TAA tantalum australia nl

taa annnouncement

  1. 404 Posts.
    Very positive announcement from Tantalum. Sounds like money for nothing.

    Al Baby
    (A long suffering shareholder)

    TANTALUM AUSTRALIA NL 2003-03-21 ASX-SIGNAL-G

    HOMEX - Perth

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    HIGHLIGHTS

    * Agreement reached to acquire the prospective Gascoyne
    tantalum/niobium project

    * Joint venture negotiated to acquire up to a 78% interest in a major
    rare metal (tantalum/niobium/yttrium) resource at the Brockman
    project in the Kimberley

    * Based on current world market prices for tantalum, niobium and
    yttrium oxides in concentrate the open pitable resource has an in
    ground value in excess of $750 million.

    * Offtake agreement reached with a European refiner with respect to
    columbite concentrate from Gascoyne. Columbite and tantalite are end
    members of the same mineral species. Columbite is the niobium rich
    end member and is a major source of the worlds tantalum raw material
    supply. Tantalum Australia has received several enquiries from
    potential customers for supply of columbite rich concentrates.

    Tantalum Australia NL ("TAA") is pleased to announce agreements have
    been reached for the acquisition of two tantalum/niobium projects in
    the Gascoyne and Kimberley regions of Western Australia. In addition
    the company has executed a supply contract with a European rare metal
    refiner to off take the concentrate produced from the Gascoyne
    project. These acquisitions are consistent with the company's
    objective of building a world class resource base of tantalum and
    associated rare metal resources in response to potential
    customer/strategic partner requirements.

    GASCOYNE PROJECT

    BACKGROUND

    The Gascoyne project covers an area of 400 square kilometres and is
    located about 120 kilometres north northeast of Gascoyne Junction in
    the Gascoyne Mineral Field of Western Australia. The project
    tenements include two granted mining leases of 3 square kilometres
    and three exploration licences totalling about 400 square kilometres.
    Historically tantalum and niobium have been produced from several
    localities in the region the most significant being from the Arthur
    River and Nardoo Well/Morrissey Hill areas. Significant production of
    mica has also been recovered from underground mines at the Mica King
    and Mica Queen.

    RESOURCE

    Tantalite has been produced predominantly from alluvial/eluvial
    sources; however a large swarm of rare metal pegmatites stretches in
    an east west arc across the area for a strike length of about 60
    kilometres. Niobium rich columbite has been produced from a
    kaolinised pegmatite at Arthur River and will be the focus of early
    bulk sampling and exploration of the project as this product is in
    significant demand. The only other sources in the world of this
    product are Brazil and Nigeria. Customers requiring this product have
    indicated that they are looking for new stable sources of supply.

    TAA will install a 50 tonne per hour jig plant at Arthur River at an
    estimated cost of $300,000 during April to assess the production
    potential for columbite and alluvial tantalite. The components for
    this plant have been sourced from the parts of the circuit at
    Dalgaranga that are no longer required for the recovery of the fine
    grained tantalite found in the Niobe deposit. Rare Resources NL ( the
    current owners of the property) have all the necessary statutory
    approvals and bonds in place for an initial 50,000 tonne mining/
    production campaign, meaning, production can be commenced by the end
    of April 2003.

    Trench sampling at the Arthur River prospect of alluvial/eluvial
    targets and an outcropping kaolinised pegmatite has identified
    potential resources of 40,000bcm at 150 to 200ppm Ta2O5 and 150,000
    to 200,000 tonnes at 2000ppm Nb2O5 respectively. Both targets will be
    evaluated by the sampling programme described above.

    ACQUISITION

    The terms of the acquisition involve TAA completing a takeover of the
    tenement holder Rare Resources NL ("Rare") by issuing about 3 million
    shares in return for 100% of Rare. The offer will be conditional on
    100% acceptance by Rare shareholders; if TAA is unable to reach 100%
    Rare will effect a direct sale of the tenements to TAA in return for
    the shares. In addition, TAA will pay to Rare on production and sale
    of 20,000 lbs Ta2O5 $300,000 in cash or as an equivalent issue of
    shares (at the option of TAA) based on the prevailing TAA share
    price. A second payment on identical terms to the first will be due
    on production and sale of cumulate 50,000 lbs Ta2O5 or equivalent.

    BROCKMAN PROJECT

    Brockman JV Tantalum Australia (TAA) & Aztec Resources (AZR)

    BACKGROUND

    The Brockman project is situated in the east Kimberley district
    approximately 18km southeast of Halls Creek and covers 20 square
    kilometres held by Aztec Resources Ltd. The Duncan Highway is a
    graded gravel road extending from Halls Creek and passes within 5km
    of the target area of the project.

    This project, discovered in the early 1980s, was subjected to intense
    exploration and metallurgical testing in an attempt to rapidly
    exploit its zirconium and rare earth resources. The presence of
    niobium and tantalum was known from early stages of exploration but
    has never been the focus of any development. All the zirconium, Rare
    Earth Elements (REE) and niobium minerals occur in a zone of a
    discrete trachytic tuff unit that is termed the "Niobium Tuff".
    Whilst extending through 3.5km of strike the stratigraphic unit is
    locally thickened from which zones the reported resources of 4.3
    million tonnes derive and is weathered to 30 metres depth. The unit
    crops-out well and, from drilling, appears to dip approximately 60deg
    easterly.

    RESOURCE

    This world class project comprises measured indicated and inferred
    resources (non JORC) of approximately 50 million tonnes at 4,400ppm
    Nb2O5, 270ppm Ta2O5, 1240ppm Y2O3, 110ppm Ga, 350ppm HfO2, 900ppm REE
    and 1.03% ZrO2. Open pitable resources (non JORC) to 70 metres depth
    were estimated to be 4.29 million tonnes at average grades of 270ppm
    Ta2O5 is and 4,400ppm Nb2O5 with an estimated stripping ratio of 4:1.
    The resource is open along strike and at depth. Based on current
    world market prices for tantalum, niobium and yttrium oxides in
    concentrate the open pitable resource has an in ground value of $750
    million. This value does not include the REE and Zirconia.

    The project has been modelled as a REE resource with little attention
    paid to the production of niobium and tantalum, except where these
    elements may be used to add revenue to the total resource. That is,
    specific attention to the preferential extraction of the rare metals
    (eg tantalum, niobium and yttrium) does not appear to have been a
    priority. CSIRO was engaged to develop a system for the extraction of
    REE and specific elements such as zirconium and yttrium. This system
    involved sulphation, water leaching and solvent extraction and
    resulted in recoveries of about 65% Nb2O5 and 8% Ta2O5.

    METALLURGY

    TAA will focus on metallurgical test work followed by a feasibility
    study into production of a mineral concentrate for sale to refiners
    that maximises recovery of niobium and tantalum from the oxide
    section of the deposit. The test work will pursue simple gravity
    recovery and will be undertaken at TAA's metallurgical facility at
    Balcatta.

    Columbite being the major niobium/tantalum bearing mineral in this
    deposit is a great advantage as it is the preferred feedstock mineral
    for many refiners and can be separated from the other mineral species
    by gravity and wet magnetic separation.

    TAA REFINING PROCESS

    The potential application of TAA's new refining process, the subject
    of an R&D programme with Boston University (as previously announced),
    to the concentrates produced from Brockman will be assessed as part
    of the metallurgical evaluation programme to potentially optimise
    recovery of rare metals from the deposit.

    JOINT VENTURE

    The terms of the farm in give TAA the right to earn 60% by the
    expenditure of $1,500,000 within three years and a total of 78% by
    the expenditure of an additional $2,000,000 within five years. TAA
    can withdraw at any time after the expenditure of $150,000 within the
    first year and if it elects to earn 78% will fund the next $2,500,000
    of expenditure to be repaid out of 100% of the profits derived from
    future production from the project.

    SALES CONTRACT

    TAA has executed a contact with a European refiner for the supply,
    subject to TAA board approval, of 60 tonnes of columbite concentrates
    (containing 50% Nb2O5 and 5% Ta2O5) from the Gascoyne project. This
    contract will consume all the concentrates produced during the
    initial three month evaluation phase of the project and includes a
    provision for extension once evaluation of the future production
    potential has been completed. If the contract is extended it would
    have a yearly value of at least $1.25 million without any increase in
    monthly volumes, however the customer has indicated the volumes
    required my increase by up to 300% subject to quality and
    availability.

    TAA has received several approaches from overseas refiners who
    require supply of the columbite product similar to that found at the
    Gascoyne project. The world market for Niobium is in excess of 60
    million pounds contained Nb2O5 per annum and has been more stable and
    consistent than the market for tantalum over the last 12 months.
    Given the size of the Brockman resource TAA is actively pursuing
    additional customers who have already approached the company looking
    for supply of niobium concentrates in particular.

    DALGARANGA PROJECT UPDATE

    Future operations will focus on processing feed from the Niobe
    deposit whilst this deposit is higher grade than the Dalgaranga
    deposit the mineralisation is finer grained and will require only the
    spiral and table section of the existing treatment plant. The coarse
    recovery jig circuit will not be require and has been removed and
    transported to the companies Balcatta facility for reconfiguration
    into the bulk sampling plant to be used at the Gascoyne project and
    possibly at the Binneringie project. This effectively creates two
    recovery plants from the existing circuit and will allow simultaneous
    operation of Dalgaranga and Gascoyne if necessary. Production at
    Dalgaranga has been halted during this reconfiguration.

    For further information contact Michael Fotios.

    P Farrah
    COMPANY SECRETARY
 
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