Elementos has improved the Mineral Resource at its Oropesa project by some 50%, following a successful drilling programme.

The Oropesa project, located in southern Spain, was first acquired by Elementos in 2018 from Eurotin. In the same year, the company published the Maiden Resource estimate for the project, totalling some 12.54 million tonnes (Mt) of ore with a grade of 0.54% tin (67,520 tonnes contained tin).

Elementos began an extensive drilling programme in September 2020, with the aim of increasing the project’s overall Resource, annual production rate, and mine life. The work has culminated in the significantly improved Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE).

The new MRE is 50% larger in overall tonnage terms, improving the 2018 estimate from 12.54 Mt to 18.86 Mt, while the confidence in the orebody has increased. Measured and Indicated Resource categories now contain some 16.21 Mt of ore (some 86% of the total Resource), a 78% improvement. Within this, the Measured Mineral Resource increased by 1,200%, from 0.33 Mt to 4.30 Mt.

A number of significant intercepts were identified in shallow regions of the deposit, less than 200m from the surface, with grades averaging 0.39% Sn. As a result, shallow (<100m) have increased by 263%, from 1.37 Mt to 4.97 Mt.

In terms, the Measured and Indicated category now contains some 63,900 tonnes, up some 26% from the previous estimate (50,800 tonnes). Overall, the project now contains an estimated 75,440 tonnes of tin, an increase of 7,920 tonnes (12%).

Elementos CEO Joe David was extremely pleased with updated results, which “exceed the goals set by the company before the drilling program started last year in both the magnitude of the increase to the Mineral tonnes and classification confidence compared to the 2018 numbers”. Oropesa now has “a large, shallow and geologically confident Mineral Resource base”,  which “puts the company in a prime position to complete the mine planning stage of the Definitive Feasibility Study next year and move this project forward and into production”, he said.

Our view: With the upgrade Mineral Resource providing a solid basis for the upcoming Definitive Feasibility Study, and this work usually taking around 1-2 years to complete, it is likely that Oropesa could be getting towards an investment decision by 2023. The company’s 2020 Preliminary Economic Assessment indicated that the mine could come online in 2024 and would operate in the lower half of the cost curve.