Annual Report to shareholders
In the twelve months following completion of the DFS, Hastings confirmed capital requirements, completed flotations pilot plant studies, and testing hydrometallurgical equipment for suitable duty capacity. Additional drilling in Bald Hill, Frasers and the Auer trend of deposits lead to increases in both the mineral resources and mining reserves.
In November 2018, an updated JORC Mineral Resource estimation was completed by independent consultant Lynn Widenbar and Associates incorporating updated drilling results from Bald Hill, Fraser's, Auer and Auer North deposits. Measured plus Indicated Resources increased by 6.7% to 13.38 million tonnes with Total Resources increasing to 21.67 million tonnes, containing >80,000 tonnes of neodymium and praseodymium oxide.
Hastings then completed a 100kg/hr pilot processing circuit test, operating 24 hours per day continuously over 8 days at ALS Metallurgy in Balcatta, Western Australia. The flowsheet consisted of milling, rougher flotation, regrind and cleaner flotation stages. The flotation circuit selectively concentrated the rare earths-bearing mineral monazite into a final product whilst discarding 95% of the original rock waste mass. Flotation process design was reconfirmed, as the performance output of the pilot plant improved over the course of the 8 days.
On the back of the updated resource a new mining reserve estimate was undertaken by a Mining Consultancy Group (Snowden) based on Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources at each of Bald Hill, Fraser's, Auer, Auer North, Yangibana, Yangibana West and Yangibana North deposits. The updated reserve estimate remains surface mining focussed and involved whittle optimisations, pit designs and the development of new mine schedules.
The bulk of the near surface mineralisation (at least to 100m vertical depth) is hosted by iron oxides and hydroxides termed ironstone, being the alteration products of the primary hosts ferro carbonatite and phoscorite intrusive veins. The main rare earths-bearing mineral is monazite which itself has locally undergone alteration at shallow depths (to 25m depth) to its hydrous equivalent rhabdophane and to rare earths-bearing Al-phosphates such as florencite.
Ore Reserves tonnages from the new estimate increased by 34% to 10.35 million tonnes at 1.22%TREO including 0.43%Nd2O3+Pr6O11. The updated Ore Reserve extends mine life by 3 years, supporting a +10 year operational life for the Project.
Since the DFS the project NPV has decreased by 4% to $447 million due to capital cost increases as a result of the board mandated decision to source, where possible, only Tier 1 process plant equipment suppliers with the capabilities to provide unrivalled equipment performance guarantees and field support and backup.
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About Hastings Technology Metals Ltd
Hastings Technology Metals Ltd (ASX:HAS) (FRA:5AM) is advancing its Yangibana Rare Earths Project in the Upper Gascoyne Region of Western Australia towards production. The proposed beneficiation and hydro metallurgy processing plant will treat rare earths deposits, predominantly monazite, hosting high neodymium and praseodymium contents to produce a mixed rare earths carbonate that will be further refined into individual rare earth oxides at processing plants overseas.
Neodymium and praseodymium are vital components in the manufacture of permanent magnets which is used in a wide and expanding range of advanced and high-tech products including electric vehicles, wind turbines, robotics, medical applications and others. Hastings aims to become the next significant producer of neodymium and praseodymium outside of China.
Hastings holds 100% interest in the most significant deposits within the overall project, and 70% interest in additional deposits that will be developed at a later date, all held under Mining Leases. Numerous prospects have been identified warranting detailed exploration to further extend the life of the project.
The Brockman deposit, near Halls Creek in Western Australia, contains JORC Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources, estimated using the guidelines of JORC Code (2012 Edition).
The Company is also progressing a Mining Lease application over the Brockman Rare Earths and Rare Metals Project.
Hastings aims to capitalise on the strong demand for critical rare earths created by the expanding demand for new technology products.
Hastings Technology Metals Ltd