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Pioneer Resources gains approval for mining proposal at Sinclair caesium deposit

The Department of Mines, Industrial Relations and Safety has given approval for the mine plan, mine closure plan and project management plan.

map showing location of mining deposit in Western Australia
The Pioneer Dome project is south of Kalgoorlie

Pioneer Resources Ltd (ASX:PIO) has received approval for its mining proposal at the Sinclair Zone caesium deposit within its Pioneer Dome project in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields.

The preferred mining contractor has been notified and infrastructure establishment and ground preparations are due to start in August.

READ: Pioneer Resources’ caesium deposit continues to deliver ahead of mineral resource upgrade

Preparations will involve construction of site access; mobilisation of site buildings; site clearing; soil stockpiles; and first blast drilling.

The mine fleet mobilisation is planned for September.

Pioneer managing director David Crook said: “With the receipt of the mining proposal and project management plan approvals, the company will complete final documentation with the state and contractors.”

Crook said Pioneer would be working towards a commencement of mining operation start-date by the end of this quarter.

Australia’s first caesium deposit

The Sinclair discovery, Australia’s first caesium deposit, was reported by Pioneer in early 2017 and is considered to be prospective for further discoveries.

Caesium is found within the mineral pollucite at the deposit, which is high value and has a constrained global supply.

The primary use of pollucite is in the manufacture of caesium formate brine used as an additive to drill fluids in high temperature and high pressure oil and gas drilling.

Offtake agreement in place

Pioneer entered into a binding offtake and loan facility agreement with Cabot Corporation (NYSE:CBT) in June for the sale and purchase of 100% of direct shipping pollucite ore (DSO) extracted from the Sinclair deposit.

As part of the agreement, Cabot will provide funding in the form of an interest-free US$4.8 million loan to be put towards the development and mining costs of Sinclair.

The loan will be repaid by Pioneer through the delivery of DSO pollucite from the mine, or by cash settlement subject to certain conditions.

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