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Alien Metals continues development towards mining at Hancock

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Global Mining Review,

Alien Metals Ltd, a global minerals exploration and development company, has provided an update on the company's progress regarding the Hancock Iron Ore Project and first production commencing in 2023.


  • Metallurgical test work programme completed and flow sheet finalised.
    • Results further highlight the high-grade and low impurity nature of the Hancock deposit.
  • Due to the ratio of fines to lumps and low impurities of the DSO material at Hancock, Alien is in advanced discussions with potential offtake partners. These discus-sions have led to the delivery of marketing samples.
  • The company is in preliminary discussions with a number of potential funding partners.
    • Alien has been presented with a range of funding options, both equity and debt, to ensure optimum financing structure and minimal dilution.
  • Engagement with key stakeholders during the development and mining stages has commenced.
  • Key approvals and permitting advancing on schedule, overseen by experienced consultants, Greenvalues.

Bill Brodie Good, CEO and Technical Director of Alien Metals, commented: “The development aspects of the Hancock Iron Ore Project to be shovel ready for early 2023 are progressing very well. We are on track to have all the permitting in place, and will soon be in a position to commence mining next year. Additionally, in-depth discussions with third party contractors and potential offtake partners to enable us to get into production in 2023 are continuing.”

The company continues to advance the Hancock Project towards being mine ready in early 2023. On 22 September 2021, the company delivered a maiden JORC compliant inferred mineral resource estimate at Hancock of 10.4 million t at 60.4% iron (Fe). The company believes there is significant potential to grow the size of the DSO grade resource at Hancock, with three 1400 m+ long high grade targets on ridge F, and two targets on ridge G of 900 m and 600 m. In addition, there remains ~6.5 km of additional ridges to test across the central and eastern areas of the project.

Resource and mine planning

A 10 cm vertical accuracy digital elevation model (DEM) has been received, along with a 5 cm vertical accuracy photo imagery dataset of the central area of the tenement and the proposed haul road corridor. This provides the company with detailed topography that is being incorporated into the resource update, as well as the technical planning and routing for the haul road. We expect this will aid in further exploration work as the detail in the imagery makes targeting high grade areas even more efficient.

Mining Plus Pty Ltd, in conjunction with IOCA's Geologist and Competent Person, Howard Baker, are progressing an updated scoping study incorporating the Ridge C and E resources, including updated JORC compliant pit shell, to include the current phase 4 drilling programme and mine plan optimisation work.

The company's exploration team has remobilised to the site this month to conduct the Phase 4 drilling campaign that will both continue to increase the confidence and quantity of the existing JORC resource whilst continuing to expand the potential of the project.

Baker completed a site visit in May 2022. Following the visit of Baker and Alien's CEO, the company believes there is further potential across the Hancock Project. More detailed mapping will take place over the coming field season to further increase confidence in both the resources and the new drill targeting.

Offtake, marketing and funding

The ALS NATA Certified laboratory has prepared marketing samples from the bulk sample of approximately 100 kg each, soon shipped to interested parties. This allows potential buyers and offtake partners to do their own technical due diligence on the product.

The company is currently continuing discussions with several interested potential offtake partners to support the development of the Hancock Project, including options for funding to support the path to production and guaranteed purchase of the product for a set period.

Engagement with key stakeholders

IOCA's development team continues to engage with all key stakeholders.

The company continues to engage with the Pilbara Ports Authority for potential access to the Utah Point Public User Facility at Port Hedland, Western Australia. An initial meeting with the CEO of the Shire of East Pilbara to update them on the project and understand the support that IOCA could offer in the local community going forward recently took place. Alien will continue to keep these parties updated on the company's progress.

The Main Roads Department of Western Australia (MRWA) has recently approved the concept design for the intersection of the Hancock Project's haul road and the Great Northern Highway. This is a significant step, being a key aspect for permitting to transport product to port. This is now significantly advanced, allowing IOCA to proceed to a final intersection design.

Approvals and permitting

Work continues on permitting and approvals, with the company's target to commence production and first ore stockpiling in early 2023.

All studies to support the permitting process are progressing well, including:

  • The seasonal flora and fauna studies.
  • Hydrogeological and hydrological study.
  • Soil and waste characterisation studies.

The Heritage Agreement has been lodged with the Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corp. (KNAC), the Native Title representative group for the Nyiyaparli People. The company is progressing for heritage survey works to be completed in the next quarter.

An initial mining lease area within the tenement has been surveyed, and an application has been made. A miscellaneous licence application for the haul road corridor is being finalised, and an application is in preparation.

Ongoing work

Planned activities from the IOCA development team during the September quarter include:

  • Planned geotechnical ground assessment of access road and intersection.
  • Progress MRWA intersection design.
  • Water bore drilling.
  • Finalise crushing and screening plant flowsheet design and plant selection.
  • Finalise CAPEX and OPEX inputs, including pricing for intersection, haul road, mining, haulage and site establishment.
  • Secure offtake agreement and funding for early works.
  • Further resource drilling.
  • Upgrade JORC resource, including maiden measured and/or indicated resources to support a maiden mining reserves.

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Australian mining news Iron ore mining news