Rare earth element developer Greenland Minerals has chosen leading Chinese technical group BTMR Laboratories to supervise the optimisation of its Kvanefjeld project ore flotation circuit in southern Greenland, based on recent work showing recoveries above 80% and concentrate grades exceeding 22% rare earth oxide. The encouraging metallurgical results are likely to materially reduce operating and capital expenditure requirements at the massive project.
ASX listed rare earth element developer Greenland Minerals says that recent flotation circuit test work completed by China’s BTMR Laboratories is likely to reduce both operating and capital expenditure requirements at its massive Kvanefjeld project located on the southern tip of Greenland.
Recent work by the Chinese group has optimised the metallurgical flowsheet for the Kvanefjeld ore stream, leading to recoveries in excess of 80% and impressive concentrate grades above 22% rare earth oxide content.
This is well above the 14% rare earth oxide concentrate grade used in Greenland’s Kvanefjeld Feasibility Study and bodes well for the operation’s future economic performance.
The company has now selected BTMR to complete technical optimisation work to de-risk the project’s flotation circuit design, using the simpler project configurations that have been developed and tested, and to commence larger-scale pilot plant test work for processing of the Kvanefjeld ore composites this year.
BTMR previously played a key role in the technical overhaul of the Mountain Pass rare earth operation in southern California in the US, under guidance from Shenghe Resources, who is also the strategic partner and major shareholder of Greenland.
In effect, the optimised flotation circuit test work completed by BTMR has resulted in a number of major simplifications, including the ability to operate plant consistently over a broad temperature range, which is critical for the proposed operation located near the Arctic Circle.
In addition, BTMR has significantly reduced reagent consumption by improving the water chemistry of the circuit and removing 80% of the fluorine content of the process water.
This has been achieved without an increase in CAPEX expenditure for the proposed flotation circuit configuration and will also lead to positive impacts on environmental management at the project.
The optimisation has led to the elimination of regrinding and de-sliming circuits at Kvanefjeld, which will reduce both capital and operating costs at the mine.
The test work will also provide Greenland with a greater flexibility to implement the project and increase efficiency in refining mineral ore concentrates to better match off-take partners’ specifications.
Company Managing Director John Mair said: “The progress made through 2018 on technical optimisation was excellent, with extensive test work completed in both Australia and China. Shenghe’s experience, along with the leading technical input of their consultants has led to significant improvements in flotation performance.”
“Importantly, these efforts will fast‐track and further de‐risk project implementation and avoid operational issues encountered by some producing rare earth operations in their start up years.”
“The optimisation program has resulted in developing the simplest, most efficient flotation circuit possible while minimising impacts.”