Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) today provided its quarterly activities report for the period ended 30 September 2020.
$5 million committed to exploration 2020/21 financial year, with more than 16,000 metres of drilling planned;
Regulatory approvals received for construction and installation of ore sorting equipment at Browns Range;
Balance sheet strengthened with settlement payments totalling $9.9 million from ATO; and
Debt pay-down focus continued in period, reducing the Company’s debt position to $4.1 million.
Northern Minerals announced in September it had allocated a budget of up to $5 million for an exploration program in the 2020/21 financial year, with drill rigs expected to be on site by the end of October.
The program is focused on increasing the Mineral Resource and the life of mine potential at Browns Range, with approximately 8,000m of reverse circulation (RC) drilling planned before the end of 2020.
Several new drill targets will be tested as well as follow-up holes on significant intersections at prospects including Polaris, Rogue and Banshee South.
Drilling in 2019 at Banshee South returned a broad mineralised intersection of 22m @ 0.52% TREO from 15m in hole BRBR0044.
This drill hole is located outside the defined surface geochemical anomaly at the northwest end of the prospect with no drilling immediately along strike to the west or northwest.
Drilling will also be targeted at the Dazzler area where mineralisation has been outlined in four separate zones over a strike length of approximately 600m.
In 2019, drill hole BRDR0093, located 400m northwest of the main Dazzler deposit, intersected 7m @ 0.46% TREO from 39m with no further drilling along strike northwest of this drill hole.
This significant commitment to exploration in the next nine months is designed to underpin the Company’s ongoing ambition to realise the potential of Browns Range beyond the Pilot Plant Project.
The Research and Development (R&D) testwork recommenced at the Browns Range Pilot Plant in August 2020, with the partial restart of operations following a five-month care and maintenance period due to Commonwealth biosecurity restrictions in response to COVID-19.
Beneficiation testwork on Browns Range ore continued in the period and Northern Minerals plans to restart the hydrometallurgical plant testwork in the December quarter.
This work will contribute to the three-year pilot assessment of the economic and technical feasibility of a commercial, larger scale development at Browns Range.
Northern Minerals gained the regulatory approvals from relevant State authorities for the installation of ore sorting equipment at Browns Range in the period.
The ore sorting equipment concentrates ore prior to the beneficiation circuit by selecting ore and rejecting waste based on x-ray transmission.
The total capital investment for the procurement, installation and commissioning of the ore sorter is budgeted at $5.9 million.
Construction has commenced on the structural and mechanical equipment, with commissioning scheduled for mid-2021.
Once the ore sorting system is commissioned, Northern Minerals plans to run additional testwork at pilot plant scale on all ore types to establish baseline data on feed grade improvements.
This work will also help evaluate material flow-through benefits of ore sorting on overall processing efficiencies. This data will also feed into any future commercial, large-scale project feasibility studies at Browns Range.