Arianne Phosphate is planning to increase the mineral resources and extend the operational life of its Lac à Paul phosphate project in Canada.

The project is located about 200km north of the Saguenay and Lac St. Jean areas of Québec.

The company said the new exploration drilling that started on 3 February will continue through to the end of March.

The Paul Zone currently features 590 million tonnes of measured and indicated (M&I) resources at a grade of 7.1% phosphorus pentoxide, for which mineral reserves totalling 472.1 million tonnes at a grade of 6.9% phosphorus pentoxide have been set up, based on the mining plan of the feasibility study for the project filed in 2013.

According to the study, the reserves support a minimum mine life of 25.75 years in just the currently defined Paul Zone, and will generate an NPV of $1.9bn at an 8% discount rate.

The Manouane Zone features 164 million tonnes of M&I resources at a grade of 5.88% phosphorus pentoxide and Zone two includes 64 million tonnes of inferred resources at 4.55% of phosphorus pentoxide.

The new drilling programme has two main targets with the first involving testing of the western extension of the Paul Zone, which has not yet been drilled.

The second target includes testing the depth potential of the TraMan Zone, located about 5km south of the ore treatment facility.

Arianne Phosphate chief executive officer Brian Kenny said the company is already aware of the economics of the Lac a Paul project and its phosphorus pentoxide potential.

"Accordingly, we are confident that the results of this drilling programme will further increase the property’s major mineral resources and significantly extend the life of our world-class project," Kenny said.

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