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9 May

Australia invests A$566m to map mineral deposits, energy sources

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The Australian Government has committed A$566.1m ($365.8m) to identify new mineral deposits and energy sources, a move aimed at bolstering the nation’s future economic and industrial growth. 

This investment is part of a broader focus on resources in the upcoming Budget, with the objective of fully mapping Australia’s resources over the next ten years, starting in 2024–25. 

Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: “There is no nation on Earth better placed than Australia to achieve our goal of moving toward a clean energy future. This investment highlights my government’s commitment to building a secure and sustainable future for all Australians. By investing significantly in geoscience, we can boost our progress towards net zero.” 

The initiative, led by Geoscience Australia, will deploy the country’s leading geoscientists to comprehensively chart Australia’s resources, supporting the government’s Future Made in Australia policy. 

This long-term investment is designed to generate data, maps and tools that will guide new discoveries and sustain the economy, while also creating secure jobs for the current and future workforce.

9 May

Queensland invests A$20m into Mt Carbine tungsten mine

Australia’s EQ Resources has secured a three-year funding facility of up to A$20m ($13.1m) from government owned-Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). The loan is set to fast-track EQR’s expansion plans at Mt Carbine tungsten mine in  Queensland. 

QIC state chief investment officer Allison Hill said: “Securing additional tungsten mineralisation will strengthen Queensland’s position as a significant contributor to global critical minerals supply chains. There are relatively few mines globally in a position to fill anticipated supply-demand gaps for tungsten as existing outputs are challenged and demand for clean energy technologies grows.” 

This funding comes from the QIC-managed Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund. An initial $12m will be directed towards doubling the mine’s processing capacity and initiating underground drill testing, while another $8m will further underground drill testing and commence underground trial mining.

14 May

Horizon Minerals seals gold toll milling agreement with FMR

Horizon Minerals has announced a binding toll milling agreement (TMA) with FMR Investments for the treatment of 200,000 tonnes (t) of gold ore from its Cannon underground project in WA. 

The processing is scheduled to commence in the December 2024 quarter at FMR’s Greenfields Mill. 

This TMA stipulates that Horizon will oversee contract mining and the transportation of ore from Cannon to the Greenfields Mill, which has a capacity of one million tonnes (mt) per annum and is situated 67km from the project. The processing of the agreed 200,000t of ore will span eight months. 

This agreement includes competitive treatment rates and requires Horizon to pay processing costs upfront before the value of the refined gold is transferred from FMR’s metal account to Horizon at the Perth Mint. Should Horizon fail to meet the delivery schedule, it risks losing the allocated tonnes for that month from the total of 200,000t.

10 May

Manuka gets funding commitments to start Mt Boppy production

Manuka Resources has secured firm commitments from investors for an A$8m ($5.29m) share placement, aimed at initiating production at the Mt Boppy Gold Mine by 2024. 

This placement involves issuing around 133.3 million new shares, with the first doré production expected in the fourth quarter of 2024. 

The new shares are priced at $0.06 each, with the price marking a 13% discount to the company’s stock close on 6 May 2024 and an 18.1% discount to the five-day volume-weighted average price. Each share comes with an option exercisable at the same price, expiring on 15 May 2026. 

Manuka noted that the placement will be conducted in three tranches, with the first consisting of around 87.8 million new shares. Tranches 2a and 2b will require shareholder approval. 

Funds from the capital raise will establish a gold processing facility and infrastructure at Mt Boppy, as well as covering tailings dam costs, working capital and contingencies.

9 May

Metals Australia announces contracts to support Quebec graphite project

Metals Australia has announced several contracts to advance the Lac Rainy high-grade flake graphite project in Quebec, Canada towards pre-feasibility. 

It signed a metallurgical and laboratory services contract with SGS Laboratories in Lakefield, Ontario in a bid to refine the project’s metallurgical processes. It also engaged Metpro Management as a specialist client advisor to supervise the metallurgical test work programmes, which are crucial for the design of a flake-graphite concentrate plant. 

A milestone for the project is the awarding of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) contract to Lycopodium, an integrated engineering, design and construction group. The PFS will focus on designing a plant capable of producing 100,000 tonnes per annum of flake-graphite concentrate, along with the necessary infrastructure. 

This study builds upon the positive outcomes of the 2021 scoping study, which highlighted the project’s potential for high operating margins over a projected 14-year mine life, based solely on the current resource.