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Impact Minerals Limited

Overview

Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT) is an exploration and development mining company focused on discovering and developing new resource projects within Australia. Lake Hope, a recent transformational acquisition by the company and its current flagship asset, is a high-purity alumina (HPA) project in Impact’s home territory of Western Australia, a tier-one jurisdiction.

This advanced-stage project allows the company to fast-track the asset toward development, firmly establishing the company on the road to production and increasing shareholder value.

HPA is a high-value product with various uses in several industries that are key to the transition to a low-carbon world. Its main uses are in LED lighting, micro-LED screens, and ceramic-coated separators in lithium-ion batteries. Both these markets are forecast to grow dramatically over the next decade, and a looming supply shortage is predicted for 2026.

HPA is also necessary for producing synthetic sapphire and scratch-resistant glass. With these ever-widening applications for HPA, demand for this resource is expected to grow from US$3.18 billion to US$12.21 billion by 2030 with a compounded annual growth rate of about 20 percent.

Lake Hope is the company’s current focus as it moves towards production, and where a very shallow, high-grade resource of HPA precursor material has been identified in the top two meters of a dry salt lake. The deposit has unique physical and chemical properties that will allow for inexpensive digging and mining, with transportation to a processing facility off-site in an established industrial area. This will accelerate the approvals processes required to get into production.

Impact is currently focused on lodging a mining lease application. The company aims to bring Lake Hope, which contains almost 1 million tons of potential HPA, into production when the forecast average price for 4N HPA (99.99 percent AL203) and related products is about US$20,000 per ton. The ‘4N’ designation indicates the purity grade, making it suitable for high-tech end uses.

Outstanding economics from the latest scoping study released by the company shows Lake Hope’s potential to be the lowest-cost producer of HPA globally by up to 50 percent.

In June 2023, Impact announced a maiden mineral resource estimate (MRE) of 3.5 million tons at 25.1 percent alumina (Al2O3) for a contained 880,000 tons of alumina. The company also received heritage clearances for the entire Lake Hope deposit further de-risking the project and providing another critical component in the company’s application for a mining lease.

Impact completed a bulk sampling and test pits program at the Lake Hope project in December 2023. The company recently announced a key milestone having produced HPA greater than 99.99 percent (4N) purity from the metallurgical processing of lake clays acquired from Lake Hope.

In February 2024, a new proprietary metallurgical process for producing HPA from the lake clays was identified. Impact produced 99.99 percent (4N) Al2O3 from a low-temperature leach (LTL) process. The LTL process may lower the capital and operating costs to produce HPA compared to the sulphate process which underpinned the recent scoping study. The LTL process will be included in the ongoing pre-feasibility study in parallel with the sulphate process at marginal extra cost to determine the best processing route to HPA. The PFS is due to be completed on schedule in late 2024.

A comparison of the LTL process and the sulphate process

The company received a significant research and development refund of $753,000 from its exploration activities completed in the financial year ending June 30th, 2022. The company is well funded to finance the pre-feasibility study at the Lake Hope High Purity Alumina project and exploration activities at the Arkun battery minerals project.

Impact Minerals was also one of the inaugural cohort of seven companies selected to be part of the prestigious BHP Xplor program. BHP Xplor, an accelerator program introduced by BHP in August 2022, is designed to help provide participants with the opportunity to accelerate their growth and the potential to establish a long-term partnership with BHP and its global network of partners.

The BHP Xplor funding was used to identify new target areas for copper and other energy metals around the Broken Hill area in New South Wales, eastern Australia, where Impact has been quietly adding to its ground position for several years.

Additionally, the company is exploring its large Arkun battery metals project, also in Western Australia which covers nearly 2,900 square kilometres. Three new exploration licence applications were submitted recently immediately north of the Arkun project along trend from the recently discovered REE soil geochemistry anomalies at Hyperion, Swordfish and Horseshoe, and the Caligula copper anomaly. These anomalies require drill testing which will occur in 2024 and is an exciting development in the emerging mineral province of southwest WA.

A strong management team with over 50 years of combined industry experience leads the company. With a mining and exploration geology degree, Dr. Mike Jones, managing director, launched a long career consulting and leading mining organizations. Peter Unsworth, the non-executive chairman, has more than 35 years of experience in multiple financial sectors, such as securities industries and wealth management. Paul Ingram, a non-executive director, has led several mining companies since 2003. Impact Minerals has the experience and expertise to lead the company to success.

Company Highlights

Impact Minerals is an exploration and development mining company focused on rapidly moving its flagship Lake Hope high-purity alumina (HPA) project towards production.Lake Hope project has a high-grade maiden mineral resource estimate (MRE) of 3.5 million tonnes at 25.1 percent alumina (Al2O3), for a contained 880,000 tonnes of alumina that can be converted to HPA.HPA is used throughout multiple industries, and the overall HPA market is projected to grow by a CAGR of 18.4 percent by 2030.A pre-feasibility study is currently in progress, and Impact plans to lodge a mining lease application by Q3 2024 after results of its scoping study indicated that Lake Hope could potentially be one of, if not the lowest-cost producer of HPA globally, possibly by a significant margin of up to 50 percent.The company’s project portfolio also includes assets with high-grade mineral deposits of a range of base, critical and precious metals.Impact Mineral’s 2,000-square-mile Arkun nickel-copper-PGE project in Western Australia has produced encouraging assays motivating further exploration with maiden drill programmes planned for 2024.The company is also exploring its Broken Hill copper project in New South Wales under the auspices of the BHP Xplor program.A strong management team leads the company with experience in geology, mining and corporate finance.

Key Projects

Lake Hope HPA Project

Impact Minerals’ Lake Hope HPA project is in Western Australia, a tier-one mining jurisdiction. HPA is a crucial component in many new and emerging technologies, creating ongoing demand for high-grade sources. The Lake Hope project has become the company’s flagship as it moves toward production.

Project Highlights:

Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate: A maiden mineral resource of 3.5 million tonnes at 25.1 percent alumina (Al2O3) for a contained 880,000 tonnes of alumina has been defined at the Lake Hope HPA Project. About 88 percent of the resource, or 775,000 tonnes of alumina, is in the higher confidence indicated resource category.Amenable to Open-pit Mining: The Lake Hope project is a unique HPA asset amenable to shallow, open-pit mining. The deposit is soft and shallow, allowing for cheap digging and minimal infrastructure requirements. This type of deposit also lowers the environmental footprint of the operation.Fast-tracked to Production: The company is currently awaiting its Mining Lease Application. Once granted, the company will begin working towards a pre-feasibility study and mini pilot plant. Impact Minerals plans to reach a complete pilot plant by 2026.Impressive Results of the 2023 Scoping Study: Outstanding economics show Lake Hope to potentially be the lowest-cost producer of High Purity Alumina (HPA) globally by up to 50 percent. Key outcomes from the scoping study include:Annual production of 10,000 tpa of 4N HPA with an initial 25-year mine lifeAnnual EBITDA of A$174 million.2 years construction period with 5,000 tonnes of production during the first year, 8,000 tonnes in the second year and 10,000 tonnes of production thereafter.US$934 million post-tax NPV8 at an IRR of 55 percent.

The scoping study was underpinned by a sulphuric acid process allowing the company to achieve a new milestone by producing HPA with purity of more than than 99.99 percent (4N) from the metallurgical processing of lake clays acquired from Lake Hope. The company further identified a new proprietary metallurgical process for producing HPA from the lake clays. Known as the low-temperature leach (LTL) process, this also produced 99.99 percent (4N) Al2O3 and has the potential to lower even further the capital and operating costs to produce HPA compared to the sulphate process. The LTL process will be included in the ongoing pre-feasibility study along with the sulphate process to determine the best processing route to HPA. The PFS is due to be completed in late 2024.

Broken Hill Copper Project

The Broken Hill project has a significant land position of 815 square kilometers and hosts multiple targets with the potential for high-grade copper. Broken Hill is located in New South Wales, Australia, an area known for its prolific silver-lead-zinc mining operations and the giant Broken Hill deposit.

Project Highlights:

Potential for Additional Minerals and Deposits: As well as copper, the project has significant exploration potential for magmatic nickel-copper-PGE sulphides, and at the time the host rocks were formed, Broken Hill was located close to the world-class nickel-copper-PGE deposit of Jinchuan and the significant Lengquisheng deposit. The project area also has the potential to contain zinc-lead-silver deposits, providing even more value.

Arkun Nickel-Copper-Gold-Lithium-REE Project

The Arkun project is a 2,900-square-kilometer nickel, copper and gold project located in the emerging Ni-Cu-PGE province near the world-class Julimar Ni-Cu-PGE deposit and surrounded by Anglo American Corporation, which secured its ground holding shortly after Impact secured its asset. Anglo-American is one of the world’s top ten mining companies, and their presence in the region brings confidence in the project’s potential.

Project Highlights:

Additional Exploration Underway: Impact plans follow-up work programs, including drilling, at its priority targets.Significant Targets Identified: Recent soil sampling identified two new prospects:Hyperion prospect – Located in the northwestern part of the project area returned with rare earth element anomalism of up to 5,880 ppm (0.59 percent) total rare earth oxide (TREO+Y) and neodymium and praseodymium (Nd+Pr) of up to 21 percent.Caligula prospect – Initially identified on the roadside, the Caligula prospect is a large and significant target for porphyry copper mineralisation.Three New Exploration Licences: Impact applied for three new exploration licences expanding Arkun project along trend from the recently discovered REE soil geochemistry anomalies at Hyperion, Swordfish and Horseshoe as well as the Caligula copper anomaly.

Management Team

Peter Unsworth – Non-executive Chairman

Peter Unsworth, formerly a chartered accountant, has over 35 years of experience in the corporate finance, investment and securities industries and a wealth of management experience with public and private companies. A former executive director with a leading Western Australian stockbroking company, Unsworth has been a director of several public exploration and mining companies. He recently completed a long time serving as chairman of the Western Australian Government-owned Gold Corporation (operator of The Perth Mint). Unsworth is the founding chairman of Impact Minerals.

Dr. Mike Jones – Managing Director

Dr. Mike Jones is the founding managing director of Impact Minerals Limited, which was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in November 2006. Reporting to the board of directors, he is responsible for the company’s performance as it moves towards production at its Lake Hope High Purity Alumina Project and also for implementing strategies to explore and maximize the value of the company’s other extensive tenement holdings.

Since listing, he has helped raise more than $60 million to help fund the exploration of Impact’s projects and managed the company through significant adverse events, including the global financial crisis and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which affected Impact’s considerable investment in the uranium sector, a five-year global downturn in the mining sector and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Ingram – Non-executive Director

Paul Ingram is a geologist with extensive experience managing major mineral exploration programs for several publicly listed companies and has been involved in the mining sector for over thirty years. He has designed and implemented innovative techniques for exploration in remote areas and has managed projects in countries throughout Australia and East Asia. Ingram has been a director of the following listed companies in the past three years: Polo Resources from January 2008 to January 2011; A-Cap Resources since June 2009; Consolidated Global Investments since September 2006; Caledon Resources from February 2003 to March 2008; and Australian Pacific Coal since March 2011.

Dr Frank Bierlein – Non-executive Director

Dr. Frank Bierlein is a geologist with 30 years of experience as a consultant, researcher, lecturer and industry professional. Bierlein has held exploration and generative geology management positions with QMSD Mining, Qatar Mining, Afmeco Australia and Areva NC, and consulted for, among others, Newmont Gold, Resolute Mining, Goldfields International, Freeport McMoRan, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. He is currently a non-executive director of PNX Metals. He was previously a non-executive director of Gold Australia NL and chaired the advisory board of a Luxembourg-based private equity fund between 2014 and 2021.

This post appeared first on investingnews.com
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