The silica sands market is well-positioned for growth and has massive demand in significant silica sand-consuming sectors, like hydraulic fracturing, glassmaking, cement & tiles and foundry. This is likely to continue with global acceleration in construction investment and manufacturing output. Consequently, exploration and production companies are expected to be drawn towards prospects in the silica sands industry.
The Global Silica Sand Market is projected to register a CAGR of 6% by 2024. Tapping this opportunity is ASX-listed silica sands explorer, Perpetual Resources Limited (ASX:PEC), which aims to conduct exploration of this granular material for the production of high-grade silica for the domestic and international market.
PEC has four areas of interest, including Sargon, Eneabba & Eneabba North, and Beharra- all located close to the existing infrastructure and are great prospective for high purity silica sand and construction sand products.
Currently, the Company is focussed on its flagship Beharra Project where it has finally begun Aircore drilling. Let’s dive into the details-
PEC Commences Aircore Drilling at Beharra Project
On 24 March 2020, PEC announced the commencement of aircore drilling at the Beharra Project. Below are further details:
- Aircore resource definition drilling program has begun at Beharra
- The drilling program aims to define maiden Mineral Resource (in accordance with 2012 guidelines)
- The program aims to test ~4,900m of strike length of prospective formation, width of 1,600m and to an average depth of 10m to define the extent of silica sand
PEC Advancing Well at Beharra
The Beharra Silica Sands Project is located 300km north of Perth and 96km south of the port town of Geraldton in Western Australia. The flagship asset was acquired by the Company in February 2019 over an option after PEC analysed potential opportunities across a range of commodities.
The Beharra deposit is unique and its specific mineralogical characteristics determine the beneficiation required to achieve a saleable product. An add on is the availability of domestic skilled labour.
Lets glance through some key test work results:
- Initial mineralogical examination of beneficiated Beharra sand concentrate confirmed that the geochemistry results at the Project are very clean (with only minor slimes).
- Recent Beneficiation test work confirmed that the product at the Project exceeds specification for float and container glass applications.
- Up to 99.85% SiO2and considerable reduction of aluminium, iron and titanium, with overall product yield of 90% during the first round of beneficiation was reported.
- Further, the Project’s leaching and calcination test work reported up to 99.94% SiO2 (99.992% SiO2 + LOI) and further reduction of iron, aluminium and titanium.
Beharra in the Future
With Aircore drilling given the green signal, PEC will be able to undertake optimisation of physical separation methods (attrition, scrubbing, spirals) and leaching test work. Size fraction analysis remains underway and the initial product catalogue is expected to be finalised once results of the analysis are received.
Besides this, the Company is focussed on product marketing (based on the initial test work). The test work (underway) is inclusive of size fraction analysis of both raw and beneficiated products. A comprehensive specification sheet and a product catalogue will be formulated once it concludes. This will form PEC’s base for a product offtake strategy (initial discussions with end users).
The commencement of drilling at the Project is a huge development for the Company which is likely to garner attention of metals and mining enthusiasts and investors. Backed by a skilled management team, domestic workforce and a robust outlook wrt attractive market opportunity.
PEC last traded at $ 0.025 on 23 March 2020.
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