Rhyolite Resources Ltd has announced completion of the acquisition of Muckahi Inc, a company controlled by Fred Stanford that holds a license to the Muckahi Mining System. Rhyolite’s stated strategy is to be “a vertically integrated mining company focused on the development of mining assets amenable to our innovative Muckahi Mining System – an automatable transportation system for underground hard rock mines with the potential to reduce mine build and sustaining capital expenditures by up to 30%; mine operating costs by up to 30%; time between investment and revenue, by up to 80%; and underground greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95%.”
On September 7, Rhyolite had already announced the appointment of Fred Stanford as Chief Executive Officer and Director. At that time, Tony Chedraoui, the newly appointed Chairman of the Board of Rhyolite, and Founder, CEO and CIO of Tyrus Capital stated: “With the advantages of Muckahi being equally applicable to the mining of any metal that is extracted from an underground hard rock mine, Rhyolite will be ‘metal agnostic’ as it seeks high-return mining assets for acquisition and development. This will include assets containing the much needed ‘battery metals’ required for future increased electrification as the world transitions away from fossil fuels. These are exciting times for Rhyolite, and we all look forward to a future of high ROI growth.” Tyrus Capital was the largest investor of Torex Gold for nearly 10 years.
Muckahi involves three logistical paradigm shifts: steep ramps (a quarter of the length of conventional ramps), roof-mounted monorails and equipment to run on them, and minimal underground infrastructure. Rhyolite adds: “We seek to acquire development assets that are too costly to mine conventionally but are of high value when mined with the Muckahi Mining System – all while fully integrating environmental, social and governance best practices. Our technical advantages and focus on ESG using Systems Leadership Theory, are key to building value for our shareholders and stakeholders. Rhyolite is also advancing two gold exploration projects in Suriname through joint venture earn-in agreements.”
Muckahi was engineering by in Stanford and MEDATech in close cooperation – at the heart of the system is an ALTDRIVE Rail Locomotive (the ARL), a modern battery-electric locomotive. The ARL can be quickly configured to add as much battery power as required. That’s because it has a hydrostatic drive system, allowing the locomotive to be configurable in a way that electric-only is not: simply coupling as many drive units and battery systems to the locomotive as required.
Stanford received 9.5 million common shares of Rhyolite in consideration, of which 1.0 million common shares were delivered to Stanford upon closing of the Transaction, and the remaining 8.5 million common shares have been deposited in escrow to be released to Stanford in tranches over a four-year period. “With this key aspect of our growth strategy now in place, we are in good stead to pursue the acquisition and development of mining assets that are particularly amenable to the benefits of Muckahi,” said Stanford.
Back in August, Torex Gold, of which Stanford was a founding Director, stated that after an analysis of the results to date of the Muckahi monorail-based mining test program at ELD and an assessment of business risks, that its Board has approved a decision to pursue the Media Luna Feasibility Study on a conventional mining basis. Torex did go on to say that aspects of the monorail-based technology are currently being deployed for development of the Guajes Tunnel, and management will consider including a PEA level study to utilise monorail-based equipment to develop the smaller EPO deposit near Media Luna as part of the overall Technical Report to be released in Q1 2022.
Earlier, in April, Torex had announced that Fred Stanford would not stand for reelection at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June 2021. At the same time, Fred Stanford resigned from his executive role with the company. Stanford said at the time: “Looking to the future, I plan to pursue my interest in commercialising Muckahi technology and building Muckahi mines.”