The following is a summary overview of the Torrington Topaz and Tungsten Project. The reader should refer to the ASX Announcements mentioned below and specifically the 31 March Quarterly Report (released 29 April 2019) for general information and the UNSW update reports released on 9 July 2019 and 22 October 2019 for more comprehensive information.
Chase Mining Corporation Limited (the Company), through its wholly owned subsidiary Torrington Minerals Pty Ltd (TMPL), holds contiguous ELs 8258 and 8355 in north-eastern New South Wales, which cover an area of approximately 51 square kilometre and comprise the Torrington Topaz and Tungsten Project. This Project was the sole focus of the Company until the acquisition of Zeus’ Canadian assets was approved by the shareholders in October 2018.
Following an extensive 400-hole RC and diamond drilling campaign to enhance the previously announced JORC 2012 tungsten resource base which the Company had purchased and the resultant inability to confirm those resources, the Company’s focus shifted from the planned standalone tungsten to a combined topaz – tungsten recovery project to underpin the project’s economics.
The host rock to the tungsten mineralisation is silexite which nominally consists of 80% quartz and 20% topaz. During the metallurgical testwork it was evident that after crushing to minus 1mm a simple gravity separation recovery process would recover both tungsten and topaz.
Topaz is an alumina silicate mineral that given its hardness can be used in abrasive applications, especially in high-pressure water cutting and as a raw material for castable refractory and ceramic production.
It can also be used to produce castable mullite and possibly to produce mullite fibre for use as a filler and reinforcing in composite materials.
The drilling at Wild Kate outlined a close to surface large silexite body (nominally 500m x 150m x 20m) consisting predominantly of the light coloured sugary-texture variety collected for the 1.2 tonne composite sample for the metallurgical testwork which will underpin the topaz requirements for any of the above applications in the future, while tungsten will be recovered as a byproduct.
The metallurgical testwork resulted in a water-based gravity separation and recovery flowsheet for both tungsten and topaz, processing plant design and indicative Capex and Opex estimates.
In order to progress the mullite fibre from topaz research, Topfibre Pty Ltd (a 100% owned subsidiary of Chase Mining Corporation) entered into a collaboration agreement with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to conduct research at their School of Materials Science and Engineering. An application was successfully lodged for Federal Government ARC Linkage Grant co-funding (ASX Announcement 3 August 2017) for a 3-year period.
Several quantifiable processing breakthroughs in the production of mullite fibre from Torrington-sourced topaz concentrate during the past 18-months (ASX Announcements 26 July 2018; 15 January 2019; 9 April 2019; 9 July 2019; and 22 October 2019) and the Company will be looking to apply for one or more patents and seeking a commercial partner or partners to take the research further in the near future.
A conditional written indicative future offtake offer was received for the supply of between 2,000 and 5,000 tonne of topaz concentrate per month raw topaz concentrate as an abrasive material after third party testwork (ASX Announcement 23 April 2019).
Given the importance to have access to mined product for the supply of topaz concentrate to the potential markets outlined above, TMPL has lodged an application for a Mining Lease (MLA547) based on a staged development with an initial low tonnage processing plant.
The Company is now focussed on a mine development plan within MLA547 to produce both topaz and tungsten concentrates from the silexite bodies at Torrington.