Syrah Resources’ Balama testwork produces 96%+ graphite concentrate
This follows metallurgical testwork in September which showed that the magnetic vanadium bearing minerals can be concentrated to about 5% V2O5 by simple processing of the tailings from the graphite extraction process.
Metallurgical testing has commenced on converting Balama graphite to spherical graphite used in lithium ion batteries.
In addition, further vanadium tests also demonstrated that non-magnetic mineralisation – dominated by roscoelite – can be upgraded by 4-5 times to achieve a V2O5 concentrate grade of about 2–2.5% V2O5.
These tests also confirmed that magnetic separation can upgrade magnetic rich mineralisation to produce a concentrate with a V2O5 grade of between 4% and 5%.
Given that these recoveries are possible from the tailings of the graphitic recovery process, vanadium recovery represents an additional product to the planned operation with minimal additional processing costs.
Initial testwork on Balama mineralisation had showed that a concentrate grade in excess of 97%C was achieved with flotation recoveries of 87%.
A potential customer then tested samples of Balama graphite mineralisation in its facilities using simple flotation resulting in grades ranging from 96.16% to 98.62%.
Further large tonnages of outcropping mineralisation were sent to the lab for the purposes of obtaining a bulk sample of graphite product for marketing purposes.
This produced a concentrate grading 96.05% through simple flotation processes without the need for chemical washing.
No vanadium is present in the graphite concentrate. In addition, no uranium minerals have been identified by mineralogical work on Balama graphite and no uranium has been detected in the graphite concentrate.
Samples have now been sent to many potential customers for them to test in their processes.
Testing has also commenced on converting Balama graphite to spherical graphite used in lithium ion batteries. The current selling price for uncoated spherical graphite is approximately $3,500 per tonne.
Separately, the company had in August reported that initial vanadium testwork showed that it could be upgraded by over ten times using magnetic separation.
This was highlighted by a bulk sample of Balama Mualia mineralisation grading 0.46% V2O5 being upgraded to a V2O5 concentrate of 5.02% with recoveries of 75%.
All magnetic vanadium minerals such as ferro-vanadium magnetite, limonite and goethite were recovered with the remaining 25% of non-magnetic vanadium minerals reported to the tails.
Further tests have confirmed the magnetic separation results and has also resulted in the recovery of a V2O5 concentrate grading 2–2.5% from the non-magnetic mineralisation.
Syrah believes that this grade can be further improved on with optimisation work.
This is an impressive brace of testwork results logged at Balama,
that show a high grade concentrate could be produced using simple
flotation, which could result in substantially lower processing costs.
In addition, the potential to recover vanadium from the graphite tailings highlights the potential to boost cash flow at minimal additional cost.
Proactive Investors continues to see further upside value in the company given that its share price had quickly appreciated above our August 2013 target of between $2.40 and $2.50. It currently trades at $2.92.
The next price catalyst for Syrah is the upgraded resource due in around three weeks, and considering the impressive grade of the infill drilling, is expected to upgrade the confidence category to Indicated at the Ativa Zone area.
Following the upgrade, the next share price driver will be the Feasibility Study to be delivered based on the new resource and other additional data received over the past few months.
This is expected in around six weeks.
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