Critical Metals

Australia’s Venture Minerals is expanding into Tasmania with its Mount Lindsay tungsten project, which it expects to see first production from in 2013.

After years of exploration work in Australia, Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) is looking forward to entering the realm of tungsten production. Its Mount Lindsay project is one of the world’s largest undeveloped tin deposits and is also a source of high-grade tungsten.

“We discovered the tin zones first, in around the middle of last year, then towards the end of last year we discovered those high grade tungsten zones,” Hamish Halliday, managing director for Venture, said in an Australian Business Journal interview.

The deposit also contains magnetite. With three minerals providing revenue from the asset, Mount Lindsey is expected to be a high-margin, low-cost operation.

Venture says the deposit’s resources are shallow, and over 90 percent are expected to be amenable to open-pit mining. The mine has an expected life of over 10 years.

As the deposit is located in the heart of an established mining district in Northwest Tasmania, Venture will not be bothered by many of the infrastructure concerns that can come into play with development projects.

Though the company has yet to receive the approval needed to begin mining, Venture has pointed out that Mount Lindsay lies in a region where there are “no restrictions on mining activity, other than the standard environmental and planning approval processes required for any development.”

In May, Venture announced that it was close to completing the bankable feasibility study for the project.

But, there is opposition. Though Mount Lindsay has positive implications for tungsten supply, conservationists are opposed on the grounds that Venture’s project and other proposed operations will have negative effects on the rainforest and on Tasmanian devils. The Tarkine National Coalition (TNC) has already foreshadowed that massive protests including blockades could be on the horizon.

“We do not intend to let one mine get built let alone a province of mines as Venture is proposing,” Scott Jordan of TNC told the press following the announcement of another major discovery in the area.

However, Venture’s intention is to have first production from Mount Lindsay in 2013. The production profile for the project is reportedly estimated at 3 percent of the world’s tungsten supply.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Michelle Smith, do not hold equity interests in any companies mentioned in this article.

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