Located approximately 20km east of LKAB's iron ore mine and railhead at Svappavaara, the Vittangi graphite project (containing the Nunasvaara deposit) has a total JORC resource of 16.9Mt at 25.6% graphite ("Cg"), the highest resource grade of any JORC/NI 43-101 graphite deposit in the world. Nunasvaara has been declared a mineral deposit of national interest by the Swedish Geological Survey, providing benefits against competing land uses.
Nunasvaara forms part of the Vittangi project which comprises multiple exploration permits covering approximately 75km. Historical work across the Vittangi project identified extensive graphite as well as numerous skarn iron deposits and copper sulphide occurrences.
The Vittangi graphite deposits were first discovered in 1898, with trenching across the Nunasvaara deposit during 1916-18. Early work during the 1920s reviewed the possibility of using the graphite as a reducing agent in the production of pig iron, and Nunasvaara was declared a state mining field in 1929. Extensive work, including geophysics, trenching, core drilling (20 holes for 949m) and bulk sampling, was conducted by the SGU and LKAB during the period 1970-1982.
During July 2012 Talga undertook a diamond drilling program at the Nunasvaara deposit, drilling 19 holes for 1697m. This led to the calculation of a new JORC 2004 compliant resource of 7.6Mt @ 24.4% Cg, with 5.6Mt @ 24.6% Cg classified Indicated. Since then, Talga utilised new data from drilling in 2014 and trial mining undertaken in 2015 and 2016 to update the previous resource from JORC 2004 status to JORC 2012.
Future mining of this resource will be aided by its exceptional grade and open-pit bulk mining option. It is favourably located, being only 3km to grid power and the highest load rated road in Europe (Svappavaara-Vittangi Highway). Furthermore it is only 15km to the town of Vittangi, and 23km to the town and railhead at Svappavaara.
The Nunasvaara graphite unit extends over 15km of strike, of which less than 8% has been drill tested to date. Rock samples collected by Talga over this graphitic unit average 26.2% Cg, with grades up to 46.7% Cg encountered. Potential exists for a significant expansion of the resource base in the future.