Perth-based exploration company Bryah Resources (ASX: BYH) has completed the first phase of manganese exploration drilling at its Bryah Basin project in central Western Australia, under a $7.3 million joint venture agreement signed in April with OM Holdings (ASX: OMH).
The agreement applies to approximately 660 square kilometres of the Bryah’s landholding in the basin, including the historic Horseshoe South manganese mine.
OM’s subsidiary OM (Manganese) will fund $500,000 of exploration within the area before the end of June, starting with the just-completed drilling program.
A total of 122 holes for 3062 metres of reverse circulation drilling was completed at four prospects – Horseshoe South, Brumby Creek, Devils Hill and Black Cat.
Over 1300 one-metre interval samples from Horseshoe South Extended and Brumby Creek areas have since been delivered to a Perth laboratory, with assays expected next month.
A consignment of samples from Devils Hill and Black Cat are also planned for analysis.
A follow-up drilling program will commence next month.
Bryah and OM signed the farm-in and joint venture agreement in April with a view to fast-tracking the development of a commercially-mineable manganese project, leading to near-term production.
The agreement applies to manganese mineral rights only at Horseshoe South and several surrounding manganese prospects.
Bryah will retain the rights to all other minerals within the project area.
OM Holdings is a vertically-integrated manganese and silicon specialist involved in mining, smelting and trading, with operations in Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa.
In Australia, the company operates the Bootu Creek manganese mine in the Northern Territory.
Horseshoe South is the largest historic manganese mine in the Bryah Basin region, having produced approximately 1 million tonnes of high-grade ore from 1948-1969 and 2008-2011.
The Horseshoe Range area has been the main manganese-producing region within the Bryah and Padbury Basins, with production dominated by Horseshoe South and a smaller satellite deposit at Horseshoe North.
The first production period for the two deposits resulted in 490,000 tonnes of ore at a reported average grade of 42% manganese.
During the second period, a subsidiary of ASX-listed Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN) processed historical stockpiles and completed open pit mining operations to produce and sell more than 400,000t of manganese ore.
At mid-morning trade, shares in Bryah Resources remained steady at $0.074, while shares in OM Holdings were down 3.97% to $0.725.