Written by 1:03 pm Australia, Company - Clients, Mining, Top Stories, VRX Silica

VRX Silica announces its March 2023 Quarterly Activity Report: Shows Impressive Signs of Progress in Different Projects

vrx-silica-announces-its-march-2023

VRX Silica Limited (ASX: VRX) (VRX or Company) releases its March 2023 quarterly activity report showing substantial progress in projects like Arrowsmith North, Muchea, Arrowsmith Central, and Boyatup silica sand projects. 

It’s worth highlighting that Silica Sand, a crucial element in producing glass and other industrial uses, is witnessing a global demand increase, particularly in the Asia-Pacific area.

VRX Silica Limited, the top ASX-listed firm in Australia with several world-class Silica Sand Projects, is leading the charge. These projects provide long-term export opportunities for silica sand and the possibility of local glass production and associated industries in Western Australia. VRX has implemented a well-planned growth strategy, starting with Arrowsmith North, followed by Muchea, Arrowsmith Central, and Boyatup silica sand projects. Since 2017, the company has made significant strides, securing regulatory approvals, conducting extensive studies, and designing cutting-edge processing facilities. They have granted mining leases and infrastructure development is underway.

Progress in Silica Sand Projects

During the first quarter of 2023, VRX Silica Limited achieved steady progress in its Silica Sand Projects situated in Western Australia. The Company performed various development progress at its world class sites, including Arrowsmith North, Arrowsmith Central, Muchea, and Boyatup. 

  • Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project

The Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project has 221 million tonnes of Proved and Probable Ore Reserve (9.2 million tonnes Proved and 212 million tonnes Probable). Production will begin at Arrowsmith North early 2024, subject to final environmental approval.

According to the report, the Company is developing a customised 2 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) processing plant, incorporating a patented process circuit. VRX has already identified critical equipment and has drafted tender documents to ensure a timely construction program at Arrowsmith North mine upon approval. However, due to delays in the approvals process affecting the resources industry in Western Australia, the tender process for major equipment has been postponed until a more precise start date is determined. Nevertheless, the Company has engaged Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) through previous tenders and will request updated tenders from them. The Company has completed the processing circuit design, incorporating multiple products, and finalised the detailed engineering required for construction across various disciplines. It has also constructed process water and monitoring bores to access water from the Yarragadee North deep aquifer. The water abstraction licence is subject to the pending environmental approval.

A letter of intent (LOI) has been signed with ResourcesWA to explore a power supply solution utilising gas from a local wellhead. This potential solution involves establishing a powerhouse at the wellhead site with gas reciprocating engines and a dedicated transmission line to the Arrowsmith North site. 

The Company has access to the adjacent Brand Highway and has an approved road intersection design to transport silica sand products via truck in the short term. 

Extensive environmental studies have been conducted on all silica sand projects to meet state and federal regulatory requirements for approval assessments. The initial Environmental Review Document (ERD) for Arrowsmith North was lodged with the EPA in May 2022, followed by a revised ERD and response table in December 2022. A further request in April 2023 pertains to flora collecting, Herbarium vouchers, Index of Biodiversity Surveys for Assessments (IBSA) submissions, flora naming consistency, and adding amended appendices in the final ERD. 

Arrowsmith North - Ore Reserves

Figure 1: Arrowsmith North: Updated Ore Reserve Estimates 

  • Arrowsmith Central Silica Sand Project

The Arrowsmith Central project is the Company’s second project focused on developing Silica Sand projects. The project has progressed to the next stage of the environmental approval process with the EPA. On June 20th,  2022, the Company submitted an Environmental Scoping Document outlining the necessary environmental studies to assess the project. This submission of the ESD is an essential step in the EPA’s administrative procedures for evaluating the environmental impact of Arrowsmith Central. The ESD is being reviewed, and the Company is actively seeking feedback from the EPA. The approval process still needs to have a set timeline.

VRX has also completed construction of the required water bore and monitoring bores for the project. These bores are intended to provide a water supply for the proposed processing plant at Arrowsmith Central, completed as of September 6th, 2022. 

  • Muchea Silica Sand Project

The Muchea silica sand project is on track to replicate the approvals process for the Arrowsmith North undertaking. The Muchea silica sand project boasts exceptional quality and very low iron content, which has generated substantial interest from numerous Asian markets. The Company has received an overwhelming number of inquiries about the product, further cementing its potential for high demand shortly. In spring 2022, studies were conducted on the flora and vegetation in the designated 450-hectare priority area. The final environmental report was received in early 2023 and will serve as the basis for the EPA Proposal Referral for the Muchea Silica Sand Project.

Muchea Silica Sand Project

Figure 2: Muchea Silica Sand Project Mining Areas

  • Boyatup Silica Sand Project

Boyatup has identified potential products, and a study is underway to investigate the market for them. These products differ from the Company’s other projects and aim to target a new market without competing with existing ones. 

Boyatup Silica Sand Project

Figure 3: Boyatup Silica Sand Project Exploration Licences

Other initiatives

VRX has applied for Geothermal Exploration Permits in areas adjacent to their Arrowsmith North and Arrowsmith Central silica sand holdings, in line with their green energy objectives. 

In May 2022, VRX submitted a preliminary application under Stage 1 of the WA Investment Attraction Fund, shortlisted in October 2022, and may receive financial support through grants and other incentives if successful. 

In April 2022, the Company also applied for an R&D Tax Incentive Application with AusIndustry. An additional claim for the financial year ending June 2022 for metallurgical test work research and development is underway.

About VRX Silica Managing Director Bruce Maluish

VRX Silica Managing Director, Mr Bruce Maluish, possesses over 35 years of experience in the mining industry. His expertise spans diverse resource sectors, including gold, nickel, and mineral sands, and he has worked on projects involving both open pit and underground mining. He has held various leadership positions, including MD and General Manager, within notable organisations like the Monarch Group of Companies, Matilda Minerals, Abelle, Hill 50, and Forsyth Mining.

VRX Silica Managing Director Bruce Maluish

Figure 4: VRX Silica Managing Director Bruce Maluish

Investors Outlook

  • VRX Silica’s share price was AUD 0.10 per share as of April 29th, 2023, and the stock volume (4-week average) was 445,022
  • As of April 29th, 2023, the market capitalisation of VRX Silica was more than AUD 56 million
  • VRX Silica had 560.40 million shares on issue as of the date April 29th, 2023
  • The March 2023 Quarterly Activity Report of the Company has shown significant signs of progress in its different silica sand projects, such as Arrowsmith North, Muchea, Arrowsmith Central, and Boyatup

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