Anax Metals and GreenTech Metals form copper-focused Pilbara metals alliance

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Anax Metals ASX ANX GreenTech GRE Pilbara copper base metal alliance

Anax Metals (ASX: ANX) and GreenTech Metals (ASX: GRE) have announced the formation of the Pilbara Base Metal Alliance for regional explorers seeking to monetise assets within trucking distance of Anax’s proposed Whim Creek project in Western Australia’s far north.

The companies have signed an agreement to assess the potential of treating GreenTech’s base metal assets at the fully-permitted and nearby Whim Creek processing hub, owned by Anax (80% equity) and Develop Global (ASX: DVP) (20%).

The assessment will focus on technical studies and regulatory approvals at GreenTech’s high-grade Whundo copper-zinc deposit located 40 kilometres south of Karratha.

Processing agreement

It is expected to assist the companies in developing terms for a legally-binding agreement that would allow ore from Whundo’s open pit to be processed at the proposed 400,000-tonnes per annum Whim Creek concentrator 110km to the north-east.

The concentrator will feature a refurbished heap leach facility capable of treating oxide, transitional and supergene ore.

Transaction options being considered include an outright asset sale and purchase agreement, a joint venture or joint mining and funding agreements.

While the assessment is underway, GreenTech said it would progress exploration at its wholly-owned and under-explored Austin, Shelby and Yannery prospects, where recent drilling intersected a copper-dominant mineralised horizon.

Resource base

Amalgamation of the Whim Creek and Whundo assets would result in a combined measured, indicated and inferred resource base of 17.2Mt for over 185,000t contained copper and 256,000t contained zinc.

The inclusion of Whundo could potentially increase Whim Creek’s open pit mine life and result in operational efficiencies, more favourable funding and offtake terms under a larger project, a reduction in fixed costs due to economies of scale and a reduced environmental footprint due to utilisation of a single processing facility.

The new agreement could also see the Whim Creek hub become a substantial copper producer with a capacity of up to 30,000tpa and a mine life of more than ten years.

First steps

Anax managing director Geoff Laing welcomed the new partnership.

“We are extremely pleased to take these first steps towards creating an expanded Pilbara copper business with our neighbour GreenTech,” he said.

“We look forward to delivering scalable assets with near-term ‘energy metals’ production.”

GreenTech executive director Tom Reddicliffe said it would be a “great opportunity” for the critical minerals company.

“A formalised alliance with Anax would see us take significant steps towards establishing near-term mining operations at Whundo, where we have already defined open-pittable copper and zinc resources at Yannery and Ayshia [prospects],” he said.

“This alliance could be the catalyst that the West Pilbara region needs to become a significant copper producer and we look forward to working closely with Anax to make this a reality.”