Mining and crushing has begun at the Ardmore Phosphate Rock Project near Dajarra.
Project owners Centrex Metal has told the Australian Stock Exchange it has commenced mining and crushing of two 400 tonne run of mine ore samples from its Ardmore Phosphate Rock Project.
Centrex said the ore samples would be shipped to two customers in the region as paid trials for the production of single super phosphate.
“The customers will pay for the shipments based on current market rate for full scale shipments,” Centrex said in a statement.
Centrex said that while the customers – which were not named in the ASX statement – were considering the potential to buy higher grade concentrate from Ardmore once the project reaches production, the run of mine ore would provide indications of the general performance of the deposit of single superphosphate production, prior to the construction of a process plant at the site.
The run of mine ore samples will be crushed locally and loaded onto shipping containers for transport with the samples expected to be shipped in the coming weeks.
Centrex managing director and CEO Ben Hammond said the first paid trials for Ardmore represented another positive step towards production on one of the few remaining undeveloped high-grade phosphate rock deposits in the world.
“The clean premium-grade concentrate we are able to produce with ultra-low cadmium levels is proving to be a sought-after product,” Mr Hammond said.
“The paid trials follow the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Gujarat State Fertilisers and Chemical Ltd (India) last week for a potential 300,000 tonnes of supply annually.”
In April Centrex announced the $60m Ardmore Project, 120km south of Mount Isa, was a feasibility study after an initial scoping study said a ten-year openpit mining operation would produce 776,000 dry tonnes of premium 35% Phosphorus pentoxide and phosphate rock product a year.