OD6 Metals (ASX:OD6) is tackling more processing optimisation work at its Splinter Rock Rare Earth Element (REE) Project in Western Australia as fresh metallurgical test results pave the way for ‘attractive’ processing economics.
The company says recent metallurgical testing conducted by Australian Nuclear Science Organisation (ANSTO) confirmed low hydrochloric acid (HCI) consumption, as well as an average 61% magnet rare earths oxide (MagREO) recovery, ranging between 43% and 87%, at 20 grams per litre (g/l) HCI.
Further, the results from the test program and previous work conducted by OD6 show that using a fusion digest assay technique can increase head grade by up to 30% over a 4-acid leach assay. This extra grade, however, is ‘highly unlikely’ to be recoverable in the proposed processing flowsheet.
Looking ahead, OD6, which has a market capitalisation of $17.41 million, plans to announce the metallurgical leach performance of upgraded concentrate fractions following screening at 75 micrometres (μm) before the end of the month.
The company also expects metallurgical recovery and acid consumption results from phase two drilling conducted in February this year during Q4 2023.
Meanwhile, metallurgical recovery and acid consumption results from phase three drilling conducted in August will be returned during Q1 2024.
OD6 Metals Managing Director Brett Hazelden says the results are ‘very positive’, validating the company’s proposed processing route and highlighting confidence in future potential process economics.
“This represents a key value lever as we continue to tick all the major boxes that pave the way for project development success.
As part of future development planning, we have engaged vendors and experts on potentially owning and operating a site-based chlor-alkali facility. Initial discussions suggest this route can provide the lowest ongoing operating cost over time, which is important, as we envisage Splinter Rock growing to a multigenerational project, powered by low-operating-cost renewable energy sources.
“we envisage Splinter Rock growing to a multigenerational project, powered by low-operating-cost renewable energy sources”
We continue to focus on identifying the best-of-the-best prospect areas, with our methodical and disciplined approach in conjunction with the research and development relationship with ANSTO, already yielding notable technical benefits.”
OD6 says future potential commercial production of REEs is ‘significantly’ improved through the ‘successful’ leaching of both ionic and acid soluble REEs.
The ‘positive’ acid consumptions and recoveries, combined with ‘high-grades’, low stripping ratios, and ‘substantial’ tonnages, give the company confidence in key economic drivers.
OD6 expects metallurgical testing and mineralogy assessments at ANSTO to be available during Q4 this year, and upon receiving these results, a review and potential Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) upgrade will be undertaken in Q1 next year, as previously announced in the company’s latest quarterly report.
OD6 Metals is a critical minerals-focused explorer and developer with assets in the Western Australian Esperance-Goldfields region.
As of 30 September 2023, the company had about $2 million cash at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.
Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au
Images: OD6 Metals