Macmin close to production

JUNIOR explorer Macmin NL is on track to start mining in February 2001 with the first silver to be poured by April from its Texas silver project.

Initial development will focus on the Twin Hills deposit, where Macmin announced a 39 per cent increase in the indicated resource to 14 million ounces and a 20 per cent boost in the probable reserve to 10.2 million ounces.

“A mining and resource study, which is part of the current feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of this month, and will target pit optimisation to maximise profitability for us,” said Macmin managing director Bob McNeil.

The study is being undertaken by Brisbane-based consulting engineers Tennent Isokangas.

Mr McNeil said initial discussions on financing the capital cost of the development has been held with several potential lenders.

The company plans to develop a heap leach mining operation, initially at Twin Hills, where the new indicated resource is 7.13 million tonnes grading 59 grams/tonne silver and 0.1 g/t gold for 14 million contained ounces. This includes a higher-grade near surface zone of 2 million tonnes at 107 g/t silver for 7.8 million ounces and a lower grade zone of 6.2 million ounces.

Based on a low capital cost of $5 million, the project would generate an internal rate of return of 140 per cent and have a net present value of $9.5 million.

The project is located 7 kilometres east of the town of Texas, about 220 km west south west of Brisbane, Queensland.

Macmin NL has also added an environmental technology venture to its existing mining and exploration business, with a strategic alliance to apply a proven US-developed process for stabilising heavy metals contamination as part of the environmental clean-up process throughout Australasia.

The agreement, with Metals Treatment Technologies LLC (MT2), involves the development of a joint business relationship to apply the US-based company’s patented and proprietary technologies for cleaning up metals contaminated sites through the Australasian region.

The venture is expected to be cash flow positive for Macmin from next year and should generate a significant return within two years.

Mr McNeil said the agreement with MT2 was a unique opportunity to participate in the fast-growing market for environmental metals clean-up, which was being driven by changes in community sentiment and tougher legislation.

“MT2’s technologies are applicable to a wide range of situations where heavy metals contamination creates a serious environmental or health risk from mine sites to firing ranges, from inorganic cattle dips to industrial sites,” Mr McNeil said.

“Due to legislative changes, local and state governments are examining new rehabilitation methods making this a rapidly expanding business opportunity worldwide.”

Heavy metals-contaminated soils, sludges and process materials are considered hazardous materials and must be stabilised.

MT2’s technologies utilise proprietary additives to permanently stabilise the heavy metals to US Resource Conservation Recovery Act or Universal Treatment Standards levels.

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