Australian specialty metal exploration and development company, King River Resources Limited (ASX: KRR) continues to make progressive strides concerning operations at its Speewah Specialty Metals (SSM) project, which lies in the West Australian East Kimberly region. The Company is currently engaged into compilation of the Prefeasibility Study (PFS) into its wholly owned SSM project.
Notably, KRR accomplished the production of High Purity Alumina (HPA) or >4N (99.99% Al2O3) through a new refining process in April 2020.
The Company’s plan is directed towards initially scaling the Speewah project to HPA production. At a later stage, KRR intends to undertake the production of co-products including V2O5, TiO2 and Fe oxide, but would not be part of the PFS. The solvent extraction testwork for the production of co-products is underway, utilising leachates from the magnetic magnetite-ilmenite concentrates.
With this backdrop, let us look at King River Resources’ recent and ongoing endeavours at Speewah Specialty Metals Project.
KRR Continues Hydrometallurgical Testwork
KRR is engaged in undertaking further hydrometallurgical work for its High Purity Alumina PFS at the SSM project. The testwork is centric to improving overall recoveries, in addition to trimming the acid and reagent consumption for the study input.
The hydrometallurgical work would be finalised post the completion of following tests:
- Repetition of the previous 4N HPA product test on a larger sample for repeating the >99.99% result and providing an additional product for verification analyses
- Independent umpire assay of >99.99% Al2O3 result at the SSM project
- New equipment trials for increasing the calcination temperature for ensuring the HPA phase is all alpha-alumina
- X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis for confirming that HPA produced is 100% alpha-alumina
- Increasing efficiency of the Stage 2 purification
Recent Breakthrough in 4N HPA Production with New Process
King River recently successfully managed to produce >4N High Purity Alumina (99.99% Al2O3) by employing a new process developed by its metallurgical consultants TSW Analytical Pty Ltd (TSW).
TWS’ discovery for the extraction of aluminium as the first precipitate product directly from sulphuric acid leach solution led to the production of 99.98% Al2O3 HPA late last year (2019). Several leach solutions that were produced by Nagrom were treated by the Al precipitation process, resulting in Al precipitation efficiencies of up to 95% along with better process understanding.
A purification process (dual-stage) was employed on the leachate’s Al-rich precipitate for extensively reducing the levels of contaminant metals in a precursor product suitable for the production of 99.99% Al2O3. The recovery of 95% Al was achieved in the Stage 1 Recrystallisation process. The stage 2 Ion Exchange process, which targets 80% of the PFS, is currently recovering 76%. KRR’s capacity to produce >4N HPA is supplemented through development in the Ion Exchange Process.
Furthermore, for converting to alumina, calcination of the purified precursor product was carried out at 1100°C followed by washing for impurity removal. The final HPA assayed >99.99% Al2O3.
Other Progressive Undertakings at SSM Project
Process Plant Design and Costings- Como Engineers has advanced considerably on the process plant work involving infrastructural design and costing. It remains on track to provide capital estimates along with costs for the Prefeasibility Study.
Mining Study and Reserve Estimate- An ERM Group company, CSA Global has largely completed the mining study. It worked on the initial pit optimisations, pit designs, mining schedule and mining cost.
Como Engineers plant and infrastructure design and costings along with the CSA Global mining study are primarily completed and are waiting on final model validation and review.
Based on the remaining outcomes from the activities that are well advanced and critical for completion of the PFS, KRR is expecting to finalise the PFS. Following which, the Company would evaluate market conditions to accelerate toward finalising a definitive feasibility study.
KRR closed the day’s trade at $0.052 on 13 May 2020, advancing further by 4% from its previous closing price. The stock has generated a positive return of 108.33% and 56.25% in the past three months and six months, respectively.