DRILLING at Crusader Resources’ Posse iron ore mine in Brazil has intercepted broad zones of high-grade massive haematite ore, as the project ramps up to full production in August.
Two drill holes returned an average grade of about 45 per cent iron, a marginal increase on the mine’s JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate of 36 million tonnes grading 43.5 per cent iron. Results included 136.6m at 45.23 per cent iron from surface in PORC-003 and 120m at 45.26 per cent iron from surface in PORC-004.
The drilling also intercepted thick zones of friable itabirite, which comprises the bulk of the project resource. The company reported that this itabirite would be the principal ore to feed the project’s planned Stage 2 beneficiation plant.
Crusader has brought forward its planned Stage 2 feasibility work on the treatment of the lower grade fines being stockpiled on site, which the company reported “has the potential to increase economics in the short to medium term at
the project”.
Subject to additional licensing and metallurgy, Stage 2 processing would upgrade the itabirite ore into high-grade sinter and pellet feed products, both readily saleable into the local Brazilian market.
Additional Stage 2 scoping study work is now underway with the focus on metallurgy, marketing and logistics.
“The drilling at Posse served multiple purposes, with short-term mine planning to maximise the lump ore products the most pressing,” Crusader managing director Rob Smakman said.
“The near-surface, high-grade haematite lenses announced today will have a positive impact on the short-term planning.
“In the medium and longer term, we will have a much improved database on which to base the economics of Stage 2, ensuring the longer term future of the Posse project.”
The company stated that further results would be released in August. Following first sales from Posse in March, the ramp up of the mine – 30km from the mining capital of Belo Horizonte – remains on schedule.
Crusader reported from Posse that commissioning was ongoing, with the plant achieving a maximum throughput rate of 139t per hour in June, marginally below the nameplate rate of 140t/h.
On 2 July, the miner reported that it had re-started production at Posse after overturning a temporary injunction served late the previous week. The injunction, served by a Brazilian government agency, was based on allegations that correct operating licences were not in place.