Perpetua Resources gets DOD funding to study antimony production from Stibnite gold project

Stibnite Gold project pit. Image from Perpetua Resources.

Perpetua Resources (Nasdaq: PPTA, TSX: PPTA) has been awarded two funding grants from the US Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to study the domestic production of military-grade antimony trisulfide, an essential component in ammunition and dozens of other defense materials.

Perpetua will receive $200,000 in total to evaluate whether antimony from its Stibnite Gold project in Idaho can meet military specifications to help secure America’s defense and commercial ammunition supply chain while also evaluating alternate methods for purifying antimony trisulfide.

Perpetua submitted two proposals to DLA’s “Production of Energetic Materials and Associated Precursors” Small Business Innovation Research grant solicitation. The program is focused on reducing “foreign reliance and single points of failure for the domestic manufacturing of energetic materials” through the development of a domestic source.

Related: How a gold-stibnite restoration in Idaho could add antimony to US supply chain

After a competitive review process, Perpetua was awarded SBIR Phase 1 funding of $100,000 for both programs. Each study is expected to be completed within the next six to 12 months.

“Antimony from the Stibnite Gold project site served our national defense needs during World War II and Perpetua is confident we can be part of the solution again,” Perpetua Resources CEO Laurel Sayer said in a media statement.  

“We are grateful for this opportunity to work with the Department of Defense to demonstrate that our Project can develop reliable and domestically sourced antimony trisulfide for defense and commercial ammunition.”

The first program will test existing samples of antimony trisulfide ore from the project for development into antimony trisulfide to Mil-Spec. The second program will study alternative processing opportunities to develop Mil-Spec antimony trisulfide from high purity antimony metal.

After the completion of the proposed programs, Phase 2 funding could be made available for more advanced stage pilot-scale testing within the next year. Together, the Phase 1 and Phase 2 programs could confirm the Project’s ability to provide the domestic antimony source needed to meet the defense procurement demand and support commercial markets.

Antimony trisulfide is produced from high purity antimony ore feedstock and is used in small and medium caliber munitions, mortars, artillery, mines, flares, grenades, shoulder launched munitions and missiles. Currently, China, Russia, and Tajikistan control approximately 90% of the world’s antimony supply and the United States has no domestically mined source of the critical mineral.

Perpetua’s proposed Stibnite Gold Project hosts one of the largest antimony deposits in the world independent of China and Russia.

The Stibnite Gold project in central Idaho, is advancing through the sixth year of review under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Project is designed to restore environmental conditions in the historical Stibnite mining district while responsibly developing one of the highest-grade open pit gold resources in the United States and becoming the only domestically mined source of the critical mineral antimony.

Mining activity first started in the district in the early 20th century for gold and silver. During WWII and the Korean War, the US Government commissioned antimony and tungsten production from Stibnite under the authority of the Strategic Metals Act of 1939. The site produced over 90% of the antimony used by the U.S. during WWII and was influential in establishing Mil-Spec for antimony trisulfide.