A REVISED scoping study for Robust Resources’ Romang Island Manganese Project has confirmed the likelihood of strong financial returns. The new study also concluded that despite it being a small-scale project with a short production life, it is commercially attractive with not fatal flaws.

The study was carried out by independent consultants Equant Resources and was based on a new indicated resource released by Robust in mid-May. The new manganese resource estimate has seen the indicated and inferred resource increase 30% while the manganese metal content has increased 28%.

The scoping study into the project has placed a capital cost of between $8 million and $10 million on the project development with payback within less than six months and gross revenue of US$40-60 million.

The manganese project will not be the main value driver for Robust at Romang Island but it forms an important part of the strategy for an early, low-cost entry into production. The project is expected to annually deliver about 250,000 tonnes of manganese over a 2-3 year project life.

The new estimate includes 413,000 indicated tonnes @ 41.6% manganese and 325,000 inferred tonnes @ 40.5%. Indicated resources comprise 56% of total tonnage and 57% of total metal. The estimate was completed by independent consultants, Mining Associates of Brisbane to JORC 2012 standards, and includes additional drilling and analyses which were not available at the time of the original resource estimate in November 2013.

In addition to the improved resource classification, when compared to the previous estimate, there is a 30% increase in tonnage and a 28% increase in the metal content. There is also a minor decrease in the average global grade from 42.1% to 41.1%.

Robust’s managing director Gary Lewis says: “The economics of the manganese project on Romang Island are very favourable and our focus is to advance with this project so we can generate early cash flow to help fund future development. We are actively advancing key elements of the project’s development which was further enhanced with the release of the updated mineral resource estimate. This confirmed 56% of the mineral resource is now in the indicated category.

“The revised scoping study and the production targets and financial forecasts within it are based entirely on indicated resources. The study also identifies opportunities to further improve the economics of the project through more drilling which may bring some more of the inferred mineralization into the indicated category.

“As well the study confirms that there is an opportunity from potential beneficiation of lower grade manganese mineralization which is currently not included in the mineral resource. This drilling is under way and forms part of the manganese project feasibility study which is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.”

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