Australian specialty metals explorer, King River Resources Limited (ASX: KRR), in the time of unprecedented market volatility, has acknowledged the progressive state of different areas concerned with the Prefeasibility Study (PFS) on its wholly owned Speewah Specialty Metals (SSM) Project. While the Company stands poised in relation to the ongoing activities associated with the PFS, its efforts are centric to the safety and well-being of people including its employees, directors, consultants, contractors and advisors amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
KRR prominently engages in the exploration of vanadium resources along with copper, gold and silver. The following projects characterise the robust project portfolio of the Company:
- Mt Remarkable Gold Project
- Speewah Specialty Metals Project
- Treasure Creek Project
Operations in Light of Coronavirus Outbreak
In the face of Covid-19 outbreak, the Company has incorporated several measures that conform with the prevalent social distancing norm of the epidemic. Given the social distancing observed by most of the groups, King River Resources has curtailed office attendance and face-to-face meetings while eliminating non-essential travel.
The Company currently favours working remotely with laboratories, consultants and advisors, as the Speewah Specialty Metals (SMM) Project lie in the PFS development stage. While the Company experienced little impact on productivity, the situation may change owing to the introduction of stricter protection protocols in laboratories and corporations.
Due to the wet season currently experienced by Northern Australia, where KRR’s major exploration assets are located, there have been no field activities. The Company does not plan any field activities until further government advice is provided regarding the pandemic and movements in Australia.
A Glimpse at Speewah Specialty Metals Project
Situated in Western Australia’s East Kimberley region, the wholly owned Speewah Specialty Metals Project hosts Australia’s largest vanadium-in-magnetite deposit with highest grade vanadium in the magnetite concentrate.
The project enjoys robust infrastructure characterised by Wyndham Port, sealed major highway, hydroelectric project and Ord River Dam. The project located approximately 110 kilometres of Kununurra has access to skilled labour.
Post the examination of several process routes; the Beneficiation-Agitated Tank Sulphuric Acid leaching precipitation process is currently being investigated through the PFS study. Studies and testwork are underway for producing co-products that include high purity alumina (99.99% Al2O3 4N HPA), titanium dioxide (>99% TiO2), vanadium pentoxide (>98% V2O5) and Iron oxide (>65% Fe2O3).
Significant PFS Focus Areas Progressing Well
Metallurgy and Process Flowsheet Development
At Nagrom in Perth, sulphuric acid leaching tests and beneficiation magnetic separation testwork are nearing completion. The testworks will deliver the final parameters for input into the PFS. Focused on producing a >99.99% high purity alumina (>4N HPA) product, hydrometallurgical refining testwork carried by TSW Analytica in Perth also aims to increase the final purification efficiencies. As per a report on 6 December 2019, a 99.98% Al2O3 HPA was produced.
Disruptions caused by the coronavirus protocols and some equipment issues have delayed the final steps, which are underway and will take longer than planned. However, other activities are unlikely to be impacted by the extended completion of testwork. Moreover, new ideas centred at potentially enhancing recovery efficiencies and reducing reagent consumptions are being investigated.
Process Plant Design and Costings
Work on the process plant is being progressed by Como Engineers and remains on track for delivery pending the final flowsheet parameters. The work would provide capital and operating cost estimates for the PFS.
Mining Study and Reserve Estimate
The initial pit optimisations, as well as pit designs for the HPA scenario, have been completed by ERM Group company, CSA Global. This week, the Company is due to complete the mining schedule and start on the mining cost estimate.
Environmental, Social and Permitting Study
For a smaller-scale HPA operation, Animal Plant Mineral is updating the social and environmental studies, which incorporate background studies into the permitting requirements for the project.
Each of these four areas critical for the PFS completion is well advanced. Following the completion of PFS, the Company envisages evaluating market conditions before speeding up towards completing a definitive feasibility study (DFS).
Although there exists uncertainty concerning the duration of economic slowdown, the HPA business demonstrates bright business prospects.
By the end of trading session on 24 March 2020, KRR stock closed at $0.020 per share, up by 11.111% intraday. The Company has a market capitalisation of $22.48 million.
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