The Muchea West Silica Project, acquired by Carbine Resources in July 2021, is located less than a kilometre from the town of Muchea, 40 km north of Perth, adjacent to both the Moora-Kwinana rail line and the Brand Highway. The northern extension of the Muchea West sand dune is host to the VRX Resources, Reserve and silica sand Mining Lease.
Drilling completed in 2019 has identified high purity silica sands at Muchea West with over 99.6% SiO2 and low levels of impurity (Fe2O3 and Al2O3). The grade of the silica sand exceeds the requirements for Float and Container glass. This unusually high grade can result, following a simple processing route, in a number of products at the premium end of the silica glass market including the ultra clear, high-tech glass market.
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Muchea West Silica Sand Project
The region surrounding the Project has been explored for both silica sand and mineral sands.
A total of 82 vacuum drill holes (78 drill holes to a depth of 10m and 4 drill holes to depths between 15m and 20m) were drilled at nominal 200m spacing on six drill lines along existing tracks (as shown in Figure 3 below) within the tenement area. This drilling was completed by Australian United Silica Corporation Pty Ltd (Ausco). Previously the area within the tenement has been drilled for water and this drilling resulted in 28 water bores.
Current Exploration Activities
Carbine’s maiden drill program consisted of a total of 233 vacuum drill holes which were drilled at nominal 50m spacing on five drill lines along existing tracks (as shown in Figure 3 below) within the tenement area. This drilling was completed by Strataprobe Pty Ltd.
Figure 3: Drill Collar Plan
The drilling encountered unconsolidated sand and was terminated either at designated depth or the water table. The water table was in most places higher than expected due to the exceptional rainfall in the preceding two years. For the vacuum drilling, 1 metre downhole samples were collected at each drilling location. Vacuum drill samples are collected in a plastic tube and riffle split into two sample bags. One of the samples is prepared for laboratory and the other is retained for repeat analysis, process studies and QA/QC purposes. The sample splitter and vacuum tube are cleaned regularly to prevent sample contamination.
Drilled samples for each 1 m interval were also placed into chip trays which were photographed to provide a permanent record of the downhole lithology. Detailed visual assessment and logging of sample recovery are provided in the drill logs. The first metre of all the drill holes is mainly the humus layer and, as such, not assayed.
The sample assays will determine the major and trace elements such as SiO2 (%), Fe2O3 (%), Al2O3 (%), CaO (%) MgO (%), K2O (%), TiO2 (%) and LOI (%). Major and trace elements in exception to SiO2 will be analysed using a four-acid digest followed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical (Atomic) Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) analysis. Loss on Ignition (LOI) at 10000C will be analysed by Thermal Gravimetric Analyser. SiO2 will be back calculated by subtracting all ICP major and trace elements plus LOI from 100%.
A total of 1,088 samples have been transported to Intertek Genalysis Laboratories, with results expected in January 2022.
Figure 4: Vacuum drilling line 5
A number of studies have been commissioned by Carbine to further progress the Muchea West Project and to advance towards a Mining Licence application.
Drill lines 1 and 2 (Figure 3) are spaced close enough for the sample results to be used to complete a Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) within the JORC 2012 guidelines.
To this end, Widenbar and Associates have been engaged to undertake the MRE. The Principal Geologist, Lynn Widenbar, is a Member of the AusIMM and a competent person for this style of deposit.
Independent Metallurgical Operations (IMO) will undertake beneficiation process optimisation studies utilising the drill samples produced from the recent programme and, if necessary, the samples from the earlier 82 holes completed prior to Carbine’s acquisition of the Muchea West Silica Sand project.
Final product from these trials will be available to Carbine to allow for the commencement of discussions regarding offtake from any future operation.
PGV Environmental have been contracted to commence a botanical survey, Milsearch and Terrestrial Ecosystems have been engaged to complete the fauna studies with commencement expected in February. These surveys are a prerequisite for the lodging of a Program of Work (PoW) with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) and will be continued to complete the requirements for the lodging of a MLA.
The results of this first drilling campaign completed by Carbine will define the second and definitive campaign of resource drilling. The work required to allow Carbine to apply for access and approval of this PoW has commenced or is being put in place.
Carbine will commence drilling at Muchea West after permission is granted by all relevant parties and a survey has been completed to clear the drilling locations. The optimum period for this drilling is March to May 2022.
The proposed phase 2 drill program is for up to 1,000 holes and 10,000m.
The completion of this drilling will feed into a Definitive Feasibility Study that will include Resource/Reserve estimations, final processing options, transport and infrastructure studies and the production of bulk samples for potential client engagements.
At the completion of this process Carbine expects to be in a position to apply for a Mining Licence and Mining Approvals.