Focussed on producing high purity silica for domestic and international markets, Perpetual Resources Limited (ASX:PEC) is an explorer of silica sands, considered to be a structurally attractive commodity.
Silica sands are broadly used in lower purity and grade applications like construction sand, proppant sand used in well fracturing, and foundry sand. They find high demand in the glass making industry, wherein increasing purity silica (over 99.5 per cent SiO2) is used in semi-conductor fillers, LCD screens, and optical glass.
Tapping this lucrative opportunity, PEC is currently advancing its flagship asset - the Beharra Silica Sands Project.
Promising Results of Mineralogical and Petrological Examination
On 18 February 2020, PEC received the results of mineralogical and petrological examination of the beneficiated Beharra Silica Sands Product. The results were based on a comprehensive mineralogical and petrological analysis of the non-magnetic beneficiated Beharra Silica sand and the minus 0.075mm post attrition scrubbing residue product.
Under the examination of petrologist, Paul Ashley, the results demonstrate that-
- The non-magnetic, -1 +0.075mm product is “clean” and possibly comprises of more than 99 per cent quartz
- There is a presence of a small minority of grains with little discontinuous coating by super gene Fe oxide phases and rare tiny mineral inclusions such as rutile, zircon, ilmenite
- Total nonquartz components in the sample are approximately under 1 per cent
Initial test work had exhibited that the Beharra sand is very clean with minor slimes. Moreover, removal of heavy minerals by spiralling and magnetic separation is effective and applicable to the sand tested.
Objectives and Overview of the Examination
The primary objective of the examination was to mineralogically assess the samples with the focus on the occurrence of prospective impurities like heavy minerals, clay phases iron and other oxides.
The initial beneficiation test work of white silica sands completed by Nagrom Metallurgical Analytical Laboratories (Perth) supported the ability of silica sand from Beharra to be substantially upgraded through the utilisation of standard gravitational and physical separation methods. Interestingly, the final product produced conformed the specifications fit for glass manufacturing industries.
First round of beneficiation reported results of up to 99.85 per cent SiO2 and significant reduction of iron, aluminium and titanium, with overall product yield of 90 per cent.
Beharra Silica Sands Project
Located in Western Australia, the Project was acquired by PEC in February 2019 over an option, after appraising several potential opportunities across a range of commodities. The Project seemed to be highly attractive, propelling PEC to move to complete ownership.
Exploration activities commenced quickly, with initial desktop mapping suggesting the potential of high-grade silica sand formation at the Project location. PEC has also conducted an initial auger program along with preliminary metallurgical studies and is soon to conduct a maiden Aircore drilling program along with defining a JORC complaint resource.
Below are few attractions of Beharra-
PEC’s 2020 Pipeline
FY20 is expected to be chock-full of rapid exploration activities, thereby a probable exciting year for shareholders. The company aims to advance the detailed drilling and metallurgical test work with greater certainty on the quality of project mineralisation.
Aircore drill planning and permitting remains underway to test the extents of high-grade silica mineralisation.
PEC will focus on unlocking requisites of logistics solutions via formal agreements. Potential sales relationships and end-users will be tapped. Together, these developments are likely to aid PEC into funding and building a project.
Besides these intentions, PEC will focus on expanding its existing project portfolio of silica sand wherever possible. It has already announced a few additional option agreements to extend the landholding near the Beharra Project.
PEC last quoted $ 0.037 on the ASX after market close on 18 February 2020, with a market capitalisation of $ 11.76 million. It has generated returns of 8.82 per cent in the last three months.
At the back of Beharra Project developments, a robust operational pipeline and a well-equipped team, PEC seems to be on the right path to unlock the vast potential of silica sands.
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