Ghurayyah
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Ghurayyah Tantalum-Niobium-Rare-Earth Project (Saudi Arabia)

Ghurayyah is a world-class deposit containing valuable tantalum, niobium, rare-earths, zirconium and yttrium with a last estimated Inferred Mineral Resource of nearly 400 million tonnes grading 245 grammes/tonne (0.024%) tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5), 2,840 grammes/tonne (0.28%) niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5), 8,915 grammes/tonne (0.89%) zirconium oxide (ZrO2), and 1,270 grammes/tonne (0.13%) yttrium oxide (Y2O3).

Following on from favourable metallurgical testwork a Scoping Study for development of the Ghurayyah tantalum-niobium deposit in Saudi Arabia was completed in 2003 with positive results. The Study included financial modelling of a number of alternative processing flow sheets over an initial 20-year mine life with costs estimated to an accuracy of +/- 30%. On a 100% equity funded, un-escalated basis the four main flow sheets were all economically attractive. Each produced pre-tax Internal Rates of Return (IRR) in excess of 25% and Net Present Values (NPV) in the range $55-285 million using discount rates between 10 and 20%.

Following the successful Scoping Study further activities have been carried out as part of a Pre-feasibility study including further metallurgical testwork, an environmental scoping study, a location trade-off study and additional resource investigation work.

The process flowsheet being evaluated will consider the hydrometallurgical separation of the metals following flotation and magnetic separation of ore after crushing/grinding. Further processing of Niobium into Ferro-niobium remains the preferred route for this metal.

The conceptual mining rate is 1.52 million tonnes ore per annum over an initial 20 year period although at this rate the known resources should be sufficient for over 200 years of operations.

The project is being funded jointly by Tertiary (Middle East) Ltd together with the consortium of Saudi investors (AH Algosaibi Bros Co and Al Nahla Trading & Contracting Co).

At present work on the project is currently suspended pending the re-issue of an exploration license over the deposit in the names of Tertiary (Middle East) Ltd - a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company (50%); AH Algosaibi Bros Co (25%); Al Nahla Trading & Contracting Co (25%).