Emerging mineral and silica sands developer and explorer, Diatreme Resources Limited (ASX:DRX) is planning to explore two high priority silica sand areas near Cape Flattery, with the potential for further resource identification at the company’s Galalar Silica Project in North Queensland.
Diatreme has identified large silica sand dune systems in the Cape Flattery area of EPM 17795 Cape Bedford that could contain large volumes of high purity silica sands. In March 2019, a regional helicopter‐based reconnaissance survey was completed to collect 1m auger samples from these target areas to confirm the sand quality was similar to the known resource areas of the greater dune system.
The new targets are located near the Mitsubishi‐owned Cape Flattery mine, the world’s largest operating silica mine, and its associated infrastructure such as port access.
CEO Neil McIntyre said that significantly, these dunes could add significant silica sand to the current resource at Galalar amid continued growth in the solar PV market, requiring increased supplies of high purity silica sand.
The solar energy boom is showing no signs of slowing as the world moves rapidly towards decarbonisation. We look forward to advancing our project towards development as we develop a base for long‐term, high quality silica sand production,” Mr McIntyre said.
“These new targets offer the potential for further expansion of our total resource base and regional understanding, and we are well placed to supply the Asia‐Pacific’s fast‐growing solar PV market.
“We look forward to getting this new exploration program underway following the end of the wet season to determine the significance of these targets, as we look to create a long‐life high purity silica sands project for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Diatreme is currently finalising detailed planning and site access programs to mobilise this program at the end of the first quarter 2021 (following the end of the wet season). The market will be further updated on exploration program mobilisation and upon receipt of results.
Priority 1 Target ‐ Casuarina Hill
The Casuarina Hill target is located at the southern end of the large parabolic dune system currently being mined by Mitsubishi. The target sand dune is expected to have comparable in‐situ quality and is favourably located concerning access to existing port infrastructure.
Priority 1 Target ‐ Silica Target 2
The large parabolic sand dune has a length of 6.5km and width between 1.5 and 2 km. It is one of the largest and highest in the Cape Flattery dune field.
Two samples were collected by Diatreme in 2019 following a regional preliminary exploration program from the exposed dune in the SE corner and returned >99% SiO2. These results suggested the aerially large dune system contains the targeted high purity silica sand and could potentially host a large and significant occurrence of high purity silica sand.
In November 2020, Diatreme announced the receipt of the final terms of reference for the project’s environmental studies. A draft EIS is now underway, with Diatreme targeting receiving the necessary environmental approvals and Mining Lease in the fourth quarter of 2021 and potential first production in 2022.
Importantly, local stakeholders will be significant beneficiaries of the project’s development, as shown by an independent economic study which estimated the potential for the creation of up to 110 full‐time equivalent jobs and an economic injection for the region of up to $42 million in operation.
Diatreme announced in May 2020 a total silica sand resource of 47.5 million tonnes, including a Measured Mineral Resource of 30.9Mt @ 99.28% SiO2