Enquiries and expressions of interest have been received from 20 manufacturers in the region with potential annual silica sand sales identified to date of more than 1.6 million tonnes for glassmaking.
There is also almost 900,000 tonnes sought for the foundry industry.
The tonnages and quality of products sought are capable of production from the company’s two Arrowsmith projects and the Muchea project.
VRX Silica managing director Bruce Maluish said: “We are encouraged by the strong interest for silica sand products from our Arrowsmith and Muchea projects.”
He said the fact that this had arisen in the brief time since test work determined product types and the distribution of a Silica Sand Products Catalogue to potential customers across the Asia-Pacific region was also encouraging.
The Arrowsmith projects are 270 kilometres north of Perth and the Muchea project is 50 kilometres north of the state capital.
VRX Silica’s engagement with potential customers has been enhanced by the appointment of Yoonil Kim as international sales manager in November 2018 as well as the release in February 2019 of a catalogue.
Mr Kim is a South Korean national with more than 15 years of experience marketing and selling silica sand products to glass manufacturers and foundries across the Asia-Pacific region.
The Silica Sand Product Catalogue outlines products capable of production, including two products from each of Arrowsmith and Muchea for the glassmaking industry and four from Arrowsmith for the foundry industry.
The company has received an independent process design, engineering and cost estimate for a processing plant.
Enquiries and expressions of interest have been received from manufacturers and purchasing agents for smaller shipments of product for glassmaking from China (3), the Philippines (2), Thailand (2), India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan.
China’s glassmaking industry is the most dominant in the region with more than 270 glassmaking facilities.
The company has also received enquiries and expressions of interest from organisations in the foundry industry in South Korea (5), Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan.
Foundry industry demand
Most demand has been from South Korea, which is the world’s largest foundry market, predominately in the automobile and shipbuilding industries.
VRX Silica will be able to commit to binding offtake agreements following the approval of mining permits at its projects.
Maluish added: “We expect to receive further enquiries for silica sand products and will look to progress this strong interest into binding offtake agreements before committing to funding arrangements for processing plant requirements.”
A bankable feasibility study for the Arrowsmith and Muchea projects is expected in September.