Due diligence and early testing revealed a promising yield of large to jumbo graphite flake deposits and prospects, evaluated through airborne electromagnetic (EM) surveys, metallurgy tests and detailed petrology and drilling.
Archer's Managing Director Gerard Anderson said that the Waddikee tenement, containing targets such as Wilclo South just 25 kilometres from their Sugarloaf graphite deposit and proposed processing plant, had already shown very encouraging results.
"We were working just to the south of the area. Our graphite interests are contiguous with the Waddikee so we know the ground. We're pretty confident that further drilling will define a far bigger resource than what is the one we currently purchased," said Anderson.
"We were particularly interested in their resource definition drilling work and high quality EM data set, which was flown across the entire 1000 square kilometre tenement at 400 metre line spacings, which indicated a huge number of linear conductors and in every case those conductors have turned out to be graphitic."
Key graphite deposits at the Waddikee tenement
Drilling at Wilclo South, Francis and Lacroma have returned very thick intercepts - more importantly, petrology suggests very coarse to jumbo flake graphite. The undrilled Argent prospect suggests very coarse graphite flake size up to 2mm, which Anderson says is "just unbelievable".
Larger graphite flakes are typically higher-grade product, which are cheaper and easier to process, thereby placing Archer's assets very high on the graphite price curve.
"Also on Waddikee, there was a former mineral lease which was put in solely for graphite. And to our knowledge there's been no drilling on that. I suspect that will be a very large flake project area, but that's speculation, we just need to go and look at it."
Archer's current operations at Campoona contain flake deposits but are harder to extract - they micronize that graphite to get it down to a fine size and high purity.
"The flake graphite market is far more transparent than the finer material which requires one on one customer-supplier relationships, so we just think that being in the graphite business we want to make sure that we cover the broadest range of products possible, to create a far more robust project going forward."
Archer operate in a hub and spoke style model, with their Sugarloaf project set to provide the processing facilities for Archer's disparate mines and pits.
"We purchased the Sugarloaf land last year, a 1403 acre block, primarily because it hosts the Sugarloaf graphite deposit which is enormous - up to a 70 million tonne exploration target - and the idea was to use that significant land asset, bild that facility, and truck material in."
The Waddikee tenement was purchased by Archer from Monax Mining Limited for $300,000 AUD.
"Monax's future lies in copper, that's their preferred vehicle. The Waddikee project became surplus to their requirements, they chose to sell it, we negotiated a price and now it's in our hands. It made sense."
Anderson says that the future for graphite production on the Eyre Peninsula is very bright, with rising graphite prices and other companies like Lincoln Minerals in the area.
"Clearly if you can get a project that is very high grade, where there's high natural liberation and it's very coarse in grain size, then that is the preferred location where you'd put your investment dollars."
Information on Archer Exploration Limited and the Waddikee Tenement:
Archer Exploration Limited is an Australian Stock Exchange listed company with 100% ownership of 15 tenements and one Exploration Licence Application all in South Australia covering 6,053 km2. Archer also has the rights to all minerals other than uranium on EL4693 covering a further 816 km2. Archer’s main project is the Campoona Graphite Project which is located within reach of established and major developing infrastructure.
Waddikee EL4662 is located between the townships of Cleve and Kimba on Central Eyre Peninsula (Figure 1). The 999km2 tenement is situated immediately north of Archer’s main graphite interests on EL4693 Wildhorse Plain.