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Pacific Bauxite identifies high-grade bauxite targets from South West New Georgia Bauxite Project

Published 07 September 2017

Pacific Bauxite announced that it has identified three high-grade bauxite targets from its recently completed reconnaissance sampling program at its South West New Georgia Bauxite Project in the Western province of the Solomon Islands.

The reconnaissance sampling program included 199 hand-auger drill holes and 40 shallow test-pits, for a total of 239 samples. Hand-held XRF results have been completed for all samples, with 130 (54%) samples returning results of more than 40% Al2O3 (alumina). The program has resulted in the discovery of three large distinct high grade targets, each returning peak results of between 55% and 57% Al2O3.

Pacific Bauxite’s CEO, Mr Mark Gwynne stated: “This first phase field work on the Project has returned exceptional results and, with the existing infrastructure in the area, offers a very real opportunity to deliver early production. This prospecting program could not have been completed as efficiently without the full support of the local communities and the Company is pleased to see their efforts rewarded in the delineation of a project that potentially offers enormous benefit for the people of South West New Georgia.”

The Company is currently undertaking work to extend the defined areas of bauxite mineralisation, and secure equipment for resource definition drilling at the priory targets. Additional prospecting will commence in the next few weeks, and resource-definition-drilling is expected to commence in October.

The Company believes SWNG is prospective for large tonnage direct shipping ore (“DSO”) bauxite mineralisation, and is analogous with the bauxite deposits of the Nendo and Rennell Islands, both within the Solomon Islands. This style of mineralisation provides the opportunity for quick, cost-effective resource definition and a simple, low cost, dig-load-ship style mining operation Sampling to date indicates the mineralisation at SWNG contains slightly higher SiO2 (silicon dioxide) content than the Company’s lead Solomon Islands bauxite project, the Nendo Project.

However, with results as low as less than 1% total SiO2 and almost one third of the samples containing below 16% total SiO2, there is excellent potential to delineate significant tonnages of DSO quality, high value material with lower silica content. The critical “reactive silica” content is expected to be substantially less than the total SiO2 content measured by the hand held XRF. As the “reactive silica” and “available alumina” analysis for these samples cannot be tested with the handheld XRF tool, represented samples will be sent to a certified Australian laboratory for analysis.

Reconnaissance Sampling Program Methods

The reconnaissance sampling program at SWNG is designed to provide an initial test for the early identification of areas favourable for DSO quality bauxite, with grade ranges of +40% total Al2O3 and less than 10% total SiO2. The program also presents the Company with the opportunity to interact with the traditional landowners and other stakeholders, as well as provide training and employment for the local people by way of testing the mineral resource potential of their own land.

At SWNG this has proven to be an extremely rewarding process for all involved, and the Company has received overwhelming widespread local support for its prospecting activities. Sampling within the Project area has been completed using hand-augers and hand-dug test pits, causing minimal environmental disturbance. The Company’s prospecting activities have covered a large area and have been designed to determine the geographical distribution of areas with favourable bauxite. For the most part, one sample is taken from each site at a depth of more than one metre below surface.

While hand augers have on occasion been used to test the depth of mineralised profiles (maximum depth for these augers is 6 metres), no conclusions on the depth of the bauxite deposits with the SWNG Project are yet to be determined. A total of 239 samples from SWNG have been taken and analysed using a hand-held XRF. This work is ongoing and is due for completion in the coming week. Further information regarding the sampling program and analysis of samples is presented attached to this announcement.

About the South West New Georgia Bauxite Project

The SWNG Prospecting Licence covers an area of 236km² and targets bauxitic clays on uplifted limestone reef (averaging more than 100m above sea level), analogous in nature to the Company’s lead asset - the Nendo Bauxite Project, also located in the Solomon Islands. Much of the tenure at SWNG appears unexplored and represents a significant exploration opportunity for Pacific Bauxite.

The area to be explored within the new Prospecting Licence is three times the area being targeted at the Nendo Project. Prior exploration by Australian companies in the early 1970’s identified extensive areas of bauxite mineralisation and postulated the potential for economic deposits at SWNG. This historical work targeted the southern part of the Prospecting Licence and included several hand-auger drilling and pit sampling programs.

The primary historical drilling campaign focused on an area of approximately 3.5km by 1km and included 39 auger holes for 101 samples. This work identified substantial tonnages of material with grades of between 40% and 45% total Al2O3 and 5% to 10% total SiO2. Significant infrastructure requirements are in place surrounding the Project area. The Project is adjacent to commercial port facilities, offering significant infrastructure advantages for any future export mining operations.

The Noro Port can accommodate Handymax and Supermax bulk cargo ships, and is proposed for an infrastructure upgrade program in the near future. The Company intends to establish a strong working relationship with the Port Authority to assist in these improvements. The Project is well serviced by daily domestic flights from Honiara to Munda Airport, which is currently being upgraded to accommodate international flights. Access within the Project appears good with extensive logging tracks crisscrossing the Prospecting Licence.

National Minerals Policy

In June 2017, the National Government of the Solomon Islands launched the new National Minerals Policy (“Policy”). This Policy clearly describes the rights of traditional landowners in the decision-making process for the granting and management of mining licences, as well as the rights and responsibilities of prospectors and miners. Representatives of the Company attended the Policy’s launch in Honiara.

The Policy provides a clear vision and objectives for the minerals sector for ethical and respectful development in the Solomon Islands and is welcomed by the Company. Pacific Bauxite has a strong commitment to recognising and respecting traditional landowners, customs and culture, and the environment.

The Company has developed its own program for community assistance, targeting the key areas of health and education. These programs are undertaken in consultation with all stakeholders including traditional landowners and communities, and Provincial and National authorities.

Source: Company Press Release