13 April 2015
Iron, Titanium, Bauxite, Coal, Apatite, Copper, Zinc, Oil & Gas and of course Nickel…. Vietnam is sitting on considerably more mineral wealth than many in the international mining community realize. However, that’s not surprising because up until now, regulatory issues, market access challenges and a heavily artisanal approach to mining have played a part in preventing the global mining industry from taking a closer look at Vietnam.
However, in recent years the Vietnamese government has begun to modernise the nation’s mining sector. Improved regulations, greater incentives and increased government support for mining companies have followed. The result is an industry slowly waking up to its potential.
AMR is one of the most successful international mining companies operating in Vietnam. We have a strong cash generating platform in the form of our high-grade nickel mine and processing centre and we’ve built excellent relationships with our local community, provincial government and the national government. I mention this because, as the country’s mining sector continues to develop, we are in an excellent position for growth through exploration and M&A.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a few points regarding Vietnam’s potential to become a major source of nickel, with a primary focus on our own back yard.
Asian Mineral Resources’ Ban Phuc Nickel Mine is located in the Ta Khoa region, in northern Vietnam - 160 km west of Hanoi near Ban Phuc Village in Son La Province. The region is world-class in terms of its geological and tectonic setting. Ban Phuc’s 150 km2 concession area lies in the Song Da rift, a major crustal suture zone that shares many of the geological features favourable for the development of Ni-Cu deposit types such as Norilsk (Russia) and Jinchuan (China).
Speaking in geo terms, the Ban Phuc Ni-Cu mineralisation is temporally and spatially associated with at least six other deposits within south-western China and Laos. These include the producing Baimazhai nickel mine (China), formed in the same geologic event as Pan Phuc, located on-trend, 200km NW of Ban Phuc.
Now, what does all that mean in non-technical terms? Essentially we’re in the middle of a world-class Ni-Cu belt that ticks all the boxes for large-scale, high-grade deposits, which is exactly where you want to be if you’re looking for nickel.
I’ve included the map so you can get a feel for the big deposits that have already been found. What the map doesn’tshow of course is the number of smaller discoveries in the region that have been made but not followed up (hence my remarks about Vietnam’s mining industry). As the country starts to attract other mining and exploration companies, you can expect that to change.
However, to give you a flavor of the potential for further discoveries you don’t have to look any further than our own property. Within the 49.7 Km2 of the concession area permits we were awarded last year, at least twelve outcrops have been identified. First pass drilling at just one of those targets (Kingsnake prospect) has delivered some exciting results and you can check out our corporate presentation for the details. Kingsnake is situated in the Ban Khoa trend (approx. 1km from our mine) which is over 2.8 km in length and hosts at least two other prospective targets.
In the course of my career I’ve been fortunate to work in many different countries, each with their own challenges and benefits. Of all of them, Vietnam ranks at the top in terms of the most exciting. We’re in a first-mover situation in a country that’s seen little in the way of modern exploration and mining methods, even in highly prospective areas such as ours. With the government and communities increasingly on board, that is set to change and AMR plans to be at the forefront of positive progress.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch and be sure to sign up to our email list for updates.
Evan Spencer, CEO of Asian Mineral Resources
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