FinnAust Mining has revealed significant advances in optimising the metallurgical processes required to produce an ilmenite concentrate from the Pituffik titanium project in Greenland.
- Successful test work demonstrates ability to produce a gravity-separated concentrate that compares favourably against existing 'hard rock' sources of ilmenite.
- Highly efficient separation achieved capable of maintaining a commercially pure, high-grade concentrate.
- Expected to positively affect capital and operating requirements moving forward.
- Overall composition indicates the ilmenite should be readily soluble in sulphuric acid at high process efficiency making it suitable for all digestion process options.
- All chemical analysis shows a consistent ilmenite composition across entire Project area. Elements that could adversely impact final pigment quality, particularly whiteness and yellowness, are at least comparable to existing commercial products.
- Radioactive components and acid insoluble minerals are better than industry benchmarks for sulphate ilmenite.
- Sulphate process production of titanium dioxide is anticipated to be the key growth driver for the consumption of ilmenite ores in the coming years.
- Further optimisation of the mineral separation flowsheet is expected to achieve material suitable for the chloride slag process.
- Work continues towards determining the Pituffik resource potential - maiden JORC resource expected later this year ahead of commencing bulk sampling in 2017.
FinnAust chief executive Roderick McIllree said: "This is a big step forward in proving the commercial viability of Pituffik; metallurgical test work has shown that by using a simple gravity step we can produce a product that compares very favourably to ilmenite produced in hard rock mines. Hard rock ilmenite projects require significant capital investment however in the case of Pituffik mechanical erosion has done all the work for us. This is expected to result in some compelling economics for the project.
"This development further strengthens our view that Pituffik represents a potential source of globally traded primary ilmenite requiring a small implementation footprint allowing for rapid development.
"The resource for Pituffik is expected in the next three to four months at which point we will quantify how much material we have. This will mark a significant milestone in terms of proving the Project's potential.
"The Company now intends to review the mechanics of moving to 100% ownership of Bluejay Mining Limited (and hence Pituffik) on the back of this very positive development. This is a move that is in all shareholders best interests and we look forward to keeping the market updated with our progress in due course."
At 9:50am: (LON:FAM) FinnAust Mining Plc share price was +0.33p at 7.33p