Astro Resources NL (ASX:ARO) metallurgical test-work on a 2.6-tonne bulk sample from West Deposit of its Governor Broome Project has produced heavy mineral concentrate in the wet concentrator using conventional mineral sands processing equipment.
During the trial, the metallurgical performance of the material from the West Deposit was assessed using full-scale gravity concentration spirals in a four-stage circuit.
Processing of the sand fraction (-2mm +0.045mm) generated during the first part of the trial demonstrated that a concentrate containing valuable heavy minerals can successfully be produced with minimal recovery losses.
The low-density gangue minerals in the sand fraction (-2mm +0.045mm) were successfully rejected to tails producing a heavy mineral concentrate containing 98% heavy mineral.
“On road to economic viability”
The company expects the final results of the 2.6-tonne bulk sample trial will be available next month.
Astro chairman Jacob Khouri said: “The results provided from the Governor Broome metallurgical test-work demonstrate that we are on the strong road to economic viability of the project.
“Particularly pleasing is the recovery of a clean ilmenite concentrate.
“Further process test-work on the recovery of the high-value products zircon and altered ilmenite is underway and we look forward to reporting the full results of the metallurgical test-work during April.”
Dry processing underway
The heavy mineral concentrate is undergoing further testing to evaluate the metallurgical response of the valuable heavy minerals, through a dry mineral separation circuit using conventional separation equipment.
Final products produced will enable an assessment of their indicative quality.
Dry processing test-work completed to date has demonstrated that a primary ilmenite product containing 51% TiO2 and low in impurities could be isolated using conventional mineral separation equipment.
Test-work is ongoing with work underway to characterise additional potential zircon, altered ilmenite, and garnet products.
Governor Broome HM deposits.
Updated scoping study
Results of the test-work program will provide information relating to the mineral recoveries and product quality which will be used to complete an updated scoping study for Governor Broome later this year.
The updated scoping study (from Astro’s previous 2018 and 2019 scoping study assessments) is required due to the project’s indicated resources in the North Deposit increasing from 30 million tonnes at 4.9% HM to a total of 52 million tonnes at 4.6% HM.
Astro aims to commence the scoping study as soon as possible.