Macarthur Minerals Limited (ASX:MIO) (CVE:MMS) enjoyed an active start to 2020 with the ongoing development of its flagship Lake Giles Iron Project in Western Australia.
The impacts of COVID-19 travel restrictions on operations have been minimal and the goal going forwards is to complete a feasibility study for the project.
Macarthur Minerals executive chairman Cameron McCall said: “The iron ore price has remained strong during the COVID-19 pandemic trading between US$81.65 and US$103.59 for 62% iron and this price stability is creating momentum in the global iron ore industry.
“The company’s core focus will remain on delivering a high-quality, low-impurity magnetite fines product at its Lake Giles Iron Project which will target Asian steel mills that are focused on producing quality steel products, enhanced furnace efficiencies, reduced consumption of coking coal and improved environment emissions standards.”
The infill drilling program completed in 2019 at the Moonshine North magnetite deposit returned average concentrate grades ranging from 63.7% to 68.9% iron with mass recoveries ranging from 15.5% to 51.6%.
CSA Global Pty Ltd has been engaged to update the resource model for the project which will underpin the feasibility study.
Route to market
Macarthur continues to progress discussions with key rail and port service providers, as well as the Western Australian Government, to develop the capacity and infrastructure solutions which are necessary to secure a fully contracted route to market for the project.
The company is confident it will work with service providers to achieve conditional capacity allocation on the rail network and through Esperance Port during 2020 to support completion of the feasibility study.
Engenium Pty Ltd was engaged to undertake a conceptual engineering design study for an ‘off-port’ solution which involves the construction of a standard rotary car dumper (RCD) outside the Esperance Port and connected by a covered tube conveyor feeding into an on-port 300,000-tonne iron ore storage shed.
That study has been completed and the company is ready to commission further conceptual engineering design study work to be completed during June/July for an 'on-port' solution.
This would involve the construction of a hybrid RCD on an area of land within the boundary of the Esperance Port at a suitable location, linked by a conveyor that will connect to the on-port storage shed.
Early revenue opportunities
Additionally, Macarthur continues to monitor and assess the potential for opportunities to transition to early revenue-generating iron ore operations.
McCall said: “Due to the strength and stability of the global iron ore market, Macarthur is examining project opportunities that have the potential to generate early revenue flows including a possible acceleration of development of the company’s Ularring Hematite Project at Lake Giles.”
The company will ensure that the development of any potential opportunity complements and does not detract from the pathway and timeframes to production of its flagship high-grade Moonshine Magnetite deposits at Lake Giles.
The company will also work closely with partner Fe Limited (ASX:FEL) to advance exploration of its high-quality lithium, gold and base metal tenements in the Pilbara region.
A drilling program was completed at the Hillside Gold and Copper Project in 2019 with FEL set to complete a Fixed Loop Electromagnetic (FLEM) survey across several targets in July 2020.
Results are expected to better indicate any massive sulphide mineralisation which may exist to assist targeting the next drilling campaign which is expected to occur later this year.
Macarthur holds a Pilbara lithium portfolio covering an area of around 723 square kilometres, has regulatory exploration licence approval and which covers similar geological settings to that of ‘world-class’ Pilbara lithium deposits and producing spodumene mines.
These areas are included in the earn-in JV program that is targeting battery metal deposits and are complemented by the lithium potential tenements held by Fe Limited.
Macarthur also holds 210 unpatented mining claims at its Reynolds Springs Lithium Brine Project in the Railroad Valley, Nevada, USA, where analysis of geochemical soil sampling found up to 405 parts per million lithium.
The company is seeking interested parties in further exploring this asset portfolio.
Resilient share price
The company has been trading on the ASX since December 2019 and over the period from May 6, 2020, Macarthur’s securities have been trading within a range of A$0.13 to $0.21.
Over the same period, the company’s securities have been trading on the TSXV in Canada within a range of C$0.14 to $0.23.
McCall said: “It’s pleasing the company’s share price has been resilient through a very volatile period in the market.”