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New estimates show EQ Resources is sitting on a $3 billion critical minerals resource at Far North Queensland’s Mount Carbine tungsten mine.

The company has released an updated resource statement for the project as it prepares to start mining at the site, in addition to its ongoing operations to extract tungsten from the historical mining operation’s low-grade stockpiles.

Remodelling of the resource for the ongoing Bankable Feasibility Study resulted in significantly higher-grade ore blocks, tightening the tonnages required to be mined.

The revised in-situ hard-rock resource stands at 9.21 million tonnes at 0.63 per cent tungsten oxide.

When combined with the 12 million tonne stockpiles grading at 0.075 per cent tungsten oxide, this takes the total metal contained to about 6.7 million mtu (metric ton unit, equal 10 kg).

In today’s APT price environment of US$310/mtu this represents a metal value in excess of US$2.1 billion, or about $2.9 billion in Australian dollars.

The company says it is committed to a path to commence mining in the short term and benefit from high tungsten prices and high-grade mineralisation at Mount Carbine.

“We are delighted that the results of the diamond drilling program has changed the way we are looking at mining at Mount Carbine,” chief executive officer Kevin MacNeill said.

“At the time we said it would be a game changer and that has turned out to be the case. What we are trying to do here is mine a lot smarter and greatly reduce barren rock reporting to the gravity plant.”

The bulk of the indicated resources at Mount Carbine are located immediately beneath the Andy White pit floor at the old mine.

EQ Resources said these resources were well placed to be reached by a pit expansion, especially as much of the high-grade mineralisation sat along the lower strip side of the old pit.

“We are pleased that we now have a clear picture of where the high grade tungsten lenses are located for our mine planning,” Mr MacNeill said.

“This indicated resource at 0.74 per cent WO3 has five times the historical bulk grade of 0.14 per cent WO3, meaning much better economics.

“Very few tungsten mines achieve such high mineable grades. With these high grades we anticipate most of the indicated resources will make their way into reserves.”