19/11/2020 - 16:45

King River progresses HPA production path

19/11/2020 - 16:45

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King River Resources has elected to shift its strategic focus to its own recently identified leaching and refining process, utilising readily available aluminium chemical feedstocks, in what it says is a lower risk and faster path toward High Purity Alumina production. King River’s recent lab testing has now confirmed the production of a high-purity precursor compound suitable for calcining into HPA.

King River drilling at the Speewah Dome, Kimberley Region, WA. Credit: Bulls N’ Bears

King River Resources has decided to shift its strategic focus firmly in the direction of its own recently identified leaching and refining process, utilising readily available aluminium chemical feedstocks.

In what it says is a lower risk and faster path toward High Purity Alumina, or “HPA” production, King River’s recent lab testing has now confirmed the production of a high-purity precursor compound suitable for calcining into HPA.

Whilst the simpler flowsheet offers fewer process and development risks; its main benefit is savings in capital and operating costs.  The savings will now be built into a PFS focussing solely on HPA production from aluminium chemical feedstocks derived from other industrial processes. Further savings will likely come from a processing plant sited at an industrial park in Perth, or another city, rather than at a future mine site for the Speewah Dome deposit in the Kimberly region, of north Western Australia.

The most recent alternative production circuit comes out of its Speewah PFS test work, looking to deliver a precursor for a 4N HPA product at 99.99 per cent pure alumina.  The new flowsheet is simpler and can use locally sourced feedstock without the need for the investment in associated mining, processing and logistical infrastructure up at Speewah Dome’s base in WA’s Kimberley region.

In support of its strategic shift to initially develop a lower cost, industrial HPA production business, King River cited a recent HPA market report compiled by CRU International which noted a strong future demand and pricing forecast for HPA.

Earlier this week the company said Como Engineers had delivered the preliminary costings for the Speewah processing plant and associated infrastructure, which are in line with expectations.

The engineering study has highlighted the potential benefits of utilising the simpler process flowsheet based on an industrial chemical feedstock.  Key outcomes from the study included fewer process steps, leading to capital and operating cost savings due to less need for plant and equipment.

King River’s refining process and the industrial aluminium chemical feedstock and reagents used in the process are all considered by the company to be commercial-in-confidence.

King River said it still had some additional metallurgical testing and engineering work to do to finalise the fast-tracked HPA production PFS however it expects to table the PFS during the first quarter of 2021.

With 4N HPA used in a range of emerging technologies from mobile phones and LED lighting to lithium-ion batteries, it is not hard to see why every HPA hopeful is chasing down the most economical route to HPA production.

The company said the Speewah mine development test work and studies will continue, but its focus will shift towards a broader range of battery metals and master alloy compounds.

The Speewah Dome project is located 110 kilometres south-west of Kununurra on the eastern margin of the Kimberley.  According to King River, the project hosts Australia’s largest vanadiferous titanomagnetite deposit, weighing in at 4.7 billion tonnes at 0.3 per cent vanadium pentoxide, 3.3 per cent titanium oxide and 14.7 per cent iron.

In something of an unusual twist, the deposit contains high levels of both alumina and magnesium which will eventually be used to create HPA.

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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