EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT

VRX revises larger silica resource

MINING veteran Bruce Maluish’s VRX Silica is still a year into its environmental approval process for its development with no end date in sight, but it isn’t slowing efforts to expand the scale of its resources.

 The site of the planned Arrowsmith developments

The site of the planned Arrowsmith developments

The new Arrowsmith Brand resource adds 268 million tonnes grading 96.7% silica to VRX's overall resource endowment, but includes a portion of the resource removed from its main Arrowsmith North deposit for a total 523Mt at 97.3%.
 
Maluish, who is promoting the company in Sydney today, described Arrowsmith Brand's development as "not a priority" given VRX has more than 100 years of prospective production ahead of it.
 
He said the decision to define a new resource area was due to extended timelines for mining approvals in Western Australia, and the potential to accelerate production to meet increased demand with the market.
 
Arrowsmith Brand sits beyond the southern boundary of the mining lease area for Arrowsmith North, which has been reduced to 513Mt at 98% due to the cut-off at the granted mining lease.
 
A mining lease over the new resource has been lodged.
 
After undertaking studies since it acquired its tenements, VRX lodged its initial environmental review documents for Arrowsmith North 12 months ago, and had been engaged in a back-and-forth process with the Western Australia's Environmental Protection Agency ever since, providing increasing amounts of information, as recently as last month.
 
If the EPA accepts the resubmitted documents a four-week public comment period will begin to feed into a further review process.
 
Operationally, VRX has readied itself for development, with the purchase of a feed trommel and vibrating screen that have been refurbished in Bunbury.
 
Revised capital cost estimates and a new definitive feasibility study for a 2Mtpa processing plant at Arrowsmith North are underway.
 
Arrowsmith Brand will likely follow VRX's second development, the higher purity Muchea project into production.
 
The company has more than 1.2Bt of resources across its now five projects, which also includes Arrowsmith Central and the earlier stage Boyatup project near Esperance. 
 
VRX has around A$3 million in cash remaining, and estimates it has cash to see is through for another 6-8 months.
 
Shares in the company have trended downwards since December 2020 when it was trading above 36c, and were last priced at 9.7c, valuing the company at $55 million.

 

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