Future Metals Looks Beyond PGM Price Woes With Panton Exploration Program

Future Metals NL (ASX/AIM: FME) is looking beyond the current low prices of platinum group metals (PGM) to increase its resource base at the Panton Project in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The basket of PGM metals has fallen by 45% this year with further falls likely causing some African producers to batten down the hatches, mothballing mines until prices recover.

About PGMs

Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) consist of six silver-white metals: platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium.

They are mined mainly in South Africa, Russia, and North America.

Panton Project

Providing confidence for Future Metals is its high-grade PGM deposit in the highly prospective East Kimberley has robust project economics outlined in a scoping study.

The study revealed Panton could become a long-life globally significant operation. When in production it would be a projected 2nd quartile producer in terms of all costs.

With a projected capital expenditure of A$267 million, operating expenditure of US$789 an ounce, and an IRR of 26%, based on a 9-year mine life, the potential is there.

Regional exploration near Panton should transform it into a long-life mine with ease.

All this would place Panton with the potential to become a top 5 PGM producer in the Western world.

Hypothesis

The hypothesis Future Metals is working on is the supply-side closures due to low PGM prices will lead to a supply deficit, with Panton timed for development before the next price upcycle.

With a reported 40% of PGM mines losing money at current six-element PGM basket prices of $US1,200 an ounce, the all-in operating costs place Future Metals with a distinct advantage to withstand price volatility.

Regional Exploration

Preparation for drilling at the Company’s Cu-Ni-PGM1 Eileen Bore Project is well underway and set for commencement immediately after the current Kimberley wet season ends.

The regional projects are located within a 20km radius of the Company’s 100% owned Panton project.

Drilling will target mineralisation extensions near the surface and at depth.

Historical drilling results include some good hits:

  • 120m @ 0.73% Cu, 0.29% Ni & 0.86g/t PGM3E1 from 0m (EoH) (EBRC 010) including. 16m @ 1.0% Cu, 0.36% Ni & 0.99g/t PGM3E1 from 100m.

The Eileen Bore Prospect is an advanced exploration target with drilling confirming wide zones of consistent Cu-Ni-PGM mineralisation from the surface along a known strike of approximately 300m.

The mineralisation remains open down plunge and at depth, with mineralisation only tested to 96m.

Not waiting for time

There is an exploration upside to boot not far from Panton with only 26% of the current high-grade resource included in the life of mine of 9 years.

Time will tell how long PGM prices remain depressed but Future Metals with a market cap of $13 million and $3 million in cash isn’t waiting around to find out.

 

 

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