Mineral Feriliser Project For Sale

Elverdton Copper-Gold Mine

Mine Details

Commodity: Copper, Gold
Location: Australia
Terms: For Sale, Negotiable
Price: $40 Million plus royalty

Seller Website

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Paxton Enterprises Pty Ltd (Paxton) holds tenements E74/382, M74/102 and M74/246 in the Phillips River Mineral Field, containing the Elverdton Copper-Gold Mine near Ravensthorpe and possible extensions of copper-gold mineralisation. The Elverdton Copper-Gold Mine ceased production in 1971 due to low metal prices, having produced 786,835t of ore for 14,250t of copper and 22,843oz of gold with silver credits.


The Elverdton Copper-Gold Mine is situated about 11km southeast from Ravensthorpe, which is about 530km southeast from Perth, Western Australia (Figure 1). The mine is contained within Paxton’s tenements (M74/102 and MLA 74/246), accessible by sealed and unsealed roads. It is close to infrastructure, industrial and health services. There is a commercial air service to Ravensthorpe.


Paxton’s business is the production, marketing and distribution of a unique range of mineral based fertilisers for the agricultural market and the retail consumer.

Borne out of an initial curiosity, coupled with careful research, development and analysis carried out over the past 17years, the Paxton product range consists of two fertiliser products. Paxton have been selling its products to Western Australian farmers on a small scale for the past 17 years and is now seeking to expand its distribution channels to farmers throughout Western Australia and to the Australian and United States and Europe retail markets as an Organic Fertiliser.

Paxton’s unique fertiliser product range is primarily derived from a mineral rich deposit located at the site of an old Elverdton copper-gold mine in Ravensthorpe, Western Australia. The quality and uniqueness of the Paxton product range is principally derived from high levels of trace elements, including gold, iron and copper that are contained in the base resources of each fertiliser product.

The success of the Paxton products to date has been evident from the existence of approximately 100 active customers including the repeat business from a substantial fertiliser processor in Western Australia. During the current year, the Company and delivered approximately 5,000 tonnes in total.

Whilst the current range of mineral fertiliser products are well received by the marketplace, the commercial application of the Company’s products have been restricted due to its products being in a raw dust form. The Company recognises this shortcoming and also recognises that the profitability of the Company is likely to be significantly enhanced if the Company’s products were available in a granulated form.

The West Australian Farm fertiliser business is approximately 1.6 million tonnes per annum and has historically grown at approximately 2.8% pa. It is forecast to grow at 5% per annum over the next five years.

Fertilizer Production
The key driver of fertilizer demand is the growth in population and wealth which increases demand for agricultural commodities. The large populations of China, India and other parts of Asia, in particular, are benefiting from high rates of economic growth.

With increased prosperity peoples diets change and they consume more food in total and higher proportions of protein. Protein from animal products typically involves more intensive agriculture and higher inputs per unit of production.

Fertilizer or Forests:
The FAO estimates that 80% of future increases in food production will be due to improved productivity, rather than from clearing forests and reserves for farmland. The FAO has estimated that more than 33% of the improvement in cereal yields in the 70s and 80s was due to fertilizer use. (www.fao.org)

Unless world population growth stops or most people change their diets the world can only feed its population by either intensifying agriculture or by converting more land from natural eco systems like rain forest into agricultural production.

Intensification, with higher yields of food per hectare of land, means that more nutrients must be replaced to maintain sustainable land use. Fertilizers underpin all productivity and it is clear that fertilizers really do feed the world.

The sustainability of agriculture requires that the nutrients removed from the soil in food and fibre are replaced; if they are not then soils will become unproductive, ground cover will be reduced and the risks of erosion and desertification are increased. However applied nutrients can also cause environmental problems if there are losses to waterways or the atmosphere.

Global organic market to grow 11 OPAC.

Transparency Market Research has launched a new market report titled Organic Food (Fruits & Vegetables, Meat, Fish & Poultry products, Dairy products, Frozen & Processed foods, & others) & Organic Beverages (Non - dairy beverages, Coffee & Tea, Beer & Wine, & Others) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 - 2019. According to the report, the demand for organic food and beverages was valued at $70.70 billion in 2012 is expected to reach $187.85 billion by 2019. Shorter shelf life of the organic products and high prices of the raw materials are the major growth barriers of the market. North America dominated the market and accounted for over 48% of the global demand in 2012 followed by Europe which accounted for 45.6% share for the same year.

Publication date: 10/30/2013

Global demand for organic products continued to grow, with sales reaching $59.1 billion US in 2010, according to The World of Organic Agriculture (2012). The United States was the largest domestic market for organic food ($26.7 billion US), followed by Germany ($8.4 billion US) and France ($4.7 billion US).


Mineralisation

  • occurs in granitic and volcanic rocks of Archaean age;
  • is contained in dilations within shears which are part of a larger regional shear zone
  • the shears mined at Elverdton extend more than 1200m in a generally north-south direction, dip
    steeply towards the east and continue below 400m depth;
  • the shears are up to 18m wide and mineralised throughout with concentrations into high-grade
    zones variously in the footwall (western) contact of the sheer; centre of the shear or the hanging
    wall (eastern) contact of the shear and sometimes in all three positions;
  • the high-grade zones are usually about 1m wide and average 6% copper, 2.4g/t gold and 7.2g/t silver.
    Mineralisation in the Elverdton (and Desmond) Copper-Gold Mine contains magnetite and is associated with subtle but distinct ground and airborne magnetic anomalies. This magnetic anomalism defined zones of potential mineralisation enabling Resource Potentials Pty Ltd to prepare detailed magnetic images.

The mineralised lode mined until 1971 appears as a distinct linear magnetic anomaly and the old workings are clearly situated on the anomaly (Figure 2). Mining only extended about 200m south of the Elverdton shaft but it is apparent that the magnetic anomaly associated with the mined lode extends at least 600m further to the south. The linear magnetic anomalies near the mined lode are also likely to represent mineralisation. A horizontal diamond hole drilled towards the west from the Level 3 drive of the Elverdton workings in about 1915 encountered “... 4 feet of good (10%) ore...” (Reference2). This intersection strongly indicates that the magnetic anomalies west of the mine are associated with mineralisation.

These targets are mineralised shears and are essentially the remainder of the large hydrothermal system of which the historic workings of the Elverdton Copper-Gold Mine accessed only part. These shears have a combined potential to host about 9.4 Mt of copper-gold ore @ 2.2% Cu; 0.9g/t Au and 2.9g/t Ag (Allison,C, 2011) to a depth of only 400m with every indication that the mineralisation continues to greater depths.

Project Potential and Mineral Resource Estimate ( Allison,C, 2011)
The Elverdton Copper-Gold Project can be classified as an ‘Advanced Exploration Area’ mineral asset where a Mineral Resource has been estimated (although not formally reported on the ASX). Remaining exploration area would be classified an ‘Exploration Area’ mineral asset. The commodity item of interest for exploration is primarily structurally-controlled copper-gold mineralisation near-surface and at depth below historical underground development. A Mineral Resource has been defined as below in Table4 and Ravensgate considers the project is of merit and worthy of further assessment towards mine development. Ravensgate has not directly reviewed information relating to the generation of the resource estimates but is satisfied that on limited review the tabled tonnes and grade by resource category are reasonable for use for the purposes of this report. The reader should note that as this report is not intended for release to the ASX, a Competent Person and Consent-to-Reference statement has not be obtained or required (JORC, 2004 and ValMin, 2005).

Table 4 Elverdton Copper-Gold Project – Mineral Resource
Comment Category Tonnes (kT) Copper (Cu %) Gold (g/t Au) Silver (g/t Ag) Metal (Cu T) Metal (Au oz) Metal (Ag oz)
Tailings Dam Measured 714 0.15 0.45 0.57 1,070 10,300 13,100
Remnant (pillars & stopes) Indicated 385 1.0 0.5 1.5 3,850 6,200 18,600
Below mine Indicated 857 1.5 0.8 2.6 12,860 22,000 71,600
South of mine Inferred 828 2.2 0.9 2.9 18,220 24,000 77,200
TOTAL All 2,784 1.3 0.7 2.0 36,000 62,500 180,500
Note:- All resources are contained within Tenement M74/246, east side of Ravensthorpe road. Minor rounding errors may occur. The Inferred portion includes supergene grade enrichment.

(Allison, C, 2011)
Paxton has also defined an exploration target immediately west of the Elverdton workings and east of the Ravensthorpe-Hopetoun Road (Table The exploration target is well supported from the following geological and exploration information as listed below. A good correlation has been compiled by Paxton between geophysical and geochemical information. The target has been derived from weighted grade average methods and includes near-surface supergene grade enrichment (as seen at Elverdton and now mostly mined out as reflected within the Mineral Resource grade estimate).

  • Nearby geological and production information from the Elverdton underground workings to the east;
  • Surface geochemical surveys;
  • Recent aeromagnetic geophysical surveys;
  • Historical IP geophysical surveys (1965); and
  • The historical drill intersection which recorded 1.2m at 10% Cu

Table 5 Elverdton Copper-Gold Project – Exploration Target
Comment Category Tonnes (kT) Copper (Cu %) Gold (g/t Au) Silver (g/t Ag) Metal (Cu kT) Metal (Au oz) Metal (Ag oz)
Elverdton West Target 9,384 2.2 0.9 2.90 206.5 272,500 878,900

To a depth of 400m, this translates to a possible 206,500t of Cu; 272,500oz of Au and 878,900oz of Ag.


Past Underground Mining Practices

  • the average width mined was between 0.75m and 2.75m (Marston, 1979);
  • it was the usual case that low-grade ore was mined along with the high-grade ore that it surrounded;
  • the 1901-1920 production period used gravity concentration methods, resulting in overall recovery of 66% copper and 57% gold;
  • better recovery could have been achieved (92% copper, McKeown 1917) if a flotation method had been used;
  • the 1957-1971 production period used a conventional flotation method to produce a concentrate containing about 22% copper, 12g/t gold and 65g/t silver for a recovery of 89% to 95% for copper (Marston, 1979).
  • Recent metallurgical test work (Pioneer Nickel Ltd 2007) confirmed that conventional flotation could be used to produce a concentrate from Elverdton ore for a recovery of 92% for copper and 85% for gold.

  • Substantial research, development and analysis of the trace element composition of the tailings dump has resulted in the discovery of a unique readily available fertiliser base that is high in copper, gold and iron trace elements that is suitable for the manufacture of enhanced fertilisers.

    The tailings dump is estimated by independent consultants to contain approximately 720,000 tonnes of material suitable for sale as fertiliser.

    Based on projected production levels of 50,000 tonnes following the ramp up of sales, estimates a resource life of approximately 30 years.

    With the re opening of the Elverdton copper-gold mine with its newly discovered resources it will produce an estimated 10 million tonnes of high grade copper mineral base averaging around 3% per tonne plus the other minerals. This can be multiplied out to ten depending on the fertilizer made giving a base resource of a further 100 million tonnes be used as fertiliser in the years ahead.

    The tailings deposit provides the base fertiliser for all two of existing products. Through further research and development, Paxton is seeking to expand its product range through the blending of other trace elements such as Manganese and Zinc as required by consumers in different seasons and farming segments.

    The reason that the tailings dump resource is ideal as a base fertiliser is that the tailings are cyanide free as a result of the gold and copper being historically treated using a sulphide flotation treatment process as opposed to the typical CIL plant. Paxton’s products contain well below the government regulation level of lead, mercury and cadmium with the tailings being certified as an ALLOWED INPUT (number 10304AI) by the Biological Farmers of Australia.

    Testimonials from customers point to the profundity of essential trace elements in the present range of Paxton’s fertilisers. Application of the fertilisers has resulted in markedly improved crop growth and animal health. Sustained repeat orders and customer satisfaction have been the result. The Company’s product range and market growth would be enhanced, however, if the fertilisers were granulated and additional trace elements were added.

    The granulation plants examined by the Company to date have capacity to produce up to 30 tonnes per hour, or 150,000 tonnes of granulated fertiliser per annum. Therefore, should sufficient demand exist for Paxton’s’ products, production at the plant can be increased threefold from projected production levels to meet the extra demand.

    The granulation plant incorporates a bagging line that will result in Paxton’s products being packaged in biodegradable bags ranging in size from 1 kilogram to 20 kilograms.