Dart Mining has received a $1.1 million tax offset for research and development at the Unicorn deposit in North Eastern Victoria.
The tax incentive comes from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Ausindustry, a government division of the Department of Industry for driving project delivery in Australia.
The tax break covers activities in FY2013 for the development of Dart Mining’s Hybrid Climax Model Analogy, a geometallurgical model that led to the discovery of the Unicorn molybdenum/copper/zinc deposit.
Dart Mining’s board recently outlined a 15-month strategy for development of the deposit, with $9.9 million earmarked to accelerate the completion of preliminary feasibility studies.
Dart Mining chairman and chief executive Bruce Paterson said the model was developed at the Climax Molybdenum deposit in Colorado, USA, which was then applied to the Dart tenements based on geological background setting similarities.
“Everything we have seen since taking up our Board roles has confirmed our belief that Unicorn is a significant project with considerable potential”, he said.
“We are now continuing to complete and refine the preliminary feasibility studies… which should be completed by the middle of next year.”
Paterson indicated that there have been some metallurgical issues with the deposit relating to oxidised molybdenum at the surface of the deposit, and a copper recovery issue.
“The other is an issue of recovery of copper which is locked up in zinc, known colloquially as chalcopyrite disease,” Paterson said.
“Because copper is the second most valuable commodity within the profile of this deposit, it is an important part of the economics of the deposit that we can extract the copper
“Metallurgical test work will be commencing as soon as we’ve finished the mineralogy and petrology studies, which should be finished by the middle of this year, then we can move into the metallurgical test work.
“We’ll be looking at overcoming the chalcopyrite problem is in refining and mining methods… whether or no selective mining can help.
“It is the view of our Board and highly experienced technical advisors that the Cu/Zn separation and oxide recovery issues, which previously cast doubt on the project, can be addressed.”
Formerly a commercial manager and company secretary of Newcrest Mining, Paterson joined the board of Dart Mining earlier this year after a group of shareholders sought to overturn the board, unsatisfied with the company’s diversifying interests away from the Unicorn project.
Residents of the nearby town of Corryong may benefit from 185 new mining jobs if the Mount Unicorn project goes ahead, with 100 workers required during the construction phase and 85 for operations.
Molybdenum is used mostly in steels and superalloys to enhance strength, toughness, thermal and corrosion resistance, and to reduce brittleness, and applications include high speed steels, stainless steels, high temperature steels and cast iron.
Molybdenum is not currently mined in Australia, although the molybdenum containing Spinifex Ridge Project tenements in Western Australia were recently sold by Moly Mines to Mineral Resources.