THE DRILL SERGEANT: Pioneer Resources (ASX: PIO) informed the market that recent drilling has identified a market-significant volume of potassium feldspar occurs above the company’s Sinclair Zone caesium deposit, at the company’s 100 per cent-held Pioneer dome project in Western Australia.
Pioneer Resources is currently towards opening the Sinclair Mine, an open pit to extract the Sinclair Zone caesium deposit which, subject to final approvals, is anticipated to commence during the current Quarter.
Pioneer established the economics of the Sinclair Mine on the sale of caesium only, however mining will also extract potassium feldspar, lithium minerals (petalite, lepidolite) and quartz.
Each mineral will be stockpiled separately, and separate commercial arrangements made for each.
Potassium feldspar is used in the manufacture of ceramics and glassware, especially in glazes for hardwearing tableware and floor tiles, and as a key component of advanced high-tolerance insulators and electro-ceramics.
It is an internationally traded mineral product with a nominal value US$50-100 per tonne (lump), depending on the point of sale, quality, consistency and end-use application.
Pioneer has set an Exploration Target at the Sinclair Pegmatite of between 500,000 tonnes and 750,000 tonnes of Potassium Feldspar (KFs), targeting A-Grade ceramic product specification with key element grade ranges.
“The observed geology and assay distributions indicate that there are likely to be several potassium feldspar products distinguishable by potassium (K), sodium (Na), aluminium (Al), alkali elements (Rb, Cs) and contaminant elements content,” Pioneer Resources said in its ASX announcement.
“Premium, A-Grade potassium feldspar (KFA) occurs as an upper zone within the Sinclair Pegmatite.
“Assays of KFA from diamond drill core consistently return very low levels of critical contaminant elements including: iron (Fe) niobium (Nb) and manganese (Mn).
“Test work has indicated however that if these contaminants are present in marginal KFA material, fine screening will result in an upgraded coarse product.”