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Australia’s largest antimony deposit set for revival


Junior explorer Larvotto Resources will acquire the Hillgrove gold-antimony mine from collapsed Red River Resources.

The Hillgrove gold-antimony project sits 23km east of Armidale in NSW and has been mined on-and-off since 1887. Throughout its life, Hillgrove has produced over 730 thousand ounces of gold and over 50 thousand tonnes of antimony.

The mine has a JORC-compliant high-grade gold resource of 1.5 million ounces (Moz) at 6.1 grams per tonne of gold. Hillgrove holds a known 90 thousand tonnes of antimony, making it Australia’s largest antimony deposit, and one of the top ten largest deposits globally.

Antimony is considered a critical mineral in many countries, including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. Thanks to its heat-resistant properties, antimony is used in everything from fire-retardant paint to technological components in wind turbines. Current prices for antimony are circa $US11,650/t with demand expected to grow significantly for lead acid batteries and flame-retardant production.

Larvotto is acquiring Hillgrove from the administrators of previous owner, Red River Resources, which was in the process of restarting production at the project before it entered administration due to issues with its Thalanga Copper project in Queensland.

Larvotto managing director Ron Heeks said the acquisition pushed the company into a new league.

“After an intense few months of due diligence and negotiations with the administrators of Red River, we have achieved what no exploration program could ever have done – in one swoop, we have added 1.4Moz of high-grade JORC AuEq (gold equivalent) ounces for the purchase price of under $6 per ounce,” Heeks said.

“This is exceptional value for shareholders plus we have joined the exclusive club of high-grade 1Moz- plus explorers with growing exposure to critical minerals.

“Not many junior companies get the chance to move up the resource curve so rapidly and cost effectively.”

Hillgrove has a current processing capacity of 250 thousand tonnes per annum. Despite the promising nature of the project, Larvotto said Hillgrove has not, in recent memory, had a clean and continuous opportunity to operate at full capacity.

Larvotto’s immediate focus at Hillgrove following completion of the acquisition will be on exploration. In the near term, the company will aim to convert the current resource into reserves, before progressing towards production by undertaking feasibility studies.

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