Vancouver – Aspiring Vietnamese nickel producer Asian Mineral Resources (ASN-V) is purchasing additional interest in the Ban Phuc deposit from one of its partners.
The company is buying the 20% interest held by the Vietnam Ministry of Heavy Industry’s Mineral Development agency for US$2.5 million, to hold 90% interest in the nickel sulphide deposit. The remaining 10% remains held by Vietnamese company Mechanical Engineering.
Funding for the acquisition was arranged through a $5-million financing with AIM-listed Cambrian Mining, a London-based mining house. Asian Mineral will issue senior unsecured notes to Cambrian in tranches, bearing a 7.5% interest rate and convertible into common shares at 50 per share until the July 2006 maturity date.
The company recently refurbished old underground exploration workings at its nickel project, allowing for enhanced data and sample collection to be incorporated into the final feasibility study expected to be completed by the end of 2005.
Earlier this year, the company wrapped up a preliminary assessment on Ban Phuc, favouring a 200,000-tonne-per-year underground operation with standard sulphide flotation extraction.
The study showed an indicated resource of 1.3 million tonnes grading 2.6% nickel and 1.1% copper with additional inferred resources of 200,000 tonnes at 2.6% nickel and 1.3% copper. Over a mine life of 5 years, about 1 million tonnes of the deposit will be processed with metallurgical recoveries of 85.6% for nickel and 95.8% for copper. Projected start-up capital is estimated at US$30 million for the operation.
Nickel and copper mineralization at Ban Phuc occurs within a large ultramafic intrusive. Nickel sulphide layering is evident at the base and walls of the intrusive. Massive sulphide mineralization occurs in a major shear-related vein structure within a hornfels host on the southern margin of the intrusive.
With 43 million shares outstanding, Asian Mineral Resources posts a market capitalization of $13 million at its recent trading level of 30 per share.