JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Junior miner BCI Minerals continues to focus on advancing existing projects and remaining debt-free, the company said on Tuesday in its quarterly report to the end of December.
BCI’s cash balance was A$18.9-million at the end of December, down A$4.7-million compared with the quarter to the end of September.
“The decline in cash was primarily owing to increased expenditure across all of BCI’s projects, which delivered positive progress and milestones, as well as a reduced Iron Valley cash inflow of A$100 000, which was based on BCI’s September 2017 quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda).”
During the past 12 months, BCI has diversified its commodity exposure and now holds a portfolio of assets across iron-ore, salt, potash, gold and base metals.
The company’s current focus is on advancing two 100% owned projects, namely the Buckland iron-ore and Mardie salt projects, which are proposed to export product through BCI's planned 20-million-ton-a-year Cape Preston East Port facility.
BCI’s Iron Valley mine, in Western Australia, achieved Ebitda from December 2017 quarter shipments of A$3.6-million before prior-quarter adjustments of A$600 000, resulting in a net A$3-million Ebitda.
Iron Valley operator, Mineral Resources, shipped 1.5-million wet metric tonnes during the quarter, with about two-thirds being lump product.
The headline cost-and-freight 62% Fe iron-ore price was steady at about $60/dry metric tonne (dmt) in the first half of the quarter, before increasing to $75/dmt by the quarter-end.
Overall, the CFR 62% Fe price averaged $66/dmt for the quarter, compared with the September 2017 quarter average of $71/dmt. Iron Valley lump pricing in the quarter was reasonably strong, but discounts for 58% to 60% Fe fines products remained elevated.
Further, the company’s Buckland iron-ore project reported positive initial drilling results at the Kumina prospect, including multiple intersections greater than 20 m at more than 58% Fe from shallow depth.
At BCI’s Mardie salt project, in Western Australia, significant environmental surveys have been completed and geotechnical and design work continued throughout the quarter.
“BCI is progressing with the project design and engineering, including the solar evaporation ponds and crystallisers and integration of salt facilities at Cape Preston East and aims to complete the project’s prefeasibility study by the second quarter,” the company stated in the quarterly report.
“On-site exploration activity at the joint venture Carnegie potash project, in Western Australia, started during the quarter and positive brine assay results and paleochannel geophysics confirmed prospectivity,” BCI reported.
BCI currently holds a 15% stake in the Carnegie joint venture with ASX-listed Kalium Lakes. This will increase to 30% at the conclusion of the scoping study, which is due for completion in the second quarter, after which the company has the right to increase this to 50% stake through sole-funding an additional A$9-million in exploration and development through to completion of the detailed feasibility study.
BCI is progressing gold and base metals exploration on its 100% owned Marble Bar, Black Hills and Peak Hill tenements in Western Australia.
Positive gold results have been reported from soil sampling and rock-chip sampling at the Marble Bar project. The company has increased its exploration activities at its Marble Bar, Black Hills, Maitland and Peak Hill projects.
BCI’s portfolio also includes potential iron-ore royalties over the Nullagine, Koodaideri South and Extension tenements. It changed its name from BC Iron Limited in December.