Agata Mining Ventures Inc (AMVI) has commenced definition drilling aimed at defining an initial NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate at the Agata limestone project in northern Mindanao. Once an initial resource has been developed and product markets are identified and confirmed, AMVI will evaluate the feasibility of commencing a limestone direct shipping ore (DSO) operation using the same infrastructure developed for current Agata nickel laterite DSO operations.
AMVI is a joint venture company in which Mindoro Resources holds a 40% interest and TVI Resource Development (Phils), a subsidiary of TVI Pacific, holds a 60% interest and is the project operator.
The Agata limestone project is strategically situated to the south of AMVI's current Agata nickel laterite direct DSO operation and immediately adjacent to the causeway facilities built to support the nickel laterite DSO operations. The project consists of a number of separate deposits, of which only one - the Payong Payong deposit covering approximately 27.7 hectares - has been drilled to date. Other deposits occur nearby and will be explored in stages in the future.
Mindoro drilled five holes into the Payong Payong limestone deposit in 2011 and outlined a large area of approximately 400 by 800 metres. Drilling yielded intercepts with a weighted average of 60 metres of 98.86% CaCO3 (calcium carbonate), indicating the presence of high-purity, massive, recrystallized limestone.
High-purity limestone is particularly in high demand as a paper whitener for the paper making industry, as calcined and hydrated lime for a variety of industrial purposes and, as filler for toothpaste, with selling prices ranging from $100 to more than $450 per tonne. AMVI is in preliminary marketing discussions with potential buyers who have expressed interest in high-purity limestone products to determine potential demand. A formal marketing study is also planned in the near future to better determine additional markets.
AMVI also anticipates using the limestone in the production of lime for the planned Agata nickel processing plant, which will reduce lime acquisition costs and significantly lower operating costs for the nickel processing project.
Once an initial resource has been developed and product markets are identified and confirmed, AMVI will evaluate the feasibility of commencing a limestone DSO operation using the same infrastructure developed for current nickel laterite DSO operations. Due to the project’s close proximity to the causeway where materials will be shipped, potential operations will likely benefit from having low transport and handling costs.