Iron ore is the lifeblood of Australia’s economy, so it’s curious that relatively few companies are listed with the commodity on their books.
This is especially true for companies listed in northern Western Australia – Australia’s iron heart, but sometimes a difficult place for younger, small businesses to gain a foothold.
“Most of the important and potential areas for iron ore are locked up with the majors,” Pantera Minerals chief executive Matthew Hansen told Stockhead.
“A number of other iron ore projects are blocked due to their location, without access to rail, or may not be of sufficient scale to support a stand-alone operation.”
Pantera (ASX: Proposed PFE) is a company that is going against the trend and will go IPO with its main asset, the Yampi iron ore project just off the WA coast in the Kimberley, about 150 km north of Derby.
The company’s prospectus was recently released, highlighting its listing plans with an immediate focus on Yampi and a series of potential mineral areas to follow.
In its iron ore project, Pantera has a truly unique proposition for those looking for exposure to the raw material.
“Location, location, location… that’s what sets Yampi apart from other projects,” said Hansen.
“The project is ideally located, right on the coast and less than 5 km from a potential deep water port location. “
The region is not exactly untapped – the Buccaneer Archipelago, straddling the coastal Yampi region, is home to both Mt Gibson Iron’s important Koolan Island project and Pluto Resources’ Cockatoo Island project.
In the case of Mt Gibson, you are talking about an iron ore reserve of 30 million tonnes at 64% iron and resources of 68Mt at 63% iron, with 70Mt already mined. Prolific is one way of putting it.
Iron ore is a high grade industry, and standard fine measurements in the international market are 58% and 62% respectively. Allowing for greater efficiency, higher quality materials tend to command higher prices.
At Yampi, initial grapple and rock chip samples assayed up to 68% iron. Enthusiasm for connoisseurs of the region, who are eager to get the drilling rigs running.
“Pantera has hired former Mount Gibson exploration geologist Nick Payne as head of exploration,” said Hansen.
“Nick had walked our land when he was at Mount Gibson and had always loved it, and was extremely happy to join us in sending a rig to Yampi.”
The first item on the agenda once listed is the execution of a five hole drilling program on the Project. A custom-built rig by local contractor Harrington Drilling was designed to do the job.
Hansen said he expected majors in the region to closely monitor the results of the first drilling.
“If we are successful at Yampi this year, what does that mean for a company like Pantera with an EV of $ 6.3 million at the IPO?” he said.
“It would only be natural for our neighbors and some much larger companies to monitor what is happening in Yampi very closely. “
Ace in a convincing deck
Pantera may have an iron ore project as an immediate priority, but it’s far from a one-ride pony when it comes to areas of exploration.
Among the projects listed in his books are the Yampi Copper Project, just 8 km southeast of its namesake iron ore project, as well as the Weelaranna Manganese Project and the Frederick Polymetallic Project which tested for high levels of lead-zinc.
Yampi’s copper project harbors a large iron ore-copper-gold-looking electromagnetic target – a fascinating proposition with such long-range predictions for the red metal.
At Weelaranna, Pantera owns a manganese project north of Element 25’s Butcherbird project (ASX: E25) (+ 260Mt of manganese ore in JORC measured, indicated and inferred resources) where X-ray fluorescence results of selected samples were on average 37% and went up to 42% manganese.
Frederick is located approximately 170 km west-northwest of Galena Mining’s Abra project, which is on its way to becoming a high-grade lead producer.
Sampling of rock chips here tested high levels of lead / zinc – recording 1.7% lead, 1.03% zinc, 13 grams per tonne silver and 0.17% copper.
Hansen said the combined projects present an exciting proposition for potential shareholders of the company.
“All of the projects in the Pantera books are very promising and we are extremely excited to start exploring them,” he said.
All of Pantera’s projects are located in northern Washington, the state’s mineral heart, and their positioning means the company will be able to conduct exploration activities year-round.
The region has seen its fair share of controversies in recent years over indigenous title and the protection of important sites, with the most obvious one being the Juukan Gorge disaster which ultimately caused a severe roll over atop Rio Tinto.
Hansen’s legacy is potentially a first for an Australian iron ore company. He is a proud Noongar man who worked for a number of mining majors before moving into the legal field as an advisor to mining companies.
Yampi is part of the indigenous title of the Dambimangari people, and Hansen said the Pantera team will be extremely inclusive and culturally focused.
“As the man from Noongar who runs Pantera, it is in our DNA to make the traditional owners of all our projects work together,” he said.
“Our goal is to build mutually beneficial relationships based on honest engagement. “
The Pantera prospectus is available for download here.
This article was developed in conjunction with Pantera Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publication.
This article does not constitute advice on financial products. You should consider getting independent advice before making any financial decisions.