Scoping Study gives thumbs up to Platina Resources’ Owendale project

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Platina Resources (ASX:PGM) has received the results of a recently-completed Scoping Study at the company’s wholly-owned Owendale scandium project in New South Wales.
The Scoping Study has returned positive project economics for the Owendale project, including:

–    Confirmation of an economic and technical viability of a combined platinum and scandium mining operation;

–    The existing platinum and scandium Indicated Mineral Resources can support an average mining rate of 6.9 million tonnes per annum for three years. After three years the stockpiled scandium-bearing laterite will continue to be processed at rates of:

o    0.9 tonnes of platinum produced per annum for 3 years; and

o    40 tonnes of scandium oxide produced per annum for 41 years.

–    An estimated capital expenditure of AUD$222 million; and

–    An estimated annual operating costs of AUD$62 million for the first 3 years, reverting to approximately AUD$42 million once platinum processing ceases.

The Study considered different options: a standalone platinum operation, and a combined platinum and scandium operation.

The combined platinum and scandium option, which was favoured most by the company, was highlighted as being economically feasible by the Scoping Study.

Platina said this provides the impetus for the Owendale project to proceed toward a pre-feasibility study.
“The Study clearly shows that the current platinum and scandium Indicated Mineral Resources at Owendale would deliver an excellent cash-flow over a long life span,” Platina Resources managing director Rob Mosig said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“I am extremely proud of achieving a maiden Mineral Resource and positive scoping study at Owendale in such a short period of time.

“Our focus now is to move Owendale into a mining operation as soon as possible.

“We’re especially pleased that significant exploration upside still exists to increase the Mineral Resources, particularly with the platinum.

“Considering the current operational difficulties in South Africa, the largest producer of platinum, we are well positioned to offer an alternative source of the metal.”

Platina said the current platinum Indicated Mineral Resource is sufficient to sustain a supply feed to the mill of just under three years and the company is confident the Indicated Resource can be increased with additional exploratory drilling.

The proposed gravity process for the recovery of platinum will produce a concentrate grading approximately 340g/t platinum.

Whilst this is already a saleable product, the company intends to conduct further metallurgical test work to determine a method for producing a concentrate grading over 1,000g/t platinum.

Platina claims Owendale to be Australia’s highest-grade scandium deposit, and one of the country’s largest scandium repositories.

Platina has conducted extensive market research into scandium and met key end-users in the fuel cell and alloy industries.

Based on these discussions, the company said it believes an annual production of 40tpa scandium oxide to be a realistic figure to use for the Scoping Study.

Should market conditions change, and scandium demand increases, the process plant nominated in the Scoping Study is able to be upgraded accordingly.