Beneficiation Success Enhances Ngualla Rare Earth Project Economics
March 6, 2012 (Source: Peak Resources) — Peak Resources Limited (Peak; ASX: PEK; OTCQX: PKRLY), is pleased to report further improvements to beneficiation processes for the Ngualla Rare Earth Project in Tanzania. The ability to concentrate mineralisation at an early stage prior to acid leach recovery will have a significant and positive impact on costs and support Peak’s target to be a low cost producer.
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- The optimisation of the beneficiation process effectively reduces the mass of feed to be treated by the acid leach recovery process by 43% compared to the scoping study assumptions. This will lead to significantly lower capital and operating costs for the operation.
- The latest test work shows that conventional magnetic separation and flotation techniques reduce the mass of the feed mineralisation by 78% through the rejection of relatively unmineralised barite and iron oxides.
- Reducing the amount of material processed at the acid leach recovery stage has a significant impact on operating costs by reducing sulphuric acid consumption – the major constituent of reagent costs. The scoping study completed in early December 2012 estimated that the acid plant and acid leach recovery circuit make up 53% of total operating costs.
- The reduction in volume treated will also reduce capital costs as a smaller plant will be required for the same amount of product. The acid leach recovery circuit and the acid plant together constitute 27% of total project capital costs as estimated in the scoping study.
- The beneficiation process increases the grade of the feed over 3 fold from 5.3% REO* to 16.9% REO for this composite sample.
*REO=total rare earth oxide
The cost reductions will be quantified in a revision of the scoping study and economic assessment to be completed in Q2 2013. The revised study will also use a new optimised mine schedule based on the new Mineral Resource estimate and model that is on schedule for completion by the end of March 2013.
Peak Resources Managing Director Richard Beazley said “Ngualla continues to improve with each milestone. We are already in the lower quartile in terms of operating costs, and also have one of the lowest capital costs of any rare earth project. This new test work will allow us to reduce costs even further and supports our assertion that Ngualla is the most commercially attractive rare earth project around.”
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