As demand for agro-mineral projects in Brazil continues, Eagle Star Minerals Corp., (CVE:EGE) has been working to bulk up its position as a provider of agro-minerals ever since announcing a strategic shift in focus to phosphate exploration in February.
By acquiring the rights to 111 mineral claims, Eagle Star has amassed
a strategic land base of approximately 220,767 hectares in northeastern
Brazil that features strong-grade phosphates.
In the past few months, two very material changes have occurred
within the company, with a new discovery within the Canabrava block at
its Ruth project in the centre of Piauí state, near the cities of Picos
and Eliseu Martins, and the acquisition of Bomfim - located in the
southern most part of the Tocantins state.
Beginning with the Canabrava block, Eagle Star in June increased its
ownership of the property by 17,509 hectares - 11 claims - in light of
its recent discovery of a mineralized phosphate package of at least
seven metres in thickness. The whole Canabrava block covers 40,678
hectares across 23 mineral claims.
The recent discovery is still open at depth and contains grades of up to 12 per cent phosphate.
Eagle Star’s senior manager of corporate development, Patrick
Brandreth, says that the company’s team had the opportunity to
investigate the Canabrava block further over the past few months.
"We’ve actually traced that [discovery] over 15 kilometres at surface
and it is still open laterally and at depth. We claimed additional
areas in that region based on the premises that the package extends
further than 15 kilometres."
Indeed, that premise led Eagle Star to conduct a new regional
exploration program, focusing this time on different geological
formations, where the mineralized rock types outcrop extensively and are
visible as a result of road cuts.
"This is very significant news. The newly discovered package itself
is quite unique as it is made up of two materials," says Brandreth.
"One of the materials is a high-grade phosphorite sandstone, with
grades from 4 to 12 % P2O5 and the other is a lower grade siltstone,
yielding grades from 1 to 3 % P2O5 – both have very different physical
characteristics which make the possibility of separating the two highly
Chemical and metallurgical tests have been have been initiated to
verify the possibility of using the lower siltstone as natural
"What is interesting is that our team believes that it will be very
possible to separate the two grades with traditional mining techniques
similar to those used in Boxite,” says Brandreth.
"We will [then]
take the low grade reject material to use as a natural fertilizer and
tests are ongoing for that, while the high-grade material is to be sent
away for concentration."
Results of the chemical and metallurgical tests to determine the solubility of the material are expected by mid-July.
Upon receipt of positive results, Eagle Star intends to start a drill
program that will allow it to prove the extent of mineralization in the
form of an NI 43-101 resource calculation, while further investigating
the most attractive production methods and procedures from an economic
"The overall perspective is that if our solubility tests come back
positive, then we know we are sitting on a significant deposit,”
Eagle Star is looking to move into drilling by September.
Meanwhile, at the end of June, the company also inked a deal to
acquire the Bomfim agro-mineral project in Brazil, which is located 20
kilometres away from MbAC Fertilizers' (TSE:MBC) Itafos Arraias property.
Star believes that Bomfim is located along the same phosphate
mineralized trend in which the Itafos mine is situated. The company’s
COO, director and expert on phosphate, Jose Eloi Guimares Campos, is
much of the reason for this strong belief.
involvement with the Itafos technical study and geological modeling
gives him the confidence to say that Eagle Star is indeed sitting on a
very similar geological model to that of Itafos.
Eagle Star said
the region is considered to be the new phosphate belt of Brazil and has
seen many majors claiming in this area such as MBAC, Vale (NYSE:VALE), Votorantim and Bungee.
All exploration permits and licenses are already in place for Bomfim’s 30,922 hectares.
An aggressive exploration program has been outlined, with the aim to
define an NI 43-101 measured and indicated resource as soon as possible.
The main mineralization at Bomfim hosts outcropping phosphorite
lenses, from where Eagle Star has sample results of up to 28% P2O5.
The company said it will explore the possibility of moving directly
into small scale production of the high grade crushed phosphorite, as a
natural fertilizer, to assist with the funding of initial operations at
The exploration program at the site is planned to extend over a 16
month period, with scout drilling of 2,600 metres kicking-off as early
The target areas delineated by the initial scout drilling program
will then be further detailed by regular spaced drilling totaling 27,000
metres, the company said, to assist in geological modeling and an NI
43-101 resource calculation.
"We are very excited about this property in the sense that it is a
Brownfield project," says Brandreth. “It has proven economic,
geological, and exploration models by that of MbAC."
These qualities, says Brandreth, could save the company about a year
from start to finish with respect to getting the property identified,
developed and put into production.
"And for a junior company like ours, that very much reduces the risk and timeframe in which we can move into production.”
Brazil is one of the leading agrarian countries in the world. In
addition to being the fourth largest consumer of agro-minerals, it is
the second largest world importer of phosphate, a business that
generates around $1.1 billion in sales annually for the country.