Arafura Resources has commenced drilling and metallurgical programs aimed at increasing the mine life of the Nolans neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) project in the Northern Territory.
The original definitive feasibility study projected a 23-year mine life, 4357 tonnes of supply per year and earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation of $377 million per year.
The $23.2 million “transformational equity raising,” announced on June 20, will be used to fund the programs. The drilling planned for the Nolans Bore deposit comprises up to nine inclined diamond core holes.
These infill resource definition holes will be cored from surface to final depths of between 70 and 120 metres to confirm material types, refine resource modelling and better inform mine planning.
Core samples from these five holes will be used in a metallurgical program at Nagrom Metallurgical’s mineral processing facility in Perth.
The drilling and metallurgical programs are expected to be completed in December, resulting in an updated estimate of ore reserves and corresponding mine life.
The other four diamond core holes will target deep extensions of NdPr-rich mineralisation 100-200 metres beneath the final mining pit in the North and Southeast zones.
Final depths for these drill holes are planned to lie in the range 350-500 metres with assay results from this drilling in the early part of 2020.
Arafura will also bring forward a small geotechnical drilling program originally scheduled for 2020 to confirm the suitability of rocks near the project site for construction materials.