PNX Metals Limited (ASX: PNX) which was earlier known as Phoenix Copper Limited is a mining and exploration company primarily focused on precious and base metals. The company’s main focus is to progress on the Hayes Creek zinc-gold-silver project. It is also conducting brownfield and greenfield exploration in the Northern Territory with 4 mineral leases and 19 exploration licences from 4 wholly owned tenements
On 9th April 2019, the company announced that it has discovered a new process to materially increase gold and silver recoveries from the Iron Blow volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit. Hayes Creek zinc-gold-silver project which is situated in the Pine Creek region of the Northern territory is comprised of Fountain Head gold prospect, Mt Bonnie VMS deposit and Iron Blow.
The definitive feasibility study (DFS) will incorporate the recently completed optimisation test work as a new unit process which is designed to capture additional gold and silver from the Iron Blow float tails. Without this new unit process, this additional gold and silver would remain locked in the mineral lattice and therefore remain unrecoverable.
A newly trialled reagent (a substance used for chemical analysis) which specifically targeted the residual gold and silver in the rougher tails passed its first result of improved recoveries to a scavenger concentrate by 26.6% gold and 19.9% silver. This scavenger concentrate stream was then subjected to three hydrometallurgical processes (A technique involving aqueous chemistry for the recovery of metals from ores) which are intense cyanidation, ferric oxidation and pressure oxidation for extraction of gold and silver.
Out of the above mentioned three processes, intense cyanidation has achieved additional recoveries of precious metals to solution and then to doré of at least 10.7% gold and 17.0% silver. This is approximately equal to 13koz of gold and 1Moz silver over the life of mine at Iron Blow. This could potentially help the company to get a new revenue stream for the project.
Intense cyanidation has also the lowest capital requirement and operating cost. These costs typically only relate to minimal power and reagent usage and still needs to be finalised for incorporation in DFS. In Intense cyanidation process, high cyanide concentrations are applied to continuously leach the sulphides for an extended period of time to drive the gold/silver extraction from the solids into a liquor stream which is then electrowon to produce a gold/silver doré.
Hayes Creek DFS update
A successful Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) was conducted in July 2017. This PFS confirmed that the Hayes Creek Project is a favourable future high margin and low-cost zinc and precious metal mine that could help the company to create significant value for its shareholders. After this PFS success, DFS has re-commenced on the Hayes Creek Project. DFS is also expected to find opportunities to improve mine life, increase confidence in all aspects of the project and improve project economics.
On the technical front, the stock traded flat on ASX at A$0.006 as of 9th April 2019, (AEST: 1:01 PM). The last six months return of the stock is negative 33.3% while YTD return stands at negative 14.2%.
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