17/08/2020 - 14:18

Eclipse chasing battery-grade manganese in QLD

17/08/2020 - 14:18

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Eclipse Metals is ready to launch into the second phase of diamond drilling at its high-grade Amamoor manganese project in Queensland. Initial exploration over the historic mining area has established that the ore system consists of multiple, steeply dipping high-grade lenses that remain untested by drilling and with demand for the battery metal looking set to sky-rocket the timing is good for Eclipse.

High-grade manganese at Amamoor.

Eclipse Metals is ready to launch into the second phase of diamond drilling at its high-grade Amamoor manganese project in Queensland. The company’s maiden drilling program over the historic mining area in 2018 established that the ore system consists of multiple, steeply dipping high-grade lenses that remain untested both laterally and at depth.

With demand for the battery metal looking set to sky-rocket courtesy of the electric vehicle boom, the timing looks to be spot on for Eclipse.

Eclipse’s Amamoor manganese deposit lies within the company’s Mary Valley project area on the central coast of Queensland. The project is located 20km south of the gold mining centre at Gympie, inland from Noosa Heads. Eclipse’s tenure consists of two granted exploration permits covering over 31 square kilometres of prospective manganese stratigraphy where the company has already outlined three priority targets including the Donaldson’s and Eel Creek prospects in the north and the historical mining area at Amamoor in the south.

The Amamoor deposit was discovered in the 1920s and was the subject of small-scale mining for manganese through to 1959. Research by Eclipse shows that the boutique, high-grade deposit produced 19,630 tonnes of ore tipping the scales at a remarkable 51% manganese oxide. In comparison, emerging operations elsewhere in Australia, are looking to exploit mine grades of only 10-15 per cent manganese.

According to the company, the historical work over the Amamoor manganese deposit indicates that the ore system has the potential to deliver a ‘direct shipping ore’, or DSO product for export into the rapidly expanding battery markets. A ‘dig, truck and ship’ operation at Amamoor would have access to an range of existing infrastructure in the region including power, water, rail and roads in addition to a skilled mining workforce at Gympie , should the project proceed to development.

Importantly, if the company should prove up a mineable DSO resource, it would likely look to use the railhead at Gympie if possible, just 16 km to the north of the project in order to provide a direct link to the port in Brisbane, 130km to the southeast.

Eclipse Metal’s Executive Chairman, Carl Popal said:

“At Amamoor, 19,630t @ 51% Mn was extracted and said to have been used in manufacturing alkaline manganese batteries pre 1960’s.”

“Eclipse’s technical evaluation in two limited areas of the Mary Valley project area indicated near surface the potential for sizable lodes of high-grade manganese mineralisation. First stage shallow drilling produced high grade results including 3.2m @59.8% MnO from a depth of 8.8m in steeply dipping high grade lenses. The second stage drilling program is targeted to delineate extensions of these lenses and to test other mineralised outcrop areas with an aim of developing the potential for a high-grade manganese resource.”

The company’s development program has also included preliminary metallurgical studies that show that beneficiation of the Amamoor ores produces a high-grade manganese concentrate, with a low phosphorus content that could be sold directly to smelters for the manufacture of cathodes for lithium-ion batteries.

The 2020 diamond drilling program is scheduled to kick off next month and will test the deeper extensions to the steeply dipping, high-grade ore shoots at Amamoor. The program will be supervised by the company’s technical director, Rodney Dale and will consist of 13 diamond holes for 500 metres of drilling. It will test the ore system to a depth of 60 metres and if successful, will pave the way for a larger resource drilling program.

An ongoing investigation by Eclipse shows Amamoor to have similar characteristics to the world-class manganese deposits at Woodie-Woodie in Western Australia and the extensive deposits in Cuba, which may highlight the greater potential of the deposits in the Mary Valley.

Previous workers have assumed that the Amamoor manganese deposits are simply small and flat lying surface features, however Eclipse’s work tells a different story. The company says the upcoming drilling may prove that mining has only skimmed the top of these high-grade deposits, with the possible delineation of a larger and deeper ore system a potential game-changer for the would-be specialty metal developer.

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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