Exploration & Growth
Growth and expansion from the current profitable base is well in hand via a multi stream strategy, including continued exploration programs, pre-development projects and a disciplined approach to potential acquisitions.
Western Areas was built upon the successful discovery of two high grade nickel ore bodies at Forrestania and this forms a natural part of the Company’s continuing growth strategy. A significant re-investment in exploration at Forrestania is lead by the proven team responsible for discovering the Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll ore bodies. The Company believes significant further discovery potential exists and success in this program will naturally leverage existing installed production infrastructure.
Forrestania and WA Regional
The Forrestania region offers outstanding potential for future discovery, with several promising exploration targets including New Morning / Daybreak and several joint venture projects.
Western Areas significant Forrestania and wider West Australian tenement portfolio represents an outstanding opportunity for future growth through ongoing exploration success.
FinnAust Mining Plc (LON:FAM) successfully completed the reverse takeover of London AIM listed, Centurion Resources Plc (Centurion) with readmission to the London AIM on 2 December 2013.
Centurion were selected as a suitable reverse take-over vehicle as the company was an existing AIM listed European resource exploration company with a copper asset in Austria.
Centurion was renamed FinnAust Mining Plc (“FinnAust”) with Western Areas holding a majority shareholding in the enlarged entity.
The FinnAust board consists of three directors, including Graham Marshall as the Chairman of the Board.
In Greenland, FinnAust is exploring the Pituffik Titanium Project, which includes a very large and unusually pure titanium occurrence. Work to date indicates potential for Pituffik to be in the top percentile of projects worldwide in terms of heavy mineral grade, and this has been independently verified.
FinnAust’s strategy is focused on the production of a bulk sample "proof of concept" from the Pituffik Project with the aim of ultimately generating cash flow to create a company capable of self-funding exploration on future acquisitions.
In Finland FinnAust has a very experienced in-country exploration team, managed by its Chief Operating Officer, Mr Urpo Kuronen, which is focused on advancing its projects.
FinnAust is exploring for high-grade magmatic copper and nickel sulphide deposits as well as copper-lead-zinc VMS-style deposits. FinnAust is exploring the, Outokumpu, Kelkka and Hammaslahti projects, these are at an advanced stage of exploration having already invested significantly in exploration to date, This has been achieved through the utilisation of advanced and innovative ZTEM geophysical technology and drilling over the past years. The projects are located in a prolific geological belt, which includes the famous Outokumpu Copper mine and other high grade copper and gold mines.
In Austria FinnAust holds the Mitterberg Copper Project, a previously producing mine in the Mitterberg district of Salzburg, Austria. The project, which is comprised of 47 licences over 33 sq km, sits in the Mitterberg district, which arguably contains the largest copper concentration in the Eastern Alps.
BioHeap is a patented bacterial leaching technology wholly owned by Western Areas that has been in development for over a decade, and is protected by an extensive international patent and trademark suite.
Prior to Western Areas takeover of the BioHeap business in 2009, Pacific Ore (Australia) Pty Ltd (now BioHeap Ltd) was an industry leader in bacterial heap leaching and bacterial culture development. In addition to the extensive patent portfolio, covering various aspects of the technology, BioHeap has real world experience with the design, construction and implementation of bioleaching projects.
BioHeap utilises special bacterial cultures to leach or liberate valuable metals from sulphide ores. The leaching can occur in either tanks or on large heaps and is applicable mainly to low grade ores. The BioHeap process has low operating and capital costs and is compatible with most downstream processing options, including solvent extraction/electrowinning, hydroxide precipitation, sulphide precipitation, cementation, Carbon in Leach/Carbon in Pulp and ion exchange.
The technology is ready for commercial application having been successfully demonstrated in the harsh summer of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where day time temperatures regularly exceed 40°C and in the sub-arctic conditions of an Inner Mongolian winter where temperatures fell below -30°C.
Nickel, copper, cobalt, zinc and refractory gold ores are all suited to BioHeap processing. Because the robust cultures that have been developed by BioHeap operate over a wide temperature range (15°C to 95°C), the technology can be applied in a wide range of climates.
In line with Western Areas environmental and sustainability policies, BioHeap has a low environmental impact, and is well suited to remote locations. BioHeap is simple to operate and produces high value products.