Ironbark Zinc Limited (ASX:IBG) plans further test work to determine the feasibility of extracting the treasured semiconductor germanium from within the ore body at the Citronen Zinc-Lead Project in Greenland.
While a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) report has not definitively proved the recoverability or payability of germanium, it shows that the tech metal is present in lead minerals.
The report indicates germanium is likely to report to the planned lead concentrate where it is likely to be concentrated.
Ironbark is assessing whether germanium can build value on the base metal project which hosts in excess of 13.1 billion pounds of zinc and lead.
SEM test work was commissioned to answer ongoing questions regarding the occurrence and nature of any potential germanium credits.
This work was unable to get a satisfactory explanation to explain ongoing assay discrepancies and poor repeatability from several laboratories.
In the current flow sheet, Ironbark produces a pyrite pre-float which is planned to be sent to the tailings.
The SEM report indicates that germanium is associated with the pyrite and that the germanium grades might potentially be payable.
Germanium is attracting interest owing to its increasing use in technology with the silicon germanium materials and devices market projected to grow to around $5.045 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 13.7%.
This growth is attributed to the increasing requirement for huge data transfer, high applicability in wireless communication systems and rising demand from the automotive sector for sophisticated sensors and radar systems.