Australian miner expects reduced capital and operating cost estimates on Opuwo project following successful testwork
Australian mining company, Celsius Resources this week said that metallurgical test work has identified a number of opportunities that could significantly reduce operating and capital costs for the planned down-stream cobalt/copper refinery, to be integrated into the overall development of the Opuwo Cobalt Project.
The company in a statement on the SENS platform said that flotation testwork conducted as part of the Scoping Study has achieved improvements in concentrate grade and metal recovery percentages, whilst successive iterations of the leaching testwork have had the effect of significantly reducing the expected operating costs, owing to a higher concentrate feed into the process, and utilising a reduction in required leaching intensity.
According to the announcement, opportunities for further metallurgical process improvements have also been identified, which are expected to allow further beneficial iterations to capital and operating cost estimates.
“To fully evaluate these opportunities, some further metallurgical test work will be performed by SGS Perth over the next 8 weeks. Upon completion of this additional metallurgical test work, the process mass balance model will be updated, which will form the basis of plant sizing and capital and operating cost estimates across both the concentrate and refinery processes for inclusion in the Scoping Study, which is now expected to be completed early in Q4, CY2018,” the statement read.
Celsius Project Director, Pine van Wyk said, “Celsius is excited by the potential positive impact of significantly reduced operating costs that our metallurgical test work has identified, which may also have positive implications for capital costs.”
Van Wyk said the process improvements that the company is investigating will not only have a positive impact on costs but will also potentially reduce the cut-off mining grades and thereby allow an enhanced mine design.
“The Opuwo Cobalt Project is of such a size and global significance that it warrants sufficient study time to ensure an overall optimised project design is achieved,” he said.
Meanwhile, further exploration drilling undertaken since Celsius reported its maiden JORC Mineral Resource for the Opuwo Cobalt Project on 16 April 2018 has continued to expand the mineralised zone. The drilling has focussed on resource expansion in the western and central zones and is expected to provide data for a future upgrade to the Mineral Resource.