Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Broken Hill Prospecting Limited (ASX:BPL) Managing Director, Dr Ian Pringle.
Joining me today from Broken Hill Prospecting Limited (ASX:BPL) is Managing Director, Dr Ian Pringle. Ian welcome to FNN.
Dr Ian Pringle: Thank you, it’s great to be here.
Could you start by introducing Broken Hill Prospecting?
Dr Ian Pringle: Broken Hill Prospecting is just a small company. We listed about a year ago on the ASX and the New Zealand SX and we focus very much on cobalt mineralisation at Broken Hill. We’re lucky enough to have some very large cobalt deposits, which we’ve discovered over a couple of drilling programs, just since we’ve listed. And it’s very interesting going forward on the exploration side of that.
And could you explain why does the Company focus on cobalt?
Dr Ian Pringle: Well cobalt’s a really interesting metal; it’s a small metal of the future. It’s used largely in rechargeable batteries; it’s used for superalloys and hardened steel for turbines and jet engines. And it’s pretty well all produced, 65 per cent last year came out of central Africa in the Congo. So the United States, Japan and Europe produce no cobalt whatsoever. So it’s very important to have another supply of cobalt and we are fortunate enough in Broken Hill, to have a pretty big deposit.
So looking closer at your projects: What does the Railway cobalt deposit contain?
Dr Ian Pringle: Well we’re very lucky because cobalt in our project areas has been known about for quite some time - small deposits called Pryrite Hill and Big Hill. And we were fortunate enough to find a lot, a very large deposit based on some geophysical work we did. And we drilled those targets and we found the Railway project, which is a very large near-surface pryrite deposit which is cobaltiferous and extends for over four kilometres within our granted exploration licenses, and partly within our mining leases.
And what has the most recent drilling revealed?
Dr Ian Pringle: Well the most drilling has been very wide spaced, because it’s such a long strike length of mineralisation and the average distance between holes is about 200 to 250 metres. So all along the strike extent of the Railway deposit, we’ve been fortunate that drill holes have intersected a lot of cobalt mineralisation. And we’ve got a lot more work of drilling to closely define it, but we’ve got enough confidence to know now, that the deposit extends quite considerably along that strike length.
So Ian, what are the Company’s plans for the project in the second half of the year?
Dr Ian Pringle: Well going forward, we’re looking at doing obviously a review of the drilling results but also, we can start a scoping study looking at producing a cobalt concentrate. And that’ll be a large open cut deposit and it’ll be based on producing a pryrite concentrate with probably about 0.5 per cent cobalt in it. And that will be then used – because we’re right beside the railway line, as the project name infers and that’s the main trunk railway line between Broken Hill and Adelaide, we really are in an excellent position. We’re only 20 kilometres from Broken Hill, by road, and it’s an ideal location to develop a potential mine. So we’re pretty excited about that.
And are there any by-products which may add value?
Dr Ian Pringle: Yes there are. Out of the pryrite concentrate, when we produce the pryrite concentrate that will be processed and we will recover quite a bit of sulphuric acid from that. Now sulphuric acid will be used for industrial minerals application, such as fertilizer manufacture or for other mining ventures. So that will be a considerable add-on to the project. And also as a by-product of making the concentrate, we’ll produce a quartz-feldspar mix; it’ll possibly be of use in the ceramic industry. So there will be lots of add-ons to the cobalt, so we’ve got a lot of different avenues for helping the project along.
So assuming the project passes all the necessary steps. When do you hope to be in production?
Dr Ian Pringle: Well we’re early stages yet, we’re only at scoping stage. We’ve got feasibility work to do and we’ve got development approvals and environmental impact statements, and all that administrative work and community consultation work. But adding all those together, because it’s a really well located project and deposit that we think, we’ve probably got a very good chance of being in production by early 2016. So it’s not all that long down the track, actually it’s very exciting.
Now Broken Hill Prospecting also has a number of other cobalt prospects. How do these compare to the Railway prospect in size
Dr Ian Pringle: Well close to Railway, we have two – at least two well-known deposits. Pryrite Hill, which is about 16 million tonnes of much the same grade and it’s got lots of upside, of probably another 20 odd million tonnes in that deposit alone. And that’s fairly well drill tested, we’ve got about 20 drill holes into Pryrite Hill. And we’ve got another nearby deposit called Big Hill deposit. And that’s got about five million tonnes at much the same grade, and lots of upside to expand that as well. And as part of our exploration, we’ve also found an extension to Big Hill and we’ve found another deposit we call the Offset deposit. We’ve only got one drill hole into that, so we really don’t know much about it, but it’ll certainly add tonnes and it’s all near-surface and potentially open cut - all of those resources.
Finally Ian, what would you like to see Broken Hill Prospecting achieve in 2012?
Dr Ian Pringle: Well by the end of 2012, I hope to have a well-documented scoping study and certainly an outline resource. And we also hope to have engaged engineers and pre-feasibility work, and certainly progressing towards that will require funding. And we’ll be probably looking at some of the in-member users of cobalt and sulphuric acid to help us out in that department. But we hope to be in a pretty strong position as far as where we’re going forward, as far as feasibility work and early development stages, by the end of the year.
Ian Pringle, thanks for introducing us to Broken Hill Prospecting.
Dr Ian Pringle: Thank you very much, you’re welcome.