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Butcherbird manganese project, Australia – update

26th March 2021

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Butcherbird manganese project.

Location
The project comprises eight known manganese mineral resources in an estimated 600 km2 of the southern Pilbara region, in Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
ASX-listed Element 25.

Project Description
The project has proven and probable ore reserves of 50.55-million tonnes at 10.3% manganese, containing 5.22-million tonnes manganese (4.28-million tonnes recoverable manganese).

An updated prefeasibility study has presented a compelling base case and expansion case economics. The base case involves the production and sale of about 366 000 t/y of lump manganese ore grading 30% to 35% manganese over a mine life of 40 years.

Geotechnical studies supported by trial mining have identified that the orebody will mostly be mineable using free dig techniques not requiring drilling and blasting to loosen the ore. Mining will entail loaders mining 1-m- to 2-m-tall benches and delivering the ore into a mobile crusher feed-hopper through a grizzly. To enable the loaders to efficiently extract the ore, the ore will be cross-ripped using a dozer before mining.

The proposed 1.3-million-ton-a-year processing facility includes crushing, screening, scrubbing, sizing and ore sorting.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
In the base case, the project has an estimated pretax net present value, at a 5% discount rate, of A$583-million and an internal rate of return of 387%, inclusive of inferred resources, with a payback of six months from the start of operations.

Capital Expenditure
The project has a low capital requirement of A$20.3-million, including working capital.

Planned Start/End Date
Beneficial production is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2021.

Latest Developments
Element 25 has reported that it will raise about A$35.5-million through a share placement to investors to fund the Stage 2 expansion of manganese concentrate production at its Butcherbird project.

The company has received firm commitments from investors for the placement, at A$2.20 a share. The offer price represents an 8% premium to the company’s 30-day volume weighted average share price.

The shares will be placed under the company’s existing placement capacity and will not require shareholder approval.

The funds raised will be used for the planned Stage 2 expansion of Butcherbird, where precommissioning activities started earlier this year, to more than one-million tonnes a year of manganese concentrate.

Wet commissioning of the Butcherbird project is under way and a progressive ramp-up is scheduled for the next three months to allow for the project to reach nameplate capacity of 341 000 t/y.

Element 25 has previously said that an incremental capital investment of A$20.3-million would be required to fund the Stage 2 expansion, in addition to the A$20.3-million spent on the Stage 1 operation.

The raising will also underpin funding to accelerate work on completing the flowsheet and plant design to produce high-purity battery grade manganese sulphate for new energy vehicles

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Element 25, tel +61 8 6315 1400 or email admin@e25.com.au.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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