TopTung Limited (ASX: TTW) is a Junior Explorer with a sole focus of developing the Torrington Tungsten and Topaz Project (the Project) in northern New South Wales. The Project comprising EL 8258 and adjoining EL 8355 is located 240km south-west of Brisbane, in proximity to the Torrington Township approximately 65km by road south-west of the local Shire town of Tenterfield. The two tenements covering an area of approximately 54 square kilometres were acquired from Resolve Geo Pty Ltd in August 2015 through the issue of ordinary shares in the Company and reimbursement of exploration expenditure.
The present JORC Code 2012 compliant Mineral Resource estimate completed for the Project comprises an Indicated and Inferred Resource totalling 2,146,000 tonnes at 0.23% WO3 (tungsten trioxide) for 4,965 tonnes WO3 (at 0.063% WO3 cut-off).
The Company’s stated aim is to prove up sufficient resources to develop an operation processing in the order of 500,000 to 750,000 tpa of ore. This will require proven resources of up to 10Mt to allow for a 10-year project life with production of approximately 1,000 tpa of tungsten concentrate. This will require the Company to approximately double the presently known resources.
An intensive RC percussion and diamond drilling programme as approved by the DRE is planned to commence in early January 2017 comprising in the order of 10,000m of RC and 3,000m of diamond drilling. In addition to expanding on three of the present JORC 2012 Code resource areas the drilling will evaluate for potential continuation of mineralisation under cover between these areas.
Tungsten mineralisation at Torrington occurs as ferberite (the iron-rich end member of the wolframite series) within silexite host rock (consisting predominantly of quartz and topaz). Tungsten extraction and recovery is envisaged to be by gravimetric processing and magnetic clean-up of the concentrate after crushing to minus 1mm.
Topaz is a complex fluoro-silicate of aluminium commonly known for its use as a gemstone. However, in the silexite the topaz occurs as a sugary, crystalline textured component of the rock and is seldom larger than 2mm. At a processing rate of 500,000tpa at an average grade of 18% topaz in the silexite host rock, it is theoretically possible to co-produce in the order of 90,000tpa of topaz as a by-product. This makes a compelling case to undertake research into its potential markets and products as both a bulk industrial feedstock material and / or high-added value small volume commodity.
Processing of the tungsten and topaz ore will comprise a relatively benign environmental footprint requiring only crushing, gravity and magnetic separation with water as the only consumable. Open pit mining depths are not expected to exceed 30m and there is no sulphide present which could lead to acid mine drainage in future.