Freeport Resources Inc., a junior mineral exploration company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange is advancing towards the feasibility study stage at its high grade Hutton Garnet Beaches project in Labrador, Canada. Permitting is in process for the 2009 bulk sample, and several governmental meetings were held in Newfoundland and Labrador last month to explain the proposal. The work is needed to confirm logistics for commercial-scale production. A sample of about 2000 cubic metres is planned, to develop pilot plant design and update tonnage estimates. Preliminary resource estimates of over 1.25 million tonnes garnet in October 2004 included 256,000 tonnes as a probable reserve. Production life is expected to be over 20 years, with more potential offshore. Community meeting(s) will be held prior to work commencing.
The Hutton deposits have exceptionally high garnet content: South Beach — clearly red on satellite photos — averages over 60% garnet, exceeding 75% locally. The sizing of the angular garnet grains is naturally suited to waterjet cutting. Hutton garnet has performed comparably to higher-end products in three industry-wide tests in the UK, Canada and the US: The Hutton is an important Canadian garnet resource, well positioned to supply Europe and eastern North America.
A large glacial outwash fan of garnet-rich till below sea level is the source for heavy minerals collecting between headlands as bayhead beaches and the adjacent offshore. The proposed mining method works with natural processes, removing garnetiferous sand from areas of accumulation, to be subsequently replenished by wave action. The proposed bulk sample would be skimmed in shallow layers from an unvegetated area over a small part of South Beach, which measures just under 2000 metres in length. No long term ground disturbance is expected, given natural processes – wind, waves, winter ice — will remove all traces of work.
The current scenario is based on two barges, where a smaller landing barge acts as a portable dock for a larger loading barge. They will serve as a self-contained base camp, and to transport the sample to an existing commercial plant to be separated into garnet products. Information collected in 2009 will be used in the preparation of a Feasibility Study.