands has been approached by several potential offtake partners on an introductory basis discussing the resource.
Discussions to date have included parties from China, Japan, India and the UAE.
No formal MOUs or agreements have been entered into at this stage and, subject to recommendations of the scoping study, the board will continue offtake discussions with each of these parties.
The global COVID-19 pandemic had little impact on the company with only some delays in laboratory analyses, which have largely been overcome.
Operations in Sri Lanka are undertaken by the company’s local workforce and these people are currently at home under the Sri Lankan Government containment measures.
The company has stated that it is not clear when containment measures will be lifted, however, while the timing is uncertain when it occurs the local drilling team and geologist will operations immediately with the company RC aircore drilling rig.
HMS industry and market
Mineral product test work for Mannar Island indicates it is most likely to find a market for its ilmenite (ilmenite-leucoxene) minerals as a quality feedstock for sulphate route TiO2 pigment production.
Potential also exists for smaller volume specialist rutile, zircon and garnet products.
Ti02 forms the basis for pigmented products used in a wide range of paints, plastics, paper, self-cleaning coatings.
Other uses of ilmenite minerals include the production of titanium metal (light, strong, corrosion-resistant) for aerospace industries and increasingly in motor vehicles and medical implants and welding rods (flux coating).
Market indications suggest a base case pricing for premium sulphate ilmenite feedstock product of between USD$180-220p/t ($240 high grade) and rutile at around USD$1,118 p/t.
Zircon is processed into zirconium compounds, intermediate products and zirconium metal for a variety of applications including ceramics / tiles / toilets (55% demand), foundry sands / castings (14% demand), refractories / furnace linings (10% demand) and chemicals / gemstones / nuclear reactors (14% demand).
Specialty uses include fibre optics, glass, paints, catalysts, underarm deodorants, adhesives, cosmetics, dental ceramics plus various research applications.
Market indications suggest that zircon is selling for around USD$973p/t.