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Arafura Resources on track for Nolans reserves boost as tests validate additional material

The upside case production schedule implied by test results could extend the processing life of the project and improve economic outcomes.

Arafura Resources Ltd - Arafura Resources on track for Nolans reserves boost as tests validate additional material
A flotation test being carried out at the Nagrom mineral processing facility in Perth

Arafura Resources Limited (ASX:ARU) is set to increase ore reserves at Nolans Bore deposit within Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project in the Northern Territory after tests supported the incorporation of additional material.

Flotation variability tests have validated the beneficiation performance of additional Nolans Bore mineralised material which was previously excluded from ore reserves for the Nolans project.

These were carried out after recent drilling provided additional samples to expand the company’s metallurgical variability program.

Offer funds programs

The metallurgical and drilling programs were highlighted in the use of funds from the recently completed fully underwritten $23.2 million entitlement offer.

Arafura’s primary objective with these programs is to increase the mine life of the Nolans project beyond 23 years.

Core samples from three of the five shallow holes drilled across the Southeast Zone of the deposit augmented samples selected from previous diamond core drilling campaigns.

Flotation test program

These formed the basis of the flotation variability program which was undertaken during October at the Nagrom mineral processing facility in Perth.

Fourteen samples of mineralised Material Type 5A2 were tested in the current and previous programs.

Previous programs had not provided sufficient flotation tests to enable the material to be classified as ore and included in the Nolans’ ore reserves.

A 5A2 drill core sample for the flotation variability program.

In addition, 11 samples of Material Type 5A1 that had already been classified as ore were also tested across both programs to increase the confidence level in the prediction of beneficiation performance from the geometallurgical model.

Material will be included

These flotation tests performed in line with expectations from a phosphate flotation perspective.

This work, together with an evaluation of rare earth recovery and impurity deportment data, gives Arafura the required confidence to adjust the geometallurgical model to now include 5A2 material.

The updated geometallurgical model will be the foundation of a new estimate of ore reserves for the Nolans Project.

This outcome is expected to be reported during the first quarter of 2020.

Upside scenario

The implication is that a substantial proportion of the 8.7 million tonnes of 5A2 material that was forecast in the project’s DFS to be stockpiled during mining has potential to be processed and in so doing converted to ore reserves.

This scenario was described in the DFS as an upside case production schedule which could extend the processing life of the project and improve project economic outcomes.

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