Astron shares are up 8% to 54 cents per share at the time of writing.
Astron is a Hong Kong-based mineral sand mining company that evaluates and advances downstream applications for zircon and titanium. It’s also heavily involved in titanium-based materials trading. The company’s segments include the Donald Mineral Sands in rural Victoria, and in Senegal and China.
Let’s take a look at what’s driving the Astron share price today.
Astron’s Zircon tests
Astron has been testing zircon from its Donald mineral sands mine against competitor products. Zircon is a popular gemstone that people have been using for more than 2000 years. It’s even a birthstone for the month of December.
Astron said testing of its “premium zircon” from Donald has determined that it “rates favourably in terms of whiteness – a highly desirable characteristic for the main ceramics end-use market – compared to three competitor products”.
The company calls the extra-white zircon from the Donald mine ‘Donald Premium Zircon’ and expects this grade of gemstone will constitute 80% or approximately 95,000 tonnes per annum of its total 1 zircon production.
It may prove cheaper to mine in the long-term, as this zircon will not require acid leaching to meet customer specifications. In the next stage of its Donald project zircon mining operations, Astron says it has the ability to double total production.
Astron’s rare earth results
In other metallurgical test work from the Donald mine, Astron advised it has also found significant rare earth deposits. Today, the company confirmed its ability to produce a high-quality rare earth elements concentrate from a froth flotation technique.
Using this specific extraction technique, Astron can find a total rare earth element percentage of 51.2% with low impurity levels from its mineral sands in the region. The Donald mineral sands project is located in the Wimmera region of Victoria, 60km from Horsham and near the township of Minyip.
According to the company, Donald represents “one of the largest known zircon and titanium ore bodies in the world and a potentially significant new source of global supply”.
Astron share price snapshot
The Astron share price has shot up this month, up more than 50%, and is also up considerably over the past 12 months at 208%. The company can only be bought on the ASX as chess depositary interests (CDI). CDI’s act as a ‘right to buy’ share at a certain price on another exchange.