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Galena charges ahead with lead-silver PFS at Abra

Galena Mining has wasted no time engaging key contractors to work on a Pre-Feasibility Study as part of its aggressive schedule to begin production from its world-class Abra lead-silver deposit by 2020.

The recently listed company has made a series of appointments just weeks after announcing a big new resource estimate that ranks Abra as one of the world’s largest undeveloped lead-silver deposits.

The company is planning a low-capex, underground development that will look to exploit its high-grade resource of 11.2 million tonnes at 10.1% lead, which sits within a 36.6 million tonne ore body at 7.3% lead.

The decision to target a high-grade core at Abra has proved a masterstroke and has made its development almost a certainty, in contrast to the efforts of previous owners who focused on a bulk tonnage, low grade development.

Galena has also benefited from the tailwind of a bullish lead market, which has lifted prices to their highest levels since 2011.

The list of new contractor appointments is headed by GR Engineering Services, who will design a conventional crush, grind and flotation processing plant at Abra. The well known engineering firm will also work on site infrastructure, including tailings storage solutions, a power station, airstrip and roads.

Metallurgical testwork is also continuing to confirm previous studies that showed Abra mineralisation is suited to producing a high-grade lead-silver concentrate, with recoveries of more than 90%.

Another key appointment is AMC Consultants, who will conduct the underground mining study, including life of mine schedules, equipment lists and cost estimates for conventional underground mining methods.

Environmental baseline studies are underway by Stantec Australia and hydrogeological studies are also progressing well.

Galena CEO, Ed Turner, said: “We are very pleased with the progress being made on the PFS and the top tier appointments that reflect the world-class nature of Abra. Work to date has been very encouraging and we are confident of producing a robust and high-margin PFS in September.”

The company’s aggressive timeline for Abra includes a Bankable Feasibility Study, offtake agreements and financing in 2019. Underground development is due to commence before the end of 2019, with first concentrates in 2020.

The schedule looks entirely achievable, thanks to the fact that Abra is already sitting on a mining licence and is reasonably well located halfway between Newman and Meekatharra, not too far away from the Great Northern Highway.

Importantly, most of the infrastructure is already in place to get Abra concentrates to the port of Geraldton, which has been exporting lead concentrates from Golden Grove for more than 20 years. Geraldton Port has  confirmed that it has capacity to handle a new product stream from Abra.

Galena has other ambitions, too. The company will begin a 4-hole diamond drill campaign later this month at its 100%-owned Woodlands Copper project, about 50kms west of Abra.

An airborne electromagnetic survey late last year identified two large, strong, conductors hosted within the same rocks that produced the Abra deposit.

Historical drilling in the zones defined by both conductors produced some intriguing copper hits, including 0.4m at 8.4% copper and 16 g/t silver, and 3m at 1.6% copper within a broader zone of copper sulphides.

Galena’s new geophysical data shows none of the historic drill holes represented a thorough test of the newly defined anomalies, making the upcoming drill campaign of about 2,000 metres even more tantalising.

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