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Strategic Minerals - Leigh Creek Copper Mine - Government Approvals

Wed, 29th Aug 2018 08:14

RNS Number : 1101Z
Strategic Minerals PLC
29 August 2018

Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure

Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.


29 August 2018


Strategic Minerals plc

("Strategic Minerals", "SML" or the "Company")


Leigh Creek Copper Mine - Government Approvals See Project Well Underway


Strategic Minerals plc (AIM: SML; USOTC: SMCDY), a producing mineral company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials, is pleased to provide an update of the activities at Leigh Creek Copper Mine ("LCCM") in South Australia.   These activities are focused on restarting copper production around mid-2019 from the Mountain of Light processing operations.


Key Highlights


·      Approval received from South Australian Government following two submissions in relation to a Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation ("PEPR"), covering;

Mountain of Light (processing facility located adjacent to Paltridge North) PEPR, providing for the recommencement of copper production from the existing heap leach pads and associated processing facility; and

Lynda PEPR, providing for the completion of the current drilling programme.  

·     Diamond drilling, to collect samples for metallurgical test work, commenced at both the Paltridge North and Lynda deposits.


·     Positive conclusion that the ore is highly leachable using standard leaching technology, following completion of desktop study of previous metallurgical test work.


·     Creation of technical framework, including safety requirements, to facilitate the recommencement of operations at LCCM, expected mid-2019.


·     Several internationally recognised experts in heap leaching and copper recovery have been retained to provide their expertise to find the right "recipe" for efficient production.


Managing Director of Strategic Minerals, Mr John Peters, commented:


"LCCM is entering an exciting phase as we begin to formulate the optimal processing flowsheet for the project. This will be derived from the current drilling programme and subsequent metallurgical test work.  I have been directly reviewing operations and I am delighted with the progress the highly experienced LCCM team have achieved to date. This has reinforced my confidence that we can, during 2019, deliver a project that will provide a second income stream for SML.


"The drilling we have commenced on the Paltridge North Deposit is the first drilling within the Mountain of Light Mining Lease for nearly 40 years and will provide SML with a key set of supporting data. This data collection reflects the diligence of SML in how we are undertaking this project. It will be an essential point of differentiation from previous operations at the Leigh Creek site and will be critical in decision making to determine the optimal processing route to be employed in the recommencement of operations."

Metallurgical Sample Drilling


An 18 hole (for approximately 785m) diamond drilling programme commenced during the first week of August.  This drill programme is designed to collect large sized (PQ) diamond core samples from the copper oxide ore of the Paltridge North and Lynda deposits.  These holes will be sampling mineralisation from the surface to a depth of approximately 50m. The drilling is planned to complete in the first week of September. Geological assay results will be released to the market when they become available.     

The drilling programme will provide core samples for metallurgical test work to confirm the performance of the ores in various copper extraction processes.  Diamond drill core is essential for performing metallurgical test work on the ore types in the ore bodies.  A series of metallurgical tests have been designed to evaluate the properties of the ore.  The objective of the metallurgical test programme is to establish the copper recovery for the ores under simulated operating conditions.  The data from the testing programme will also be used to assist in the design and scale up for the proposed copper recovery operations.  The results of the test programme are expected to be available in early 2019.

The extensive desktop review of historical LCCM data by SML, not previously undertaken by prior owners, covered over ten years of test work and operations and provided valuable insight. This data has been used to tailor the design of the metallurgical test work programme.

A number of internationally renowned experts in the area of heap leaching and copper recovery have been retained by the Company to provide their expertise in acquiring and interpreting the test results.

It is SML's intention that the future operations at LCCM will be well informed and designed based on high quality results from the diamond drilling programme, desktop review and metallurgical test work programme, which the Company believes will differentiate it from previous operators of the mine.


Mountain of Light


The South Australian Department of Mines and Energy ('the department') approved the Mountain of Light Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation on 20 July 2018.  This provides LCCM with approval for recommencement of processing from the existing heap leach pads and restarting the Mountain of Light processing plant.  The successful approval is the result of extensive discussions with the department and reflects the excellent relationship the previous owners and the current management have with the department. 


It is SML's intention to refurbish the existing processing plant at LCCM. This work is planned to commence before the end of 2018.


Desktop Review


An extensive desktop review of previous operations and metallurgical test work has been completed by Arthur Hunt, the metallurgist focused on this project, who has over 30 years' experience working in the mining and processing industries.  This review has concluded that the copper oxide ores that form the LCCM project, which vary between deposits, are all highly leachable with heap leaching likely to be the most attractive extraction method for economic operations.  Additionally, the desktop review has identified key points of differentiation to previous operators of the project, providing SML confidence that a successful operation can be developed at LCCM. 


Preparation of Operations Technical Framework

Since acquiring LCCM, SML has invested significant resources in preparing the operations for the commencement of copper production in 2019.  This has initially focused on Occupational Health and Safety policies and procedures for both the Mountain of Light and Lyndhurst projects. Additionally, extensive safety improvements for the existing sites have been completed with additional signage and barricading of historic shafts.    



For further information, please contact:

Strategic Minerals plc

+61 (0) 414 727 965

John Peters

Managing Director


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+44 (0)20 3470 0470

Nominated Adviser and Broker

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+44 (0)20 3735 8825 

Financial PR

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+44 (0)7747 788 221

Joe Burgess

+44 (0)7769 325 254

Henry Wilkinson

+44 (0)7951 402 336



Notes to Editors


Strategic Minerals Plc is an AIM-quoted, operating minerals company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials. It has an operation in the United States of America and development projects in the UK and Australia. The Company is focused on utilising its operating cash flows, along with capital raisings, to develop high quality projects aimed at supplying the metals and minerals being sought in the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.

In September 2011, Strategic Minerals acquired the Cobre magnetite tailings dam project in New Mexico, USA, a cash-generating asset, which it brought into production in 2012 and which continues to provide a revenue stream for the Company. This operating revenue stream is utilised to cover company overheads and invest in development projects orientated to supplying the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.

In January 2016, the portfolio was expanded with the acquisition of shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd, which holds tenements in Western Australia and the Northern Territory that are prospective for cobalt, gold, nickel sulphides and rare earth elements. The Company has since acquired all shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd.

In May 2016, the Company entered into an agreement with New Age Exploration Limited to acquire up to 50% of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project in Cornwall, UK. This 50% acquisition was completed in February 2017 and a drilling programme completed in 2017 resulted in a significant upgrade of the resource. Phase 1 of the 2018 drill programme is underway.

In March 2018, the Company completed the acquisition of the Leigh Creek Copper Mine situated in the copper rich belt of South Australia and is currently working to bring this into operation in 2019.

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.
Date   Source Headline
26th Nov 20191:48 pmRNSReceipt of R&D Tax Rebate from HMRC
22nd Nov 20197:00 amRNSLeigh Creek Copper Mine Feasibility Study Updates
21st Nov 20192:05 pmRNSSecond Price Monitoring Extn
21st Nov 20192:00 pmRNSPrice Monitoring Extension
16th Oct 20197:00 amRNSQ3 Cobre Magnetite Sales and Cash Balance Update

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