Ventnor Resources (ASX: VRX) has marked a major milestone with the West Australian Minister for Mines Bill Marmion granting Mining Leases for the Thaduna and Green Dragon copper project.
This places the company on track for a decision to mine in the September 2013 quarter.
Drilling results and a Resource upgrade for Thaduna are also expected to be released later in the current quarter.
Managing director Bruce Maluish the prompt granting of the Leases and connecting Miscellaneous Licenses was only possible with the cooperation of the Yugunga-Nya People throughout Native Title negotiations.
“That agreement was reached in four months since our original meeting, demonstrates the spirit of cooperation on both sides. Ventnor looks forward to working with the group as it moves toward the mining phase in the future,” he added.
The Native Title Agreement was reached in April 2013.
Mining Lease M52/1061 for Thaduna and Mining Lease M52/1060 for Green Dragon, which cover the previous Prospecting Licences P51/1253, 1254 and 1255 as well as P51/1256 respectively, will enable Ventnor to proceed with the development of the Thaduna/Green Dragon project as planned.
Ventnor was also granted Miscellaneous Licence L52/150, which applies to the area which covers the road connecting the Thaduna and Green Dragon Copper Projects as well as Miscellaneous Licence L52/149 for the area which covers the road connecting the project to the Neds Creek road 41 kilometres from the Great Northern Highway.
Thaduna/Green Dragon is located in the Doolgunna district of Western Australia and has a current Resource of 142,000 tonnes of contained copper and 945,000 ounces of contained silver.
Deep drilling of seven holes targeting the Thaduna Prospect to upgrade this to between 175,000 and 200,000 tonnes of contained copper was successful in intersecting zones of copper sulphides with assays expected in four to six weeks.
An extra four diamond drill holes were also completed in the shallow zones adjacent to the Thaduna pit to provide samples for metallurgical testwork.
Extra flat shallow holes are planned in to zones directly below the historic pit which will require a specialised drill rig.
Mineralisation at Thaduna remains open at depth and along strike.
A Bankable Feasibility Study is currently underway and is scheduled for completion in the September quarter 2013.
This will focus on detailed mine planning, metallurgical testwork, processing options, confirmed contract rates and operating cost reduction initiatives.
The Scoping Study completed in February had indicated the project will deliver attractive economics with capital expenditure estimated at $70 million and the average operating expenditure expected to be around $1.75 per pound.
This is based on a mine that will produce 15,000 tonnes of contained copper per annum over a 10 year mine life, with high recoveries and concentrate value.
Ventnor is finalising terms for the provision of secured loan facilities totalling $2.74 million.
This will provide it with the necessary funds to finalise capital raising requirements and continue discussion in relation to potential offtake arrangements.
With the approval likely to assist a decision to mine in September quarter 2013, drilling results and a Resource upgrade for Thaduna expected later in the current quarter there is plenty of news flow and catalysts for value accretion in the coming months. With the share price levelling out provides entry opportunities.
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