Element 25 Limited (ASX:E25) has successfully produced a commercial grade lump product through a simple beneficiation bulk sample test programme at the company’s 100% owned Butcherbird Manganese Project in Western Australia.
The successful flowsheet upgraded the ore by simple crushing, wet scrubbing, screening and ore-sorting to produce a high-grade concentrate.
Managing Director Justin Brown said this material is suitable for hydrometallurgical leaching and/or as a concentrate product with favourable impurity levels and excellent recoveries for a potential near-term export business.
“The fact that the Project might now have a low capital start up concentrate export stage to generate early cash-flow could be a game changer,” Mr Brown said,
With existing manganese mines in Australia past their peak and in decline, the Butcherbird Project has the potential to be a key player in Australian manganese production. This is a very exciting development.”
The sample test involved approximately 40 tonnes of near surface material was excavated from the Project site as feed for the upcoming pilot plant programme for the production of Electrolytic Manganese Metal (EMM)1.
The optimisation of the beneficiation circuit was targeted at maximising hydrometallurgical feed grade in order to minimise capital and operating costs.
Mr Brown said the test results exceeded expectations and the new data will be incorporated into the EMM Pre-Feasibility Study.
He said the optimised flow-sheet uses crushing, scrubbing, screening and high-speed ore sorting technology to reject waste material and increase the concentrate grade. The success of this approach highlighted an opportunity to produce a bulk manganese concentrate at a suitable manganese grade for direct export to provide early cash-flow to fund the overall Project development strategy.
The concentrate product returned favourable impurity levels and excellent recoveries of over 80%.
Mr Brown said market studies have confirmed that the concentrate grade and levels of deleterious elements are suitable for the production of ferromanganese and silicomanganese alloys. Additionally, there are a number of unique characteristics that may make this product suitable for premium niche markets.
A Pre-Feasibility level study is currently being prepared (PFSCON) to confirm the potential economics for a low capital ore export business as a start-up stage, to be completed in parallel with the ongoing PFS .
The Butcherbird Manganese Project is a world class manganese resource with current JORC resources in excess of 263 Mt of manganese ore.