Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Thor Mining PLC (ASX:THR) CEO and Chairman, Mick Billing
Donna Sawyer: Hello I’m Donna Sawyer from the Finance News Network and joining me from Thor Mining (ASX:THR) is CEO and Chairman, Mick Billing. Mick welcome to FNN.
Mick Billing: Hi Donna, nice to talk to you.
Donna Sawyer: Thor Mining is a mineral development company with tenements in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Tell me about your projects and what are they prospective for?
Mick Billing: Yeah sure. The first of those is Molyhil, that’s a tungsten project with a little bit of molybdenum with it and that’s about four hours east, northeast of Alice Springs. The second in order of ranking I guess, is our Spring Hill gold project about 150ks south of Darwin and that is gold, and gold only. And finally, we have an exploration project in the Dundas area southwest of Norseman – I’m sorry, southeast of Norseman in Western Australia. And that’s a gold project, there might be a sniff of nickel about, but we’re calling it gold.
Donna Sawyer: Thor Mining’s wholly-owned Molyhil deposit in the Northern Territory is your key focus. What’s the size of the resource and at what stage is the project?
Mick Billing: Sure, we’ve got a resource of about 4.7 million tonnes which is relatively small, but we’re talking about high value commodities here. Tungsten is around $40 a kilogram or $400 a metric tonne unit, at the moment and that’s a pretty high price. So 4.7 million tonnes at about 0.3 per cent WO3,which is how it’s measured and we also have a reserve of about 1.6 million tonnes at 0.4 per cent. And we’re working on increasing the size of that reserve by using some technology that’s perhaps a little bit innovative. And also by some cost reduction methods, which should allow us to get more of that resource into the reserve.
Donna Sawyer: What are your plans to advance both the development and exploration at the Molyhil deposit, and what role do you see the project playing in the future?
Mick Billing: We suspect that within 12 months of getting finance and off-take agreements, Molyhil will be in production. It’s not a large project which will take a long long time, it’s relatively compact and we therefore hope that sometime during the next 12 months, we will be on our way towards production. And it will have a production life delivering returns for shareholders of about, five or six years.
Donna Sawyer: So how are you going to be funding the exploration program over the coming year?
Mick Billing: Our next milestone at Molyhil is achieving an off-take agreement for the concentrate. Our share price is a little depressed at the moment; everybody knows that, we’re not orphans. Most of the resource industry, in the junior sector at any rate, is a little underfunded and has a share price that has been wacked about. We suspect that with the work we’re doing on off-take, we’ll have an answer that will keep ourselves happy and give us some encouragement in the next couple of months.
And also, we’ll have some answers to some questions about cost reductions in about the same period of time. That will allow us to – allow our share price to grow we hope, and raise some capital but we will have to borrow some money for this project. And in the current market that’s not as easy as we would like, but right now tungsten’s a relatively popular commodity. We’re hopeful we’ll be able to fund that.
Donna Sawyer: Let’s talk about your gold projects. South of Darwin, you have the Spring Hill gold project where drilling has just recommenced. What have the studies revealed prior to the latest campaign?
Mick Billing: We’ve got a resource at Spring Hill of about seven million tonnes at about 1.71/.80 grams per tonne of gold. That’s modest but it’s not too bad, particularly when you have a processing plant down the road that is tremendously underutilised. We have an agreement with our neighbours who operate that plant to process the gold, the gold ore at that plant. And thus, we can bring that into production relatively quickly.
We’ve also been doing some work on approvals for a low cost quarrying operation of the near-surface oxidised ore. And the environmental hurdles for an operation of that size are relatively small, compared with a full-blown mining and processing operation, digging out ore that has sulphur associated with it and acidic runoff that that generates. So we believe we’ve got a project that can come into production quite quickly. And what we are now trying to do with this current drilling program is enhance some of the parameters around that.
Donna Sawyer: What are you hoping to identify at the Spring Hill project, and when would you expect to release the latest results to the market?
Mick Billing: Yeah sure Donna. In our drilling program last year, we identified a zone of mineralisation that wasn’t known and Spring Hill has been known about for many years. And we intersected some reasonable grades and widths of gold, at about 140 metres below the surface. What we’re doing now is going back and trying to confirm that that mineralisation extends towards the surface. And if it does, at similar grades, similar widths that will make quite a bit of difference to the amount of gold we can extract. And without affecting the cost of that much at all, in this initial quarrying operation I just spoke about. We would hope to have some results that could be put out to the market, let’s say early
October. I suspect it may happen before, but there’s not much of September left.
Donna Sawyer: Finally Mick, where would you like to see Thor Mining in 12 months’ time?
Mick Billing: In 12 months’ time, it’d be nice to see Thor producing gold out of Spring Hill and under construction at Molyhil. It’s been a long time between drinks for our investors; it’s time they got a dividend out of it.
Donna Sawyer: Mick Billing thanks for the introduction to Thor Mining.
Mick Billing: Thank you.