King River Resources is continuing to refine the feasibility study over its immense Speewah Dome high purity alumina project in the Kimberley region of WA, with recent developments including the streamlining of the HPA circuit to develop a product for use in technological applications.
The Speewah Dome project is located 110 kilometres south west of Kununurra on the eastern margin of the Kimberley block in Western Australia. The project covers over 650 square kilometres of the Speewah Dome which the company says plays host to Australia’s largest vanadiferous titanomagnetite deposit. Speewah tips the scales at a colossal 4.7 billion tonnes at 0.3 percent vanadium pentoxide, 3.3 per cent titanium oxide and 14.7 per cent iron.
Despite the significant vanadium-titanium-iron endowment at Speewah, King River has pivoted to focus on the considerable amount of alumina that is also contained within the deposit – a product that is increasingly in demand given its myriad of uses in things like lithium-ion batteries, LED lights and mobile phones to name a just a few.
The deposit contains high levels of both alumina and magnesium, with the alumina content weighing in at around 12.5 per cent and it is the high purity alumina or “HPA” product that will take centre stage in the company’s upcoming PFS.
King River has already ticked many of the PFS boxes, with expert consultants, CSA global and Como Engineers having already tabled their respective mining and engineering studies.
The company’s ongoing program of test work is continuing to deliver a raft of efficient solutions to the HPA processing circuit.
Recent hydrometallurgical work has delivered a number of improvements to the planned processing path including the simplification of the purification circuit to produce a HPA precursor that utilises only ‘Crystallisation’. This innovation eliminates the need for a secondary ion exchange circuit and delivers substantial cost savings across the entire mining cycle through improved recoveries and reduced mining and processing rates.
King River has now turned its attention the next stage of the circuit with test work on the calcination of the HPA precursor at 1200 degrees Celsius to create a ‘4N’ HPA product at 99.99 percent pure alumina. This 4N product has a range of high-end uses that include a range of emerging technologies including LED lighting and lithium-ion battery separator applications.
Initial analysis of the Speewah HPA product indicates that calcination has been successful in converting the alumina into a stable ‘alpha’ quality HPA product that is suitable for use in these products.
King River’s ongoing PFS is now entering the home straight with the hydrometallurgical program now focused on the calcination of bulk samples to resolve contamination issues and mimic potential larger scale production. Additionally, a reworking of the mining studies and engineering is being undertaken to incorporate the reduction in the mining and processing volumes due to the simplification of the HPA circuit.
The company plans to release a completed PFS as soon as the final testing and study revisions have been received. In addition, King River is looking at alternative feed sources for it’s innovative HPA technology with a view to potentially developing a stand-alone HPA plant in Perth. This pivot in production planning would reduce the company’s capital and permitting requirements in the Kimberley and eliminate the need for an acid plant adjacent to the developing Speewah operations.
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