VRX Silica (ASX: VRX) is poised to begin grade control drilling at its Arrowsmith North silica sand project near Geraldton in Western Australia with the aim of upgrading resources to proven reserve status.
The program will involve 130 holes of aircore drilling, with VRX focused on converting 10-12 million tonnes to the proven reserve category.
Drilling will target the previous reported mineral resource area which has a current estimate of 771Mt at 0.98% silicon dioxide.
The drilling campaign also aims to confirm the continuity and homogeneity of the mineralisation that was demonstrated in previous drilling.
VRX noted the program will take about 10 days to complete with assays anticipated in May.
“The drilling of tight spaced grade control holes at Arrowsmith North is another key pre-production activity being undertaken as we prepare for the commencement of mining,” VRX managing director Bruce Maluish explained.
“The area being grade control drilled is where we are planning to mine for the first six-to-10 years,” he added.
Fine tuning process design
As well as upgrading the resource to reserve status, VRX will use samples to conduct supplementary metallurgical test work.
This will feed into fine tuning the design and operating parameters for the process plant. It will also be used to ensure VRX has approvals required by Mid West Ports to export the silica under its environmental licence.
Mounting silica demand in Asian region
VRX will also send samples from drilling to potential offtake partners for evaluation.
Mr Maluish pointed out that quality silica sand sources throughout Asia were shrinking at “rapid rate”.
“This has led to tremendous interest for VRX’s silica sand from potential customers who are acutely aware of the problem.”
“We are well-positioned to fill this demand and, as we develop our silica sand projects, remain focused on delivering long term offtake partnerships with significant participants in the Asian market.”