Exploration & Growth
Western Areas has an active, targeted and balanced exploration program directed at both replacing exisitng resources and also targeting new discoveries in known areas and new or greenfield terraines.
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.
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.