Investigator Resources adds tungsten stream to its prime silver portfolio
Advanced silver explorer Investigator Resources (ASX: IVR) has diversified its silver portfolio with the acquisition of the Molyhil tungsten project in the Northern Territory.
Governments around the world have classified tungsten as a critical mineral and the NT Government has granted Molyhil major project status.
Additionally, the price for tungsten has increased by 50% over the past 12 months and the outlook remains positive for miners.
However, the company makes it clear its Paris silver project in South Australia remains its “key focus and priority” and sees the tungsten bolt-on as adding depth to its portfolio.
In a deal with Thor Mining (ASX: THR), Investigator can earn 80% of Molyhil in three stages.
Molyhil has a current resource estimate of 4.38 million tonnes at 0.27% tungsten and 0.10% molybdenum, for a contained 11,800t of tungsten and 4,400t molybdenum.
Potential development funding
In addition to major project status, development of Molyhil could involve potential financing from the NT Infrastructure Fund, the federal government’s critical metals activation fund and the NT Local Jobs Fund.
Investigator’s managing director Andrew McIlwain says while the company’s priority will be Paris, Australia’s highest-grade undeveloped silver deposit, the opportunity Molyhil presents will add further value.
“The opportunity to earn-in to Molyhil is seen as one where we can utilise our skills and experience across key areas such as stakeholder engagement, resource definition, and project finance and development,” he added.
Tungsten complementary to silver portfolio
Mr McIlwain is experienced in tungsten after formerly running the Los Santos tungsten mine in Spain, which was divested into Toronto-based Almonty Resources (ASX: AII), and sat on that board as a founding director.
“Tungsten is an essential industrial metal unique in its hardness,” Mr McIlwain explained.
“As a rare and valuable industrial metal, it can be seen as a complementary metal to our prime commodity focus, silver.”
Under the agreement with Thor Mining, Investigator will earn an initial 25% interest in Molyhil, and acquire a 40% interest in the adjacent Bonya tenement, by spending $1 million over 18 months.
A further 26% in Molyhil and associated tenements will be gain by spending another $2 million over three years, while Stage 3 of the earn-in involves spending an additional $5 million over three years.
The Molyhil deposit was discovered in 1973 and was later mined by the former Petrocarb Exploration.
Estimates indicate about 900,000t of ore was extracted from the Molyhil pit, before operations ceased in 1982 when China flooded the global market with the metal.