by Greg Klein | February 16, 2016
A British Columbia industrial minerals operation with a regional market will complete an expanded drill program in the coming weeks, Electra Stone TSXV:ELT announced February 16. The company plans 15 percussion drill holes ranging from 14 to 40 metres on its PEM100 quarry near Apple Bay on Vancouver Island. The operation produces chalky geyserite, also known as alumina silica, for cement manufacturing. With the new program, Electra intends to update the mine plan and explore the potential for producing a new high-grade silica product, the company stated.
“Although high-grade silica is already mined in the quarry to blend with higher-grade alumina silica, Electra Stone has identified a potential market opportunity for a stand-alone high-grade silica product,” said president/CEO John Costigan. “This program may allow us to expand the annual output of the PEM100 quarry and increase the company’s revenue. Regional consumption of alumina silica and high-grade silica is estimated to be greater than 500,000 tonnes per annum. Management continues to improve operational efficiencies at the PEM100 quarry.”
Last year’s production and sales came to 65,540 tonnes of chalky geyserite, a 13% year-over-year increase.
On another front, Electra has been building a vertically integrated operation to supply Asian customers with nephrite jade from B.C. The company has so far bought and shipped 36 tonnes of B.C. jade to the People’s Republic of China. Electra reported its first sale of 1.8 tonnes in November. Last month the company announced a contract to buy another 250 tonnes of nephrite jade.
Nephrite jade is used for building and ornamental purposes, while jadeite is more commonly used for jewelry.
Electra also holds six jade prospects in northern B.C. totalling 5,850 hectares. Four of them underwent an initial prospecting program last autumn, confirming nephrite on two properties.
Last month the company closed a $501,000 private placement.