- King River Resources has identified a more direct route to High Purity Alumina (HPA) production. The new leaching and refining route can be used on readily available aluminium (Al) chemical feedstocks derived from other industrial processes.
- The alternative and simpler production circuit does not require the development of associated mining, processing and logistical infrastructure up at the Company’s 100% owned Speewah Specialty Metals Project.
- King River Resources anticipates the Speewah PFS to be finalised in Q1 2021, requiring some additional metallurgical testwork and engineering.
- The recent HPA market report by CRU International supports strong demand and pricing of HPA in the future.
Australian exploration company King River Resources Limited (ASX: KRR) is ready to embrace a more direct path to complete a process design for High Purity Alumina (HPA) production. The new leaching and refining path can be directly utilised on an industrial aluminium chemical feedstock that is readily available.
The alternative path with fewer processes has been identified from the ongoing Speewah PFS testwork and studies. It would ensure a lower-risk and faster way to produce HPA. It comes as a significant development for the Company, which has been committed to progressing the PFS on its 100% owned Speewah Specialty Metals (SSM) Project in the East Kimberley of WA.
The decision to deliver the PFS now involves employing the Company’s HPA process while utilising aluminium chemical feedstocks derived from other industrial processes. With the change in the direction, the HPA operation would be stationed at an industrial estate instead of at Speewah.
Significantly, the new process route is expected to assist the Company in completing the PFS, fast-tracking HPA production and improving the business case. The decision follows the recent successful production of a high purity precursor compound from the industrial feedstock. The testwork is ongoing for further reducing impurity levels in the precursor compound and improving the HPA purity.
Benefits of Using Simpler Process Flowsheet
The alternative production circuit is a more straightforward process compared to the original process flow sheet and involves fewer purification steps. Furthermore, it does not require the development of a mining operation, acid plant, beneficiation plant, filtration, leach tanks, neutralisation, or tailings facilities.
The decision also overcomes the need for associated infrastructure such as haul road, borefield, accommodation camp and airstrip that are required for a remote mining operation. Additionally, it would involve less transport of products and reagents.
The preliminary CAPEX and OPEX costings lately delivered by Como Engineers for the Speewah processing plant and associated infrastructure conform to the expectations. The engineering study has unveiled the potential benefits of using the simpler process flowsheet based on an industrial chemical feedstock, including:
The HPA refining process as well as the industrial Al chemical feedstock and reagents utilised in the process are commercial-in-confidence.
Prefeasibility Study and Speewah HPA-V-Ti Project
As the Company advances to modify the PFS for delivering HPA via the alternative chemical feedstock, it would necessitate additional engineering, testwork and permitting studies. The modified PFS is now expected to be delivered in Q1 2021.
The new HPA development plan does not impede the future integration of the Company’s HPA process with a flowsheet for producing titanium and vanadium products. Meanwhile, given the strong demand forecast for grid battery storage and lithium-ion batteries, particularly in electric vehicles, its high time to produce high purity products utilised in green technologies.
While the Company sets its eyes on progressing the Speewah mine development testwork and studies, focus would be steered towards a broader range of battery metals and master alloy compounds.
KRR stock closed at $0.027 on 19 November 2020.