Forsys Metals’ uranium recovery increases
Uranium exploring company Forsys have reported positive metallurgical results for the Norasa Valencia Projects. According to a report by SGS South Africa (Pty) Ltd (SGS) overall uranium recovery increased to 91.3% from 85.0%, while leach acid consumption decreased by 36.8% to 31.5% sighting a decrease due to insufficient iron in ore. Zero iron addition required in leach once steady state operation achieved due to iron in ore being sufficient.
The report also indicates a 36% reduction in the filtration area, a 22% and 20% drop in the number of belt filters and NIMCIX parallel trains respectively was also identified. “The completion of the SGS report is an important milestone towards completing the feasibility study and the development of the Norasa project,” said Chief Executive Officer of Forsys Marcel Hilmer. “We expect that these outstanding results will translate into lower operating costs and reduced plant complexity. Our expectation is that the integration of these metallurgical study outcomes in the FS will result in improved economics for the Norasa Uranium Project. “We are also very pleased to confirm that we remain on target to complete the feasibility study in the first quarter of 2015 whilst remaining within budget Completion of a satisfactory feasibility study would allow the board to consider feasible alternatives for financing the development of the Norasa Uranium Project, Hilmer added. A primary objective achieved by the metallurgical test work carried out by SGS confirmed the leach reagent requirements, especially ferrous ion addition and the impact of barren liquor recycle, in a locked cycle pilot campaign. Other objectives achieved included a determination of leach extraction, leached slurry filtration performance, slurry settling performance, leach slurry viscosity and optimization of ion exchange performance. The test work identified that considerable benefit could be achieved by the use of hydrogen peroxide as leach oxidant instead of pyrolusite. Not only did the tests show that less oxidant was required but that lower acid consumption could also be achieved. The overall acid demand for leaching and IX regeneration is now 37% lower at 12 kg/t ore for continuous operation conditions. The tests also confirmed that iron addition (usually in the form of ferrous ion) was not required as sufficient iron was present in the ore to provide the required levels for uranium leaching. A series of filtration tests confirmed that 36% less filter area was required for the horizontal belt filters to achieve final cake moisture content of 15% to 16%. The final metal recovery from the filters of nearly 100% was achieved with a wash ratio of 0.454 m/t solids. Other test work completed as part of this program included the ion exchange breakthrough curve bulk leaches slurry settling performance tests, leach slurry viscosity tests. Near term feasibility study milestones include, updating the capital cost for the process plant to incorporate the positive results from optimization studies and updating plant operating costs to reflect an optimized flow sheet that reduces production complexity and input costs.