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Far East Antimony acquires Solonechenskoye antimony deposit

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Global Mining Review,

Far East Antimony Ltd (FEA) has announced the acquisition of a 100% interest in the Solonechenskoye antimony property, located in the Zabaikalsky Krai region of Far Eastern Russia.

The deposit has been sold by the Interros Group which deemed the asset non-strategic.

FEA is a private UK limited company, established to acquire and develop Solonechenskoye. Its main shareholders are entities connected to Simon Chantler, Lord Daresbury and Jocelyn Waller.

Solonechenskoye contains JORC compliant (CSA Global 2018) resources of 1 243 000 t at an average antimony (Sb) grade of 4.94% and an average gold (Au) grade of 0.62 g/t, thus containing 61 000 t of Sb and 18 200 oz of Au. The bulk of the trenching and drilling that delineated the deposit was carried out by its original owner, Norilsk Nickel, with additional work by the vendor. C1 and C2 resources were registered with GKZ Rosnedra in 2010.

Solonechenskoye is one of the few remaining undeveloped antimony deposits in the world of significant size and tenor to be ready for near-term mining operations.

FEA anticipates bringing the deposit into production by late 2022 or early 2023, following the issue of Glavgosexpertisa permits for the plant and underground mining. The initial mine life is expected to be 6 years with annual production of circa 6000 t of metal in a clean, high-grade concentrate. Approximately half the mill feed will come from three opencasts and the other half from two underground mines that will start producing in year 3. The ore is a clean sulfide and the plan is to produce concentrates from a standard milling and flotation circuit.

With a railhead at Gazimursky Zavod that is 180 km by public road from the site and rail access to southern China and the Russian Pacific ports, world markets can be accessed cost effectively and without difficulty. During its life, Solonechenskoye will be one of the biggest single antimony production units in the world, including China.

Antimony demand is strong with a range of applications including but not limited to electronics, lead/acid batteries, munitions, solar energy and fire-retardant formulations used in nearly all consumer and industrial plastics. Its potential application in large electricity storage batteries would increase its growing role in green energy. With the long-term decline in mine production in China and little growth in the other main producing countries (Russia, Tajikistan, Australia, Myanmar and Bolivia) new mine sources, such as Solonechenskoye, are needed to meet expected global demand.

A doubling of the antimony price from its lows in mid-2020 to its current approximate US$10 000 level is symptomatic of the tightness of supply and how stocks in China have been depleted. The price outlook continues to be favourable.

Jocelyn Waller, Director of FEA, commented: “We are delighted to have concluded the acquisition of Solonechenskoye. It’s an outstanding resource with particularly high grades for an antimony deposit. Low production costs and a strong antimony price mean the potential margins on the investment look attractive. Operationally, project management should be straightforward, with the local regulatory regime tailored to support mining activities – as evidenced by the success of so many mining enterprises in the local region. We are excited to have acquired an asset of this quality and to get started on our development plans to bring it in to production.”

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Russian mining news