By Michael Sinclair-Jones
CHALICE Mining shares crashed 30 per cent last month after the company revealed plans for a Julimar open-cut mine worth $18 billion to start production in six years’ time.
The shock market reaction caught the Perth miner by surprise but it hasn’t stopped plans to start processing up to 30 million tonnes of ore a year, starting in early 2029.
Chalice says local groundwater will not be used but has yet to announce how it will dispose of millions of litres of waste water contaminated by mineral processing.Read more
A scoping study suggests it could total up to 18 million litres a year based on an estimated 0.6 litres of water needed per tonne of ore.
A tailings dump to store up to 30 million tonnes of discarded waste annually is also planned for Chalice-owned farmland.
The miner said it will seek Federal and State environmental approvals early next year, and start construction in mid-2026.
About 1200 workers would be needed for contruction and 500 for mining operations.
Chalice told the Australian Stock Exchange on August 29 that it would give job priority to local workers.
“These jobs will be particularly attractive given their proximity to Perth and the lifestyle values of the surrounding region,” the miner said.
A Chalice scoping study said a new kilometre-wide open-cut mine would pay for itself in the first two years of operation.
Some market analysts blamed the share price crash on the 2029 start date while others claimed Chalice had over-valued its Julimar discovery by basing projections on assumed future metal prices instead of current values.
The miner has drilled a large area of Julimar farmland and State forest where it has discovered what it describes as a “world class” deposit of rare metals that are in high demand to combat global warming.
Tests have revealed significant amounts of palladium, platinum, cobalt, nickel and copper, which Chalice says are needed to produce electric vehicles, ‘green’ hydrogen and fossil-free renewable energy.
Chalice plans to mine nearly half a million ounces of palladium, platinum and gold a year at Julimar, plus 16,000 tonnes of nickel, 16,000 tonnes of copper and 1400 tonnes of cobalt annually until 2047.
It also plans to build a Julimar processing plant to crush ore and use sulfide flotation to produce an ore concentrate for export to precious metals refineries overseas.
An area two thirds of the surface area of the Kalgoorlie Super Pit will be used for an open-cut mine and tailings dump on Chalice-owned farmland near Keating Road.
Exploratory drilling has discovered further similar deposits in the nearby State-registered Julimar Conservation Park but this area is excluded from current plans.
The forest contains rare and endangered native birds, plants and animals, and has prompted calls for the State Government to upgrade its status to national park to protect it from future mining.
In response to the share price crash, Chalice said “we appreciate it may take time for the market to absorb and fully digest the study”.
“Chalice remains well-funded to pursue development of the project with over $140 million in cash,” the company said.
The mine would also require a new 132kV Western Power line to be built from Muchea to Julimar and a new transformer substation to be installed at the minesite.
The company says it will ask the Water Corporation to build a new 50km pipeline to Julimar to deliver water to the minesite.
Chalice said it would provide future “modelling on noise impacts” for surrounding farms and rural residential properties.