Mineral explorer Element 25 Limited (ASX:E25) has released its Activities Report for the March Quarter 2020, wherein the company made some excellent progress across multiple work streams, notwithstanding the impact of the novel 2019 Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
March Quarter 2020 – Key Highlights
Given the restrictions been imposed due to Covid-19 pandemic, all of the Company staff and contractors have been observing social distancing measures and working from home wherever possible, keeping up with the government guidelines.
Element 25 continues to advance the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for its flagship Butcherbird High Purity Manganese Project to formulate a plan for the potential start of production at the Project via a low capex manganese concentrate export operation. The manganese concentrate opportunity is presenting a near term cashflow potential that would strengthen the Company’s balance sheet whilst complimenting its strategy to produce high-purity manganese including Electrolytic Manganese Metal (EMM) and High Purity Manganese Sulphate (HPMS) for lithium-ion battery (LIB) cathodes.
The ongoing PFS is expected to reveal a robust base case for the commercialisation of the manganese resource. Based on the key flowsheet components, Element 25 is sure about the project having a long life, low cost high purity manganese production hub producing EMM and HPMSM. Further, certain modifications in the flowsheet implementation strategy are expected to have a positive impact on capital and operating costs.
One of the critical outcomes of the work to date has been confirmation of the potential to beneficiate the Butcherbird ore utilising a cost-effective flowsheet, providing an opportunity to implement a staged development approach with a start-up manganese concentrate export operation.
Processing Methodology: The optimisation of the beneficiation circuit was successfully completed, and the beneficiation test work included crushing, screening, wet scrubbing, and ore sorting, which produced a commercially marketable 33%Mn concentrate product. In the meanwhile, the PFS is evaluating the opportunity for a low capital, accelerated cashflow generation under Stage 1 development of the Butcherbird Project.
- Power Generation: During the reporting period, the Company continued to collect continuous ten-minute wind and solar data via SODaR and Pyranometer equipment installed at site. Also, wind data has now been collected for eleven months and solar data for approximately eight months.
- Process Water: The Company also completed the first round of water exploration drilling at a prospective groundwater supply target identified to the south and east of the mining lease area. This includes the downstream extension of the Cenozoic basin and the associated superficial and palaeochannel aquifers. A total of 10 holes were completed under the drilling at this target, which was selected basis proximity to the mining lease, regional geology, surface topography, pastoral tenure and native title claim boundaries.Two aquifers were identified during the programme and they are expected to yield sufficient process water for the current development plans at the Project while subsequently pump tests will be carried out to confirm the capacities of the aquifers. In addition, five shallow (5m) holes (BBAC00193 to 197) were also drilled on the Butcherbird mining lease, filled with coarse gravel and would be later used to test the permeability of the proposed Tailings Storage Facility site.
- ARENA Sponsored IDE Investigations: The ARENA grant programme Phase 3 requires finalisation of the EMM electrowinning parameters and establishment of cathode pre-treatment protocols. During the quarter, the Company began testing of these on a quarter scale electrowinning cell using intermittent power, modelled on the site data profiles, with the results showing that electropolishing has been successful in smoothing the cathode and the work would now be take forward to the next steps. Currently, all laboratory work has been put on hold pending clearance by the University authorities given the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the literature review components of the programme have been completed during this downtime. IDE demonstration activities would recommence once the Covid-19 restrictions allow.
- Silverstream Royalty Sale: The Company executed a binding sale and purchase agreement with SilverStream SEZC dba Vox Royalty to dispose of a portfolio of royalties relating to several project areas at a value consideration of AUD 500,000 in SilverStream shares, subject to a number of conditions.
- Acuity Capital Funding Facility: Element 25 also entered into a Controlled Placement Agreement (CPA) with Acuity Capital to provide E25 with up to $ 2 million of standby equity capital over the coming 23-month period for development of the project.
The Company Board continues to monitor the situation and taking all steps as necessary to maintain safe working conditions while continuing with planned work programmes where it is safe to do so.
Stock Information: The market capitalisation of Element 25 is nearly AUD 15.65 million with ~ 92.03 million shares outstanding. The E25 stock ended the day at AUD 0.170 on 23 April 2020. E25 has generated a positive return of 70% over the last one month.