Greenvale Mining has kicked off a $1.5 million program of drilling and bulk
sample collection at its Alpha torbanite project in Central Queensland.
The work is planned to underpin the establishment of a JORC-compliant resource and pre-feasibility study by mid-2021.
A pilot-scale retort testing program will begin later this month once bulk samples are received, the company says.
Greenvale views Alpha as a potential domestic supplier of bitumen in Australia, and is also evaluating markets for the other value-added products.
“We have already started the process of engaging with potential off-take partners, customers and strategic investors while also evaluating the
various target markets for our products,” Greenvale managing director Neil Biddle said.
“While the bitumen market is the most tangible and immediate opportunity, there are other exciting avenues also opening up for us.”
An SRK Consulting study has shown that the Alpha deposit is exceptionally high-grade, containing up to 650 litres of hydrocarbons per tonne of torbanite.
It can produce bitumen, light crude (a precursor to diesel) and activated carbon, and offers the potential for value-added products through
Depco Drilling has been contracted to undertake the three phases of the drill program at the project, about 50km south of the town of Alpha.
Greenvale Mining said 51 drill pads had been prepared for the open hole program, due to start on February 23.
This program is expected to be completed within 2-3 weeks and will be immediately followed by a down-hole geophysical survey.
Prior to the commencement of drilling, the company is collecting a 400-500kg sample of torbanite from old shallow workings, believed to date back to the 1940s.
These samples will go to the Gold Coast, where preliminary pilot scale processing will be conducted to optimise the extraction of bitumen, light crude oil and value-added carbon products such as activated carbon.
The final stage of the field program will be the drilling of up to six broad diameter (200mm) core holes which will be sited to extract a 400-500kg sample representative of the three bituminous lenses within the lower seam across the entire deposit.
Greenvale Mining said core sampling of the upper seam would also be taken if there was a prospect of economic recovery.