King River (ASX:KRR) sharpens focus on critical minerals with Speewah project progress

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King River (ASX:KRR) sharpens focus on critical minerals with Speewah project progress

 King River (ASX:KRR) sharpens focus on critical minerals with Speewah project progress
Image source: Company website

Highlights

  • High purity alumina or HPA has been included in the list of Critical Minerals by the Australian government.
  • HPA is used in lithium-ion batteries as a coating material for battery separators.
  • King River plans to produce 4N HPA and 5N Precursors using its proprietary ARC HPA process.
  • The Company’s Speewah Speciality Metals Project has significant potential for high-grade vanadium, titanium and iron.

With demand for battery minerals heating up on the back of the overwhelming popularity of electric vehicles, the Australian Government has placed high purity alumina (HPA) in the Critical Minerals list.

Alumina and silica have made it to the list as these commodities are used in a variety of technologies, including Li-ion batteries and semiconductors.

Related read: King River Resources’ (ASX:KRR) HPA project gathers steam with recent developments

The addition to the critical minerals’ list will open new opportunities for the companies engaged in exploration, extraction, processing and manufacturing of the end products, which in turn will strengthen Australia’s position in the supply chain of these critical minerals.

Interestingly, King River Resources’ (ASX:KRR) Speewah Project holds a unique reputation for hosting three minerals, which are on the Australian government’s critical minerals list: HPA, vanadium and titanium.

What makes Speewah Project so significant?

The Speewah Project has grown into a world-class deposit over the last decade. The Central deposit has a resource of 1,240Mt with 0.31% V2O5, 3.3% TiO2, 14.6% Fe, 12.5% Al2O3, and 4.7 % MgO. The project’s total mineral resource is estimated at around 4,712Mt.

In late 2019, KRR commenced a new technical study on its Speewah Specialty Metals deposits, located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The Prefeasibility Study (PFS) discovered a hydrometallurgical method to extract an aluminium-rich compound from the mineral concentrates.

Recent development: King River (ASX:KRR) recovers 92% vanadium from maiden Speewah deposit testwork

In late 2020, the company tested its new ARC process method using widely available aluminium chemical feedstocks, which resulted in a lower-risk and more simplified path to commercial viability for the HPA Project, which is independent of the Speewah Specialty Metals Project. ARC stands for Aluminium chemical feedstock, Recrystallisation for purification, and Calcination.

With global demand for critical minerals on the rise, their global supply looks uncertain due to the market, technical and commercial risks of critical minerals projects. Several countries are trying to source dependable supplies of vital minerals.

Thanks to Australia's significant essential mineral deposits, technical competence, and track record as a reliable and responsible mining player, the sector can respond to market demand quickly; the government’s recent approach in the sector is also the evidence of these facts.

The government’s long-term strategy amid rising global demand is to build a vibrant and long-lasting Australian critical minerals sector that contributes to the national security and economic success.

King River collaborates with Murdoch University to develop new process flow sheet

The Hydrometallurgy Research Group at Murdoch University is carrying out metallurgical testworks to design a new process flow sheet to produce high-grade V2O5, vanadium electrolyte, titanium dioxide and metallic iron.

Related read: King River Resources’ (ASX:KRR) ‘green’ process flowsheet to focus on speciality metals at Speewah

Vanadium is used in steel production and as an electrolyte in vanadium redox flow batteries, while titanium oxide is a key ingredient for the paint industry. Also, titanium is used to prepare several alloys.

Samples of VTM concentrate inside the furnace at 1000-1200°C

(Image source: Company update of 10 May 2022)

Type 1 Precursor testwork to produce high purity alumina

For HPA, King River is working on a laboratory pilot plant as part of the ongoing Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the Type 1 Precursor Production plant.

The Company is working with Source Certain International (SCI) to carry out the testworks to confirm and optimise the ARC process. SCI has managed to attain >99.999% purity of Precursor 1 during the recent campaign.

King River continues the laboratory testwork for the production of critical minerals to access various options to reduce capital and operating costs.

Related read: King River Resources (ASX:KRR) repeats high-purity Type 1 precursor results, shares jump     

In essence, King River Resources is committed to commercialising the opportunities in the critical metals space in a way that maximises the return on investment for its shareholders.

KRR shares were trading at AU$0.023 midday on 24 May 2022.

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