Big Picture – A Deep Dive Examination of W Resources PLC
W Resources PLC Snapshot
W Resources strategy is to build a European mining company focussed on delivering long term production of tungsten, a key strategic metal with strong market fundamentals.
With a focus on building a world class tungsten company, its flagship project, La Parrilla in Spain is one of the world’s largest tungsten mines, which is in production with ramp up to increase production completing in Q3 2019 which has been funded by BlackRock.
Demand for tungsten remains high and with tight supply, W is well positioned to benefit from the continued demand and higher prices, with offtake agreements already in place on La Parrilla. Importantly, the predicted supply shortages are expected to result in upwards trending prices with market forecasts of between US$445/mtu and US$530/mtu by 2023.
W has four further projects in Portugal, two tungsten projects Régua and Tarouca; the CAA Portalegre gold/copper project and the Monforte-Tinoca copper project.
The focus for 2019 is scaling up production at La Parrilla and the development of Régua.
La Parrilla is a large scale, low-cost, long life Tungsten and Tin Mine.
The project has an Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (“JORC”) compliant resources total 49 million tonnes (“mt”) at a grade of 998 parts per million (“ppm”) tungsten trioxide (“WO3“) and JORC compliant reserves of 29.8mt at a diluted grade of 931ppm WO3.
With its core infrastructure in place, the site is accessed directly from the highway along a 3km asphalt road and is serviced by electricity and water. Importantly, the mine is located within a short trucking distance from both the Atlantic and Mediterranean ports.
Production started in December 2018 and with financing and key contracts all in place, development work is on track. The ramp-up phase, to mine 2 mtpa of Run of Mine and produce approximately 2,700 tonnes of tungsten concentrate and 500t of tin (Sn) concentrate per annum, is near completion.
- JORC Resource upgrade completed with Maiden JORC Reserves, further underpinning the strong fundamentals of La Parrilla
- Key contracts awarded for the Jig & Mill, Concentrator and Crusher
- Financial Investment Decision Report reaffirmed the project as a large, long life, low-cost tungsten and tin mine
- US$35m debt funding completed with BlackRock in February 2018
- Grant of €5.3m from Extremadura Regional Government to W’s 100% owned subsidiary, Iberian Resources Spain SL in March 2018
- Offtake agreements secured with European and US customers
- Initial Production commenced in December 2018
Régua has a current Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee compliant mineral resource of 5.46 million tonnes (“mt”) at a grade of 0.28% tungsten trioxide (“WO3“), with an indicated resource of 3.76mt at a grade of 0.304% WO3.
The Mine is on-track targeting first ore in 2019. Régua will be a low cost Mine as W is able to utilise existing adits and the crushing plant which is already in place. This will increase W Resources tungsten production profile to over 3,800 tpa.
Development & Key Milestones
Régua’s high ROM grade (at greater than 0.3% WO3) and proximity to a crushing facility are likely to prove beneficial to the project economics.
The Régua deposit remains open at depth and on all sides, with significant potential to boost the resource growth to the northwest including a 10m thick tungsten intersection.
In 2015, trench sampling at the Tarouca project showed high-grade tungsten results with 15 out of 126 samples exceeding 0.5% WO3, including 0.8 m at 11.4% WO3 (TTR063). Together with the 15 holes drilled in 2014, this confirms an outstanding exploration target in the north eastern area of the licence.
Development & Key Milestones
In April 2018, the team carried out a month-long RC drilling programme including 29 holes with 1,515 metres of total drilling, completed in depths of 5 to 70 metres. This identified very high tungsten grade intersections, including 1 metre at 2.851% WO3 (TARC011) and 3 metres at 1.165% WO3 (TARCO14). Over 11 assays reported over 1% WO3. The RC holes were drilled at an angle to the primary strike and the drilling programme has enabled the team to model the tungsten resource.
The results provide greater clarity on the geological structure and the potential to follow grade. The next step will be resource modelling with a view to prepare a trial mine application in 2019.
Tarouca is just 45km from Régua and has the potential to enhance and expand the Régua development.
CAA / Portalegre covers a total of 289.75km², and includes the São Martinho Gold Deposit, the Mosteiros gold project and the Assumar gold prospect.
The focus has been on the São Martinho Gold Deposit where a maiden Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (“JORC”) resource was completed by Golder Associates in June 2016 which confirmed an Indicated Resource estimate of 3Mt at 1.04g/t gold, which equates to 111,987oz in contained gold.
Development and Key Milestones
Results from the drilling campaign in 2017 provided very promising results with a thick intersection of over 55m of gold at 2.34g/t. These results provide a solid base to drive extension drilling with the potential for a materially larger resource.
In Q2 2018, the Portuguese technical team commenced a 15 hole, 2,000m RC drilling programme with a view to materially increase the JORC resource.
Initial results were received in July 2018, which highlighted continued strong gold intersections, enabling the team to further delineate the deposit. The evaluation work on this programme remains ongoing.
The overall results of the RC drilling campaign will form part of the update for the upgrade to the JORC compliant mineral resource estimate.
In November, the Company appointed SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd to complete the upgraded São Martinho gold deposit resource estimate.
The Monforte-Tinoca Copper exploration licence, which contains the Tinoca and Azeiteiros former copper mines, was granted to W in July 2016. Geophysics surveys were carried out in 2018 using both Induced Polarisation / Electric Resistivity and Transient Electromagnetics methods across the target Copper zones. The RC drilling (1,500m in total) completed mid-year yielded limited results and as a result W has decided to discontinue this exploration licence and focus its resources on the higher value Gold and Tungsten opportunities in Portugal.
Spain and Portugal
Michael Masterman - Chairman
Michael is co-founder of W Resources Plc and has an exceptional track record in establishing and financing new resources companies. In 2010, Michael took on an Executive role with Fortescue Metals Groups overseeing the FMG Iron Bridge iron ore company and completed the US$1.15bn sale of a 31% interest in the project to Formosa Plastics Group.
He was CFO and Executive Director of Anaconda Nickel (now Minara Resources). Michael oversaw the financing of the US$1.2 billion Murrin Murrin Nickel and Cobalt project in Western Australia, involving the negotiation of a US$220m joint venture agreement with Glencore International and the raising of US$420m in project finance from a US capital markets issue – the first of its kind for a green fields mining project. Prior to joining Anaconda Nickel, he spent 8 years at McKinsey & Company serving major international resources companies principally in the area of strategy and development.
He is a founding shareholder at Fortescue Metals Group, Po Valley Energy and Atacama Metals.
Byron Pirola - Non-Executive Director
Byron is Managing Director of Port Jackson Partners Limited, a Sydney based strategy management consulting firm. Prior to joining Port Jackson Partners in 1992, Byron spent six years with McKinsey & Company working out of the Sydney, New York and London Offices and across the Asian Region. He has extensive experience in advising CEOs and boards of both large public and small developing companies across a wide range of industries and geographies. Byron is a Non-Executive Director of Po Valley Energy Limited.
David Garland - Non-Executive Director
David is the former General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer of Dominion Petroleum Limited (an oil and gas exploration company then listed on the LSE), Legal Advisor to Hague and London Oil plc (an oil and gas exploration company listed on the LSE) and non-executive chairman of Saffron Energy plc (an oil and gas exploration company listed on the LSE). Before joining Dominion, he had practised as a barrister for 18 years from Brick Court Chambers, a leading commercial barristers’ chambers in London. David currently provides flexible legal counsel services to various private and listed companies through The Legal Director Limited.
James Argalas - Non-Executive Director
James has extensive experience in the financial and investment sectors. In 2006, he founded Presidio Union, LLC, a company that specialises in providing financial analysis and corporate advisory services to early stage growth companies and their investors, taking an active role in developing ventures that have the potential to create significant shareholder value. Prior to founding Presidio Union, James was a Principal at Watershed Asset Management and NM Rothschild, where he was responsible for investments in distressed credit, liquidations, real estate, special situations, and debt and equity investments in Asia-Pacific. Prior to Watershed, James was an Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company and an Associate at Goldman Sachs. With a Master of Business Administration degree from Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern University) with majors in Finance, Entrepreneurship and International Business. James also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Pablo Neira - Non-Executive Director
Pablo brings 30+ years of international experience specialising in managing listed industrial manufacturing companies and family office direct investments. He currently works with Casa Grande de Cartagena, family office of several members of Del Pino family, involved with direct investments. Pablo is former CEO of Urbar, a listed industrial group that manufactures equipment for multiple sectors, including raw materials, minerals and quarries; as well as turn-key waste treatment plants. Prior to Urbar, Pablo was Corporate Services General Manager at Valdepesa Textil, a global retail textile company PE backed, and Finance Director at Global Steel Wire Group, a Madrid listed steel wire rod manufacturer. Prior to joining Global Steel Wire Group, he was Manager at A.T. Kearney in New York and at the Swedish group Mölnlycke as Controller for southern Europe. Pablo has broad-based experience managing operations across international and cultural boundaries and brings in depth finance experience under listed companies. He holds a BS in Economics and a Harvard MBA. He is professor at IE Business School.
Fernando de la Fuente - Technical Advisor
Fernando holds a B.Sc. in Geology and a MSc in Geology from the University of Granada in Spain and has over than 38 years experience in the Exploration and Mining Geology industry in Europe, Africa and North America and Latin America. He is also a member of the Spanish College of Geologists (Number 49), the Spanish Society of Mineralogy, founder member of the Spanish Society of Geology, member of the Spanish Association of Applied Geology to Mineral Deposits, member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Inc., member of PDAC. He is Managing Director and main shareholder of Fernando de la Fuente Consultores, S.L. a mining exploration and geological consulting company with projects in Burkina Faso, Canada, Mozambique, Morocco, Portugal, Dominican Republic and in Spain for several international and Spanish companies and for gold, PGM, base metals, tungsten, tin, tantalum-lithium-caesium, uranium, industrial minerals, dimension stones. Hydrogeological projects. Geotechnical studies. He was the Regional Manager for Anglo American Corporation of South Africa in West Africa and has also worked for Rio Algom and Phelps Dodge. Fernando is a “qualified technical person” in respect of the AIM Rules for Companies.
Aaron Szumilak - Development Manager
Aaron is a mechanical and process engineer with 10 years’ experience in mineral processing and resource development. He carries field experience in operational and technical services roles presenting a broad range of process skills. Aaron has worked for Fortescue Metals Group, Syncrude and Composites Innovation Centre.
Juan Garcia Valledor - La Parrilla Operations Manager
Juan is a Mining Engineer with 25 years of experience in management of industrial processing plants and design, planning, management and rehabilitation of open pit mines. Juan was Operations Manager for the Rio Tinto and Imerys groups talc ore mining and processing operations in Spain, and Mining & Safety Manager in the development of the reopening project of Alquife iron ore open pit in Granada, Spain.
Tomás Bragado - La Parrilla Plant Manager
Tomás is a Mining Engineer who graduated from the University of Oviedo in Spain. He has 20 years experience in engineering, construction and mining companies. He worked as a metallurgist in the gold, copper and silver operation “El Valle” in the north of Spain, and more recently as Plant Manager in the nickel and copper “Aguablanca” operation with Lundin Mining.
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