We are proud to bring you the first issue of our quarterly newsletter of Premier Minerals Limited. With this initiative, we would like to signify that we are fully charged to commence our exploration activities with renewed vigor and hope to bring you an update of our progress and achievements every three months.
In this issue, we will bring you up to speed on PML’s objective and progress so far and our plans for the coming months. Also, we will share a review of current market scenario for sand minerals. Our newsletters will include one article from our geology team and one other external article relevant to our industry.
We hope you will enjoy the read!
The journey so far…
Premier Minerals Limited has been researching the quality and quantity of minerals found in the sandy areas of the Bay of Bengal beaches,
as well as dunes and some river chars since 2007. Already, we have seen significant opportunities for Bangladesh
to produce its own commonly used industrial minerals as well as a prospect to create an export market.
PML’s focus is to identify areas with high level of Valuable Heavy Minerals (VHM) and set up a demonstration facility to process sand minerals
and separate extracts into magnetic and non-magnetic composites. This facility will demonstrate to interested parties
some practical aspects of processing sand minerals as well as introduce the country to the international market as a potential
source of Heavy Minerals or concentrates (HMC), which is a mixture of several minerals not yet fully separated.
In a landmark feat, we imported equipment last year to facilitate the first stage for bulk testing sand minerals.
We hope to implement this by the end of this year and further develop the non-magnetic separation stage by early next year.
Meanwhile, exploration activities have been ongoing. Already this year, PML has conducted five successful field trips to river and island areas. We have bored 500 auger holes and collected over 2000 samples for analysis.
We have also been conducting exploration in conjunction with the Dhaka University, having renewed our MOU for another two years of partnership, which will be our fifth year of collaborative research together. In many cases, our exploration activities have actually taken place in conjunction with the Bureau of Mineral Development.
In the coming months, we expect to enter into further agreements with other technical institutions of Bangladesh, as well as special assigns from the government. We find that such collaborations will be key strengths to much of our laboratory work to analyze sand samples taken during recent exploration. In the immediate future, we also foresee visits from key delegations from China and Australia.
Market review of sand minerals
Mineral sands contain suites of minerals that have high specific gravity. Concentrations of heavy minerals are called placer(s) or placer deposits. Because many heavy minerals are opaque and darken the sediment when they reach large concentrations, they can be termed black sands or mineral sands
Heavy minerals in placers that can be exploited commercially include ilmenite and its weathering products such as leucoxene, rutile, zircon, garnet, magnetite etc.
Resources of Ilmenite are found and being mined in India, Australia, Mozambique, Kenya, Madagascar, USA etc., with India (29%) and Australia (21%) contributing to more than 50% of the total world reserve of Ilmenite. Ilmenite is commonly upgraded to become synthetic rutile.
Resources of Rutile are found and mined in Australia, India, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Kenya, Cameroon etc. Only Australia has the more than 40% of the total reserve of Rutile, being the largest rutile producing country (52% of the total production) in the world. It is estimated India may have 18% of the total reserve, currently it produces only about 4%
Resources of Zircon are found and mined in Australia, Canada, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Indonesia, USA, Kenya, Senegal etc. Australia (33%) and Canada (19%) have the largest reserve of the Zircon. . Currently most zircon comes from Australia and South Africa.
India (67%) is the largest Garnet producing country. Although major reserves of garnet are found in Australia (69%) but their contribution (9%) to meet the world demand is a bare minimum. The other Garnet producing countries are Canada, Ukraine, Norway, USA, etc.
Premier Minerals Limited have hopes of supplying all of theseeconomic minerals but wish to focus on the market trend and history of two major products Zircon and Rutile, these two minerals are of the highest value and they do not require any chemical separation processes.
Between 2011-2012, prices for these minerals escalated tremendously. And though, over the last twelve months, there has been in a steady decline, PML expects prices to rise steadily over the long term. It should be noted here that, prices are all dependent on the quality the product such as any impurities and the grain size of the mineral.
The following graph shows latest price trend for Zircon and Rutile per metric tonne.
Mineral Sands Exploration and Technique
“…Geologists select areas for exploration by researching an area's geology, topography, soil types and geological history (Reconnaissance). Areas are drilled with a widely spaced grid to identify any occurrence and concentration of minerals (Scout drilling). If the results are promising, samples are taken from a more closely spaced grid (Close boring). Identifying mineral for new mine sites involves a systematic process of surveys, sampling analyses and evaluation.
During drilling, attention is paid to recording the presence of ground water and base rock, and the detail description of sands with panning results. After each hole is drilled it is filled in or plugged using cuttings to prevent injury to livestock or native animals. If drill samples contain significant heavy minerals, further analysis determines the proportions of valuable minerals and their suitability for commercial use.
During the period of exploration in the licensed area under Teknaf Upazila, PML conducted shallow Seismic Refraction Survey and Electrical Resistivity Survey followed by Hand Flipping Drilling to collect sub-surface data of the areas. PML carried out detailed exploration activities by Percussion Drillings in a grid-pattern. The average depth was 10 meter. Samples were collected at each one meter of interval to carry out the lab analysis of the representative samples. The collected samples were analyzed by Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, Geological Survey of Bangladesh and the Department of Geology, Dhaka University…”
Comments on the Ecology, Ecosystem and Biodiversity and PML activities of the Teknaf-Ramu Coastal area,
Cox’s Bazar District
by Professor Dr. Mohamed Zafar, Marine & Coastal Oceanographer
“With reference to the above heading, I want to inform and furnish the following information and views based on my experience in the area:
The Teknaf coastal area has a very recent terrain, sparsely vegetated by shrubs, grass etc, and consequently it did not get required time to develop into a mature ecosystem. So the resulting ecology and biodiversity are not rich.
As I know Premier Minerals Limited (PML) explained that the mining will be above the high tide line, away from the intertidal zone, not on the beach (foreshore) and not on heavily planted/forested areas. The adverse impacts on the biodiversity due to mining would be limited
and not be of irreversible nature. PML will have to carefully preserve the topsoil and rehabilitate the dunes properly, which has been expressed by them…”
This report continues with five other important points of interest regarding, marine and terrestrial fauna, red crab habitat, fish spawning areas, information on breading turtles and their habitat and preservation techniques.