Iron ore explorer Freehill Mining (ASX: FHS) has uncovered more thick, “extremely high-grade magnetite” at the YB6 target within its Yerbas Buenas project in Chile, with mineralisation evident from near surface and increasing at depth.
Highlight results using a handheld magnetic susceptibility meter include 104m at 38% iron from 34m, 91m at 47% iron from 37m, and 70m at 46% iron from 110m.
Freehill noted that previous testing on similar Yerbas Buenas ore has shown it can be readily upgraded to high-quality concentrates assaying between 64-68% iron.
“The extremely high grade magnetite intersected near surface and at depth on the YB6 structure reinforces our view that we are likely sitting on a large and high-grade ore body that lies around 30km from a local pellet feed plant that will process all our product,” Freehill chief executive officer Peter Hinner said.
“This, and other positive attributes of the project, gives us a major future cost and market advantage,” he pointed out.
Mr Hinner added the latest grade was from onsite testing, but the core was visually “stunning” and that assays will likely correlate with magnetic susceptibility readings.
Geologists logging the core onsite have noted five styles of magnetite mineralisation including disseminated, veins, stockwork, breccia and massive.
“We look forward to reporting assays very soon, and prior to this, we anticipate further updates on drilling progress and work we are doing across some exciting copper targets in the north of the project.”
Freehill anticipates the project could host enough magnetite material to underpin a 15-20 year bulk mining operation.
Tried and tested magnetite concentrate
Trial mining has already been underway for the last few years at the YB1 structure which has a maiden resource of 18.4Mt at 15.1% iron, with a concentrate grade of 68.4% iron.
Freehill has sold more than 170,000t of magnetite concentrate from YB1 to Chile’s largest iron ore pellet feed producer Compania Minera del Pacifico, which has a plant less than 30km from the project.
The company’s strategy is to firm up an operation that could feed ore to the plant on a commercial scaled.
Meanwhile, testing of the copper and gold mineralisation is anticipated to begin this month, with diamond drilling to target two IP anomalies identified in earlier exploration.