Published On: November 2nd, 2023
VRX Silica Limited (ASX:VRX) (“VRX Silica” or “Company”) led by Managing Director Mr Bruce Maluish, is a pure-play silica sand company in Western Australia, focusing on five long-term, high-quality silica sand projects. VRX Silica is significantly progressing in developing its portfolio, comprising five premium, high-purity, extended-life silica sand projects. These include the Arrowsmith North and Arrowsmith Central Silica Sand Projects, located near Eneabba, south of Geraldton, and the Muchea Silica Sand Project, approximately 50 kilometres north of Perth. Additionally, the Company is advancing the Boyatup Silica Sand Project, which is about 100 kilometres east of Esperance. The Company owns all of these Projects, strategically located within Western Australia. In its September 2023 Quarterly Activity Report, VRX Silica highlighted some noteworthy advancements made during the quarter.
Figure 1: VRX Projects Locations
Table of Contents
Key Developments in the Environmental Approval Process for Arrowsmith North
In June 2023, VRX Silica announced that the Environmental Review Document (ERD) for Arrowsmith North, a mine development area with the potential for up to 30 years of enormous economic contribution, has been accepted by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) for publication. The ERD seeks approval for a mine development area that could have a significant impact on national environmental significance. VRX Silica has been conducting extensive environmental studies since 2017 to secure approvals for Arrowsmith North development, which was referred to the EPA for assessment under the 1986 Environmental Protection Act.
VRX Silica submitted an Environmental Scoping Document to the EPA in September 2021, approved in March 2022. In May, VRX Silica lodged the first draft Environmental Impact Recommendation. The EPA published the final ERD for a four-week PER, which commenced on 19th June 2023.
During September 2023, DWER provided VRX Silica with a summary of public submissions received. VRX has now taken a significant step forward by lodging its response to the public submissions, underlining VRX Silica’s commitment to environmental responsibility and accountability.
A Recent Revision To The Mineral Resource Estimate For The Arrowsmith Brand
VRX Silica has announced an extension to its JORC 2012 compliant resources at the Arrowsmith area with a new mining lease at the Arrowsmith Brand Silica Sand Project, located 270 km north of Perth. The new resource, M70/1418, covering 1,994 Ha, is contiguous and bounded by the Brand Highway road reserve. The combined resources offer a future production pipeline, utilising infrastructure to be developed at Arrowsmith North.
Figure 2: Arrowsmith North – Mineral Resources
A Deeper Dive into Arrowsmith Brand
Arrowsmith Brand is an additional silica sand project in the Arrowsmith North mineral resource area outside the near-term development pipeline. VRX Silica split Arrowsmith North at the southern boundary of the granted mining lease M70/1389 and extended the resource by drilling to the south. In December 2022, VRX Silica completed a vacuum drilling program at Arrowsmith North, drilling 68 holes for 786m and 49 holes for 656m on M70/1389, infilling and extending the prior reported MRE (Mineral Resource Estimate) for Arrowsmith North.
The Arrowsmith Brand MRE reports drilling on an 800m x 800m grid, defining a band of yellow and white sand. Potential silica sand products suit industries like flat, automobile, and container glass manufacturing. VRX Silica lodged a mining lease application in August 2022, granted in July 2023. Activities include environmental surveys, metallurgical test work, marketing studies, and mine planning.
Figure 4: December 2022 Drill hole locations
The Latest News On Design And Engineering
VRX Silica has completed material engineering work for a 2 million tonne yearly silica sand processing plant at Arrowsmith North. The design incorporates innovative processing techniques, allowing for multiple product production. The company has also progressed with detailed engineering from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in Australia and overseas. VRX Silica has also commissioned the manufacture of a Modified Cat 980 Bucket and Quick Hitch for VDT trials at Muchea.
What is the $2 million investment attraction fund grant?
In July 2023, VRX Silica received confirmation from the Western Australian State Government that its $2 million grant application under the Investment Attraction Fund (IAF) has been approved. The grant is part of the State Government’s Diversify WA initiative, which aims to create secure, quality jobs, grow the economy, and attract new investment. VRX Silica‘s project proposes developing a high-purity quartz (HPQ) flour manufacturing process and pilot plant in Western Australia, which, if successful, will lead to the development of a larger commercial plant for large-scale processing. The key objectives of the project include determining key elements for successful commercialisation, completing a pre-feasibility study, and establishing a full-scale manufacturing plant to process the resource into high-purity quartz flour. The HPQ market is growing but with a relatively small supplier base. VRX Silica is initially investigating the potential for the coarse material produced from Muchea sand, which may meet the required specifications.
Disclosure on GEP as per September 2023 Quarter.
VRX Silica has been granted a Geothermal Exploration Permit (GEP) for its Dandaragan Geothermal Project, 8 blocks north of Perth, Western Australia. The Project aims to produce long-term renewable energy and green hydrogen for glass manufacturing. The Dandaragan GEP area includes the Walyering gas field under development by the EP447 Joint Venture between Strike Energy (55%) and Talon Energy (45%).
About Mr Bruce Maluish, Managing Director of VRX Silica Limited
Mr Bruce Maluish, the Managing Director of VRX Silica Limited, boasts an extensive career with over four decades of experience. Throughout his professional career, Mr Bruce Maluish has occupied prominent leadership positions in companies such as the Monarch Group of Companies, Abelle, Forsyth Mining, Matilda Minerals, and Hill 50. He is widely recognised within the industry for his expertise in managing and overseeing various critical aspects of business operations, such as initiating and promoting initial public offerings (IPOs) from the early stages of exploration to achieving full-scale production.
- In August 2023, the Company announced a $3 million capital raising, including a $1.5 million Placement and a $1.5 million SPP, with subscribers entitled to one free-attaching option per share.
- The SPP offered eligible shareholders the chance to apply for up to $30,000 worth of new shares, with applications totalling $1.25 million, issued on 29 September 2023.
- The recent announcement on environmental approvals signifies the Company’s ability to progress its silica sand projects and promises a prosperous future.
- As of November 1, 2023, VRX Silica’s share price stood at AUD 0.115 per share, with an average 52-week stock trading range between AUD 0.180 to AUD 0.085 per share.
- VRX Silica has 583.38 million shares on issue and a market capitalisation of approximately AUD 67.09 million as of November 1, 2023.
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