Manganese Exploration and Mining
A total of 346 drill holes and 31 costean have been completed to date.
Winchelsea Mining Pty Ltd (Winchelsea) holds exploration tenure on Winchelsea, Bickerton and Sea Country including Connexion Island as well as tenure on Blue Mud Bay, Sandy, Edward and Marie Islands.
On Winchelsea Island, Exploration Licence (EL27521) was granted on 21 December 2018 for a period of six years to explore for manganese. The exploration license covers 20.39 km2 with the remainder of the island being under another Winchelsea Exploration License application EL32022 (26.89km2).
There had been no previous documented mineral exploration on Winchelsea Island prior to the granting of EL27521 in late 2018.
Currently, there has been five phases of exploration drilling and costean sampling conducted from September 2019. A total of 450 drill holes and 101 costean have been completed to date. A maiden JORC (Joint Ore Reserve Committee) Report was completed on Phase 1 and 2 drilling result by Xenith Mine Consultants.
Phase I and Phase II reverse circulation (RC) drill programs were completed with a total of 282 holes drilled for 3865.5m. The excavation of the costean provides us with the ability to channel sample, visual confirmation of ore body and bulk sample for the processing plant design.
A further 350 exploration (aircore) drilling and 70 costean sampling in Phase IV and V Advanced Exploration Program was completed in August 2020 …
A further 350 exploration (aircore) drilling and 70 costean sampling in Phase IV and V Advanced Exploration Program and will provide results which will be utilized to update the JORC Report to a Measured Status with a target published date of September 2020.
The exploration program has delineated a significant discovery of a shallow modelled Mn mineralised deposit approximately 1km (NS) by 2km (EW) area in the central southern region of the tenement that displays significant geological and grade continuity. There are additional areas to to north of the main deposit.
The deposit is similar in style to the orebodies currently and successfully mined on Groote Eylandt with the mineralisation in this region showing no or very little overburden with the Mn mineralised intervals outcropping to the surface which results in a very low strip ratio.
Recent results from the Phase III tests pits have shown a large increase in the sample yield results compared to the RC drilling samples. The upgrade in yield varies from approximately 20 to 50% (absolute) with many samples in the order of 25 to 35% improved. Further validation I sbeing conducted but the results are illustrating (~70%) yield washed over a 0.6mm screen compared to the 35% yield with the RC samples.
This would translate to an increased washed tonnage figure of ~10Mt.
It is planned that all mining and processing will take place on Winchelsea Island within the accommodation, stores, administration and lay down areas planned to be located at Little Paradise Bay as the project’s Logistics Hub, the closest point of contact with the larger Groote Eylandt.
The project is an owner operation with all technical and operating staff including Marine Services staff employed by Winchelsea Mining. There will be local employment opportunities for operations, contractor support and construction for 50% local indigenous personnel. This targeted residential operation will have minimal FIFO specialists with clan-based enterprises contracted for specialised support such as barging services, bio-security, mechanical services, environmental monitoring and accommodation services.
The island is approximately 50km off the eastern coast of Arnhem Land, approximately 650km east southeast of Darwin and approximately 1,000km west northwest of Cairns.
Akwamburrkba falls within the Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC) area with access to the island is by boat from Groote Eylandt which is Australia’s third largest island with an area of 2,285km2. Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) 1976, the Traditional Owners hold inalienable freehold title over the island.
There will be local employment opportunities for operations, contractor support and construction for 50% local indigenous personnel.