DISCUSSIONS are progressing positively with a potential off-taker in regards to Proto Resources and Investments’ Barnes Hill iron ore and nickel mining licence in Tasmania. Through these discussions Tianjin Tai Jiang International Trade Co will explore the potential of working with Proto for the mining potential in iron and nickel production from Barnes Hill.

Tianjin Tai Jiang is looking to invest into Proto by way of a cornerstone equity investment. This investment will entail the mining plan and development of the proposed iron ore production development planned for the second half of the 2014 calendar year and the subsequent production and development of the nickel laterite project at Barnes Hill.

Tianjin Tai Jiang supplies hinterland industries in Tianjin, a dual-core city on the coast of the Bohai Sea in northern China. It is one of the five national central cities of the People’s Republic of China. The population is 14.5 million and its primary industries are mineral import and exports, automotive, chemical production and oil/gas. As of the end of 2010, around 285 Fortune 500 companies had set up base in Tianjin’s Binhai area, a new growth pole in China and a hub of advanced industry and financial activity.

In April 2014 the municipality saw its GDP grow up to 10.6% year-on-year to RMB319.03 billion, according to the latest statistics released by the Tianjin Statistics Bureau. The gross output of industrial enterprises, each with a core business revenue of at least RMB 20 million, in Tianjin rose 10.7% year-on-year to RMB694.89 billion in the first three months while the value added industrial output from these enterprises rose 11.4% year on year.

Proto and Tianjin Tai Jiang are working together for the potential of an offtake agreement and strategic alliance.

During February Proto announced that commercial scale iron ore samples were taken from Barnes Hill to be provided to domestic and international iron ore off-takers. Samples were taken from 12 specially selected sites at the north pit location. The bulked material represents a blend of all near-surface forms of iron-rich material.

The 12 samples have been sent for metallurgical bulk testing by a potential off-taker. In addition, a set of 12 matching samples was also taken for Davis Tube magnetic separation analysis.
Proto hopes iron ore production at Barnes Hill will assist in hastening development of a stand-alone nickel and cobalt operation, and the company continues to have high level discussions with plant and equipment suppliers for the planned nickel processing operation.

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