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Back on track

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2013

Carpentaria Exploration has optimistic plans to get on with aspects of its Hawsons Iron Project that are “not sexy, but necessary” and at the same time attract a large Asian partner by the end of the year.

The $3.2 billion project, located near Broken Hill, suffered setbacks after former Joint Venture partner Bonython Metals Group failed to contribute the required investment before going into liquidation.

Earlier this month Carpentaria secured a deal with a new company, Pure Metals, who would buy Bonython’s 40 per cent share from the liquidator as well as hand over $3.8 million to Carpentaria.

The junior miner’s executive chairman Nick Sheard yesterday told the BDT that he was feeling confident after the company was able to secured Pure Metals as a partner, despite the dire times in the resources industry.

Carpentaria’s principal geologist Quentin Hill gave a presentation at the Resources and Energy Symposium yesterday, in front of hundreds of mining delegates.

Carpentaria has been a gold sponsor of the symposium for the past three years that it has been held in Broken Hill; a sign, Mr Sheard says, of its commitment to Broken Hill.

“We’re very serious about Broken Hill and surrounding areas,” Mr Sheard said.

“We’ve put $18 million back into the Broken Hill area so far which is a considerable amount.

“When the (Pure Metals) deal is resolved, it’s basically very optimistic for us and the project, because it allows us to do, as Quentin said in his presentation today, not sexy stuff; but necessary stuff.”

These necessary next steps including completing the Bankable Feasibility Study, which the company has an 18-month deadline on.

“We have to do it by November 2014. We’re given a two-year period or we’ll have to reapply.”

But despite the confidence that the Pure Metals deal has brought, Mr Sheard said that the company hoped to gain another partner and preferably a big Asian investor.

“We’re in talks, that’s all I can say at the moment,” he said.

“What we’ve found is that some of the big guys see a liquidator involved and they don’t want to do anything, so with putting an end to that, and Pure Metals coming in, that should help.

“We need to get a partner by the end of the year ... I’m confident because we have aspects that similar projects don’t have, for example we have access to a port, some poor buggers don’t have that, they have to build their own.”

Mr Sheard said that production at Hawsons was now expected to begin in early 2017, after delays set back the time frame.

“It’s just a huge project, even the amount of drilling that we have to do beforehand and government procedures.”

Meanwhile, the company is embarking on exploration at a number of locations, including at the Central Lachlan region where it has intersected gold, and the site north of Broken Hill where it hopes to mine tin.

Mr Sheard said that there was a “one in 10 chance” a mine would be established there.

“It’s at the early stages, we’ve still got some work to do,” he said.

“The trouble with exploration is when you’re starting out you have a one in 1000 chance of finding something.

“After that, you have a one in 10 chance of that becoming a mine. To an ordinary person, that doesn’t sound like very good odds, but to an explorer, it is.”

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