King River Copper Limited (ASX:KRC) Non Executive Chairman, Anthony Barton discusses the company's focus on vanadium, titanium and fluorspar at the Speewah Dome in the Eastern Kimberly.
Rachael Jones: Hello. I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me today from King River Copper (ASX:KRC) is Non-Executive Director Tony Barton. Tony, welcome to FNN.
Tony Barton: Thank you very much for inviting me, Rachael.
Rachael Jones: First up, could you start by giving us an introduction to your company?
Tony Barton: King River Copper (ASX:KRC) is based in Western Australia. Our leases are up in the far north of Western Australia in the Eastern Kimberley. In that area, we host the largest Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) resource of titanium, vanadium in a magnetite resource. It measures something like 4.7 billion tonnes. Up in the area, we also have a JORC resource of fluorspar and some 200 kilometers to the south of that area, we've also recently made a high grade gold discovery at Mount Remarkable.
Rachael Jones: Thanks, Tony. Now before we get to your projects, can you tell me about the vanadium markets?
Tony Barton: Yes, of course, Rachael. It's something that we've had to spend a lot of time looking at because the potential size of our deposit is so big. Currently, 92 per cent of the vanadium that's produced and consumed in the world goes into the steel industry. Roughly half of that is to make rebar. The reason for that is one kilo of vanadium in 1,000 kilos of steel makes that steel twice as hard. That is the main market for vanadium.
The outlook in the future though is looking at things like vanadium redox batteries and also, the possibility of producing a much thinner steel which will be just as hard, but lighter for electric vehicles and those sorts of things into the future. The current price of vanadium has exploded over the last 12 months and I am concerned that the pricing of vanadium might be taking it away from affordability for vanadium batteries. Our focus is pretty much wanting to be a large scale, low cost provider of the metal for those more conventional steel industries.
Rachael Jones: Now let's talk about your company in more detail. What can you tell me about the size and location?
Tony Barton: The location is on top of a feature called the Speewah Dome, which is located some 120 kilometers south of Kununurra. It's probably 30 to 40 kilometers off the main highway to the west.
Rachael Jones: What stage are your works at?
Tony Barton: The vanadium project is within days of completing a scoping study. The fluorspar deposit completed a scoping study in the last couple of weeks and the gold side of things is at the exploratory stage.
Rachael Jones: How are the economics of these projects?
Tony Barton: The economics, because we're within days of releasing a scoping study, it's impossible for me to be able to provide you with those details at this point, Rachael, but it is a project which is very amenable to large scale modern mining methods because it's flat lying at the surface and we've also done a lot of engineering to develop a concentrate, which is typically much higher grade than other groups around Australia.
Rachael Jones: Thanks, Tony. Now to your finances and to your share price. Can you provide us with a snapshot?
Tony Barton: It's been a very interesting year, Rachael. Our shares have gone from a low of half a cent to a high of 19 cents, and they're currently trading around 6 to 6-1/2 cents. Now that's all been done on very large volumes. I think up until June, July 2018 on average, 10 per cent of our register would change hands weekly. It certainly has been a darling of the day traders. I think that's primarily because of the magnitude of our vanadium resource compared with a lot of other groups.
In terms of our finances, we're very lucky to have raised AUD$6 million at 10 cents a share recently. At the moment, we've got around AUD$5.6 million in the bank. We're adequately financed to keep running those studies for the next 6 to 12 months.
Rachael Jones: Excellent. To the last question now, Tony, where would you like to see the company over the next 12 months?
Tony Barton: The next 12 months is shaping up to be very exciting for us, Rachael. We've got a number of important tests taking place over the next two or three months with heap leaching, vat leaching, dump leaching test work. At the same time, we'll be progressing our pre-feasibility study with the aim of discussing in parallel with that potential joint venture discussions and those sorts of things over the next 12 months. In 12 months' time, I'm hoping that we'll have completed the pre-feasibility study and we'll be well advanced on having a joint venture partner with a balance sheet that we can use to develop such a world class potential project.
Rachael Jones: Great. Tony Barton, thanks for the update.
Tony Barton: My pleasure, Rachael. Thank you.