Published On: November 14th, 2022
The Arrowsmith North Silica Sand project, located ~270km north of Perth, Western Australia, is the company’s flagship project, scheduled to commence production in 2023.
VRX Silica MD Bruce Maluish said, “This updated Mineral Resource and Reserve is a culmination of significant metallurgical test work and evaluation of the Resource to determine the premium products we can produce. These products include sought-after foundry and glassmaking sand suitable for flat glass, including automobile and container glass. We have despatched large samples to several foundry and glassmaking companies in Korea, Japan and Taiwan for evaluation and subsequent discussions for offtake.”
Mineral Resource Estimate Update
The MRE shows an updated Mineral Resource of 768Mt @ 98.0% SiO2, including a Measured Resource of 10Mt @ 95.9% SiO2. The update is from extensive drill work in 130 close-spaced grade control holes.
In March 2021, VRX Silica completed a pre-mining activity by doing an extensive close-spaced grade control drilling program of 130 AC holes. It was done to enhance the certainty of resources during the initial years of mining and the production of bulk metallurgical composite samples for testing in the pilot plant.
Pilot Plant Test Work
VRX Silica is conducting a pilot test work program comprising critical process unit operations as per the present process design. These are elutriation (mimicking the constant density tank), attritioning, and a HydroFloat® pilot.
VRX has completed the pilot plant test work of a 3.3-tonne bulk metallurgical composite. In line with market assessment, a portfolio of 5 commercially viable and saleable products have been identified to be produced from Arrowsmith North. These five products have been considered to understand the quantity of saleable Ore Reserves.
Ore Reserve Estimate Update
The company declared 223Mt probable ore reserves in 2019, upgraded to 9.2Mt proved and 211.8 Mt probable ore reserves. VRX partnered with Cube Consulting to assess and complete the life of mine production planning, which helped update the ore reserve estimate for Arrowsmith North.
The upgradation of proved reserves has led to a robust and promising production plan of the final products for sale in the initial six years of mining. This will also help in proactive marketing to return the best economic outcomes. Five years after mine commencement, the grade control program and ore reserve updates will continue to follow.
The Way Forward
For this site, VRX Silica has completed all pre-production work in mining, processing and bulk material production for the finalised products. Moreover, the company is in the final stages of completing the engineering design of the processing plant and gaining mandatory regulatory approvals and clearances to commence the construction phase in 2023.
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