Future Metals releases Panton scoping study
Future Metals released a scoping study on Thursday, revealing the significant potential of its Panton project as a long-life, globally important platinum group metals (PGM) operation.
The AIM-traded firms said the study built on an investment exceeding AUD 50m, encompassing previous feasibility studies, extensive drilling amounting to 45,000 metres, decline access to ore deposits, and comprehensive bulk metallurgical testing.
It said the scoping study underscored Panton's robust project economics, boasting low capital intensity compared to industry benchmarks.
The study also demonstrated a strong correlation with PGM price appreciation.
It highlighted a substantial mining inventory of 1.5 million ounces of palladium equivalent from 9.8 million tons, with an average grade of 3.6 grams of platinum group metals (PGM), 0.25% nickel, and 12.6% chromium oxide.
The initial mine life was projected to span nine years, encompassing just 26% of the currently defined reef and high-grade dunite material and 10% of the overall mineral resource estimate (MRE).
Future Metals said the Panton project anticipated an annual PGM production average of 117,000 ounces from high-grade feed boasting 3.6 grams per ton of PGM.
Additionally, palladium equivalent production was expected to average 161,000 ounces annually, including nickel and chromite byproducts.
It said the project boasted low all-in sustaining costs, averaging $789 per ounce, positioning it in the second quartile and ensuring resilience throughout the metal price cycle.
The project's processing approach would adhere to a conventional flow sheet involving crushing, grinding, and flotation, yielding high-grade PGM and chromite concentrates.
It said the method aligned with the operational procedures of various current South African PGM operations.
Additionally, the scoping study unveiled substantial upside potential through resource expansion, additional by-product credits such as copper, cobalt, rhodium, and iridium, and further optimisation possibilities in mine design, processing, and logistics.
Future Metals also highlighted the potential for future Cu-Ni-PGM resources at the Eileen Bore Project to be incorporated into subsequent stages of feasibility work.
The company said it was now gearing up for a pre-feasibility study (PFS), with an anticipated completion date in the fourth quarter of next year.
"We are very pleased that the Panton scoping study demonstrates robust economics for a globally significant PGM-Ni-chromite project," said managing director Jardee Kininmonth.
"Future Metals' team has capitalised on the significant bank of prior work completed on the project and its superior grades to develop a conventional flow sheet producing saleable PGM, and chromite concentrates at a meaningful scale in a global context.
"Coupled with the fact that Panton is one of the only near-term development prospects for PGM supply outside of Russia and South Africa, the company is in a tremendous position to grow value through 2024 and beyond."
Kininmonth said the scoping study showed a robust project which could withstand downturns in the PGM price cycle and provide significant leverage to upswings in prices as well.
"The company plans to progress Panton swiftly through the various feasibility stages in order to be as production-ready as possible during the next upswing."
At 1552 GMT, shares in Future Metals were down 47.94% at 1.67p.
Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.