VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 5, 2014) - I-Minerals Inc. (TSX VENTURE:IMA)(OTCQX:IMAHF) (the "Company") is pleased to announce it has received very favorable preliminary results from Ginn Mineral Technology (GMT) from pilot-scale work designed to optimize the process equipment separation techniques to increase the grade (concentration) of I-Minerals' halloysite product. Several gravity and density separation methods and a novel differential flotation technique were evaluated. All of the methods evaluated significantly increased the concentration of halloysite. The differential flotation process ultimately yielded halloysite concentrations in excess of 90% based upon visual estimations from Scanning Electron Micrographs (SEMs).
In late 2013 I-Minerals excavated a bulk sample of approximately seven tons of crude primary clay from a near surface area of Kelly's Hump identified during drilling in November 2013 (see I-Minerals press releases of October 2 and November 27, 2013). SEM work at the University of Idaho identified this area as containing strong halloysite concentrations within the primary clay that consists almost exclusively of K-feldspar, quartz, kaolinite, and halloysite. Upon receipt of the bulk sample in late 2013, GMT completed initial separations of the sand fraction (K-feldspar and quartz) and the clay fraction (kaolinite and halloysite). The sand fraction material has subsequently been shipped to Minerals Research Laboratory at North Carolina State University ("MRL") for separation and evaluation of the quartz and K-feldspar minerals.
After the initial pilot-scale trials separated the clay fraction, GMT undertook additional trials to separate and concentrate halloysite and kaolinite clay products. The halloysite concentration trials focused on three separation elements: (1) unique clay characteristics such as relative density and morphology, (2) processing equipment options and (3) critical physical and chemical processing parameters. A novel, differential flotation process was also developed that exploited halloysite's unique clay characteristics for optimized concentration.
Product samples derived from the trials were submitted to one of GMT's partners, The Georgia Tech Research Institute, for SEM analysis. The samples were prepared using a "wet-oriented" technique that allowed for more objective sample population viewing when compared to the regular dry preparation techniques. The wet dispersion allows the particles to be more oriented and discrete versus the dry preparation technique where particle agglomeration is more prevalent.
The SEM photos using the new wet process preparation demonstrated high quality and consistent concentrations of halloysite in the product using the gravity optimized processing configurations. The results from the differential flotation testing proved to be even better and yielded extremely high halloysite quality that exceeded 90% concentrations based on SEM estimations.
"Historic halloysite analysis by Durtec GmbH has indicated the halloysite from our Helmer-Bovill property has very low heavy metals content and one of the best aspect ratios of any halloysite tested," commented Thomas Conway, President and CEO of I-Minerals. "These latest result now indicates we can produce at pilot levels a high concentration product of one of the highest quality halloysites known. We believe these results open the door even wider for high value life sciences and polymer applications."
Work at GMT on this material is continuing in order to investigate options for product color enhancement, as well as producing another sample of metakaolin derived from the kaolinite product fraction. Going forward, the flotation processing technique will be further evaluated for implementation into the process flow scheme as a high grade product option.
Gin Mineral Research is a private research and development firm located in Sandersville, GA. They have mineral and technology expertise, with notable industrial mineral emphasis, in separation and dewatering technologies, particle sizing, surface chemistry, thermal processing, and pigment calcination.
A. Lamar Long, CPG, is a qualified person ("QP") for I-Minerals Inc. and has reviewed and approved the contents of this release.
In an unrelated matter, I-Minerals has completed the debt settlement agreement announced February 14, 2014, pursuant to which $215,439.20 of indebtedness was satisfied by the issuance of 1,001,112 common shares at a deemed price of $0.2152 per share, all of which shares are subject to a hold period in Canada until July 5, 2014.
I-Minerals is developing multiple deposits of high purity-high value halloysite, quartz, potassium feldspar and kaolin at its strategically located Helmer-Bovill property in western Idaho. A 2013 Prefeasibility Study completed by SRK Consulting (USA) Inc. highlights the potential of the Helmer-Bovill property: after tax NPV6 of $150 million; 28% IRR; 3 year payback and $67 million initial CAPEX; $84 million CAPEX including life of mine sustaining capital over a 26 year mine life. Ongoing development work is focused on upgrading the probable reserve to a proven reserve as the Company moves through the feasibility process towards production.
Thomas M. Conway, President & CEO
This News Release includes certain "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Without limitation, statements regarding potential mineralization and resources, exploration results, and future plans and objectives of the Company are forward looking statements that involve various risks. Actual results could differ materially from those projected as a result of the following factors, among others: changes in the world wide price of mineral market conditions, risks inherent in mineral exploration, risk associated with development, construction and mining operations, the uncertainty of future profitability and uncertainty of access to additional capital.
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