Published On: July 21st, 2023
VRX Silica Limited (ASX: VRX) (VRX) secures AUD 2 million grant from Western Australian State Government. The grant funding is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis under the Investment Attraction Fund (IAF) and has been approved by Financial Assistance Agreement (FAA). The Project will investigate the potential to develop a High Purity Quartz (HPQ) flour manufacturing process and pilot plant in Western Australia. Successful efforts will lead to the development of a commercial processing plant.
Figure 1: Summary Of Funding Milestones
How VRX Embrace the Opportunity
In July 2019, the Western Australia State Government introduced “Diversified WA,” which serves as an economic development plan for the State. The Government took proactive measures to realise its vision of a substantial and diversified economy that generates high-quality employment opportunities through an investment program targeting various industries. The Government strategically aligns specific sectors with the State’s strengths to drive economic growth.
The IAF facilitates the “Diversified WA” by providing grants and incentives.
In May 2022, VRX submitted an initial application for stage 1 of the scheme (Expressions of Interest), and in late August 2022, they were selected and invited to advance to stage 2. A comprehensive application was submitted in October 2022. On July 18th, 2023, the State Government approved the Company’s funding application and finalised the FAA.
Western Australian Government Initiative
The Investment Attraction Fund (IAF) is a Western Australian Government initiative to promote economic diversity. According to State Government, the massive grant of AUD 148 million to 40 job-creating diversification projects across the State through its signature Investment Attraction Fund will boost the State’s economy. Through this initiative, the Government focuses on sectors like green energy, mining services, primary industries and health sciences. These projects aim to capitalise on the State’s strengths and prospects, fostering growth.
VRX Silica Sand Project Description
VRX intends to develop a 99.999% (5N: 5Nines) purity Quartz flour manufacturing process and tailor it to establish manufacturing plants, commercial partners, and associated supply chains. The key objective is to commercialise the manufacturing process of High Purity Quartz flour in Western Australia. This will involve sourcing low-quality quartz from mechanical or chemical processes.
Three main objectives for the Project are:
- Determining key elements that can lead to the commercialisation of the manufacturing process to beneficiate the quality of the lower purity quartz to higher silica grade
- Complete a pre-feasibility study to determine the grade of quartz and processing methods that could be manufactured from existing grade to high-purity quartz flour
- Establish a full-scale manufacturing plant to produce quartz flour utilising the work from previous objectives, test work, and marketing
Figure 2: Silica Sand Processing Plant Flow Chart
Currently, HPQ is growing in demand with a relatively small supplier base.
VRX intends to investigate the potential of coarse material from the Muchea Silica Sand Project. Recent pilot work on a 2.2-tonne bulk sample confirms that some project ore may meet the required specification. According to VRX, the quality of 4N (99.99% SiO2 purity) would still allow a wide range of high-demand products to have a significant value. This includes using feed material for several industries and downstream products such as paint fillers, fibreglass, water purity media, and silica flour to produce LCDs and silica gels.
Spruce Pine pegmatite deposit in North Carolina is a resource for the finest quartz. Sibelco and The Quartz Corporation mine the deposit and process the high-purity quartz. They account for around 80% of world production, with Sibelco producing around 70%, with around 15% coming from Chinese and Russian producers.
About VRX Silica
VRX Silica Limited is the critical pure-play Silica Sand mining Company in Western Australia. The Company, led by MD Bruce Maluish and a highly experienced management team, is positioned to meet rising global Silica Sand demand. The Company is advancing its portfolio by having high-quality silica-sand projects, namely, the Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project, the Arrowsmith Central Silica Project, and the Muchea Silica Sand Project.
Figure 3: Location of VRX Silica’s Projects
About Managing Director Mr Bruce Maluish
Mr Bruce Maluish, Managing Director of VRX Silica, has 40 years of experience and knowledge working in metals and mining sectors such as gold, nickel, and mineral sands. He has played a vital role and held key positions in organisations such as Matilda Minerals, Abelle, Hills 50, etc. He is renowned for his diverse expertise, which ranges from setting up and marketing IPOs to the identification of projects and negotiations with clients in Asian markets.
VRX Managing Director Mr Bruce Maluish Commented, “The Project is a consequence of the metallurgical test work on silica sand that VRX has conducted over the last few years. The Company has developed a thorough understanding of the characteristics of each deposit and how these Projects can produce the most in-demand silica products. This is another opportunity to supply products into a niche market and add further value to our Silica Sand Projects.”
- VRX Silica’s share price stood at AUD 0.170 per share as of July 18th, 2023, with an average 52-week range of AUD 0.172 to AUD 0.150 per share
- The Company has a market capitalisation of AUD 84.06 million as of July 18th, 2023
- A recent AUD 2 million grant award from Government marks the importance of Silica Sand products and the potential of VRX in bolstering Western Australia’s Economy
- The Company is 100% owner of high-value Silica Sand Projects, Arrowsmith (North, Brand and Central), Muchea and Boyatup in Western Australia in the Tier 1 mining region. All of the Projects have multi-decade-scale contiguous sand deposits with significant high-grade resources
- HPQ products achieve prices up to USD 9,500/tonne
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