Between 2006 and 2014, Strike’s primary focus was on the development of its Apurimac Iron Ore Project in Peru, recognised as one of the highest grade, large-scale magnetite projects in the world with the potential to support the establishment of a significant 20 Mtpa iron ore operation.
Adverse market conditions however led the Company to suspend all development activities on this and its other iron ore projects in Peru in 2014. Since then, the Company has focused on identifying and developing several new mineral projects in Australia, whilst continuing to monitor the status of the iron ore market and other factors relevant to its Peru assets.
Burke Graphite Project
In 2016, the Company secured the Burke Graphite Project in Queensland. During 2017 Strike conducted a drilling campaign on the key Burke tenement and delivered a maiden JORC resource which confirmed the Burke deposit as one of the highest grade graphite deposits in the world.
- 6.3 million tonnes @ 16.0% Total Graphitic Carbon (TGC) for 1,000,000 tonnes of contained graphite;
- Within the mineralisation envelope there is included higher grade material of 2.3 million tonnes @ 20.6% TGC (with a TGC cut-off grade of 18%) for 464,000 tonnes of contained graphite which will be investigated further.
Testwork on the Burke graphite has confirmed its potential suitability for use in electric vehicle batteries and for the production of Graphene.
Pilbara Lithium and Gold projects
In 2016 Strike conducted a detailed review of the Pilbara region and pegged two tenements that it believed were prospective for Lithium. Strike is undertaking exploration and evaluation activities on these tenements, for gold as well as lithium since recent exploration activities by other exploration companies has highlighted the potential for gold mineralisation in the areas of Strike’s tenements.
In addition, Strike holds a tenement located ~7km east of the Paulsens Gold Mine operated by Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST). This tenement has been held by Strike for many years for its deposit of high grade hematite. Strike has historically conducted extensive drilling on the tenement for iron ore.
A review by Strike of the historical data within the tenement for other mineralisation has indicated the presence of a historical gold occurrence, hosted within conglomerate rocks on a faulted contact between the Fortescue Group and Ashburton Basin sediments.
Further evaluation of the gold potential in this tenement is currently underway.
Peru Iron Ore Projects
The nature of the Apurimac Iron Ore Project deposit and the development work undertaken to-date define this project as a potentially strategic asset in Peru, which may, when market conditions improve, provide opportunity for the Company to restart operations or otherwise recover value.
The exceptionally high grade 57% Fe is almost twice as high as magnetite deposits developed in Australia; ore bodies are coarse grained and soft, resulting in cheaper processing costs once in production.
A pre-feasibility study completed in 2008 and updated in 2010 on the Apurimac Project indicated clear potential for development of a world-class iron ore project:
- JORC Resource of 269Mt of iron ore at Apurimac of 57.3% Fe (142 Mt Indicated at 57.84% Fe and 127 Mt Inferred at 56.7% Fe).
- Mineralisation predominantly high-grade, coarse-grained magnetite providing comparatively high mass recoveries (>60%) at coarse grind size (>500 microns).
- Excellent exploration potential within current concessions with several targets containing ironstones grading >60%Fe in similar geological settings to main Opaban concessions.
- Base case of 20Mtpa of concentrate produced by open pit mining and processing 20 – 27Mtpa of ore with transport of the high grade (>66%Fe) product to the coast via a slurry pipeline for drying and shipment to customers.
- Attractive life-of-mine operating expenses (2010) of US$ 17 – 20 per tonne of product. · Estimated capital expenditure (2010) of US$ 2.6 – 2.9 billion, competitive with other major iron ore projects at the time.
An initial drilling program at Apurimac established 269 Mt resources of high grade, coarse-grained magnetite with an average grade of 57.3% iron. Of this, potentially 67 million of Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) at an average grade of 61.5% Fe has been identified.
In addition to the Apurimac Iron Ore Project, Strike holds the Cusco Iron Ore Project, which lies approximately 150km to the south – east of Apurimac. The Cusco project forms a potential secondary development target for the Company in Peru with an initial inferred resource estimate of 104Mt at 32.6% Fe.
Like at Apurimac, iron ore mineralisation at the Cusco project is coarse grained and dominated by magnetite, with high grades recorded. Preliminary metallurgical tests indicate a concentrate grade of >65% Fe could be produced from this ore using conventional grinding and magnetic separation processes.