WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Nov 29, 2012) - Peak Resources Limited ("Peak" or "the Company") (ASX: PEK) (OTCQX: PKRLY), the developer of a potentially low cost, long term rare earth project in Tanzania, today announced that it has developed a process to physically upgrade the rare earth mineralization from its Ngualla Project in Tanzania, resulting in reduced capital and operating costs.
Using a combination of Wet High Gradient Magnetic Separation (WHGMS) and a specialized flotation regime, it has been successfully demonstrated that 38% of the plant feed can be rejected prior to acid leaching, resulting in only 5% loss in the rare earth content.
The beneficiation process, together with a simple sulphuric acid leach using acid produced on site, supports the Company's vision that its 100% owned project will be a low-cost, long term rare earth producer. The physical upgrade process will be included in the Scoping Study in December 2012.
Richard Beazley, Managing Director of Peak Resources said, "This achievement is a very important breakthrough by Peak's Technical Team. We have always said we intend to be a low cost producer and the physical upgrade will contribute significantly to achieving this. We have a high grade deposit, the mineralization is shallow, has excellent metallurgical characteristics. With this physical upgrade and the forthcoming Scoping Study, we believe Peak is very well placed to continue hitting our milestones."
Beneficiation tests were completed on a composite sample of mineralised intervals from diamond drill hole NDD007 within the highly weathered portion of the SREZ targeted for first production.
Detailed mineralogy undertaken using QEMSCAN techniques on coarse crushed and screened feed samples identify native mineral sizes and associations. Results show an intimate association between iron oxide and rare earth minerals (hematite and bastnaesite). The gangue minerals of barite and silica generally do not contain rare earth inclusions and have discrete grain boundaries with bastnaesite, indicating that grinding will separate these minerals.
Stereo microscope images of the feed mineralization after grinding to less than 106 microns clearly illustrate discrete separated particles of iron oxides, barite and silica (Figure 2).
The ground feed was subjected to wet magnetic separation (WHGMS) at increasing field strengths. The resulting non-magnetic stream was subjected to a program of flotation test work directed at recovering rare earth minerals whilst rejecting barite and silica. This process proved effective at rejecting the non-magnetic barite and silica fraction, which comprises 38% of the original feed but only 5% of the rare earths. The process is shown diagrammatically in Figure 1.
The successful proving of an effective beneficiation process that removes a significant proportion of feed mineralization with minimal loss of rare earths will reduce capital and operating costs by:
- Reducing the size of the onsite sulphuric acid plant and leaching circuit of the processing plant (lower capital costs), and
- Lower sulphuric acid consumption -- the major contributor to reagent and operating costs.
The beneficiation process enhances the economics of the Ngualla operation and will be included in the Ngualla Scoping Study, which is on track for completion by mid-December 2012.
Work is already in progress to further optimize this beneficiation process for input into feasibility studies due to commence in early 2013.
About Peak Resources
Peak is developing the Ngualla Project, a potentially low-cost, long term rare earth project located in south west Tanzania. Ngualla has been ranked as the fifth largest deposit in the world outside China, and the highest grade of the top seven.
Ngualla has a Mineral Resource of 170 million tonnes grading 2.24% of rare earth oxides (REO). Within the resource there is a highly weathered and near-surface zone estimated at 40 million tonnes at 4.07% REO, equivalent to 1.6 million tonnes of contained REO (see Table 1 below for resource classifications). Ngualla is also a bulk deposit which is largely outcropping. These attributes place the project among the world's most notable rare earth discoveries of recent years.
Ngualla is a potential low cost open pit mine due to its shallow outcropping high grade mineralization. The initial sighter metallurgical test work to date has been completed using a sulphuric acid leach process route suggesting a relatively less complex, potentially cheaper capital outlay and shorter time to production.
Safe Harbor Statement
The information in this document has been prepared as of October 15, 2012. Certain statements contained in this document constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and forward looking information under the provisions of Canadian provincial securities laws. When used in this document, the words "anticipate," "expect," "estimate," "forecast," "will," "planned," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements or information.
Such statements include without limitation: statements regarding timing and amounts of capital expenditures and other assumptions; estimates of future reserves, resources, mineral production, optimization efforts and sales; estimates of mine life; estimates of future internal rates of return, mining costs, cash costs, minesite costs and other expenses; estimates of future capital expenditures and other cash needs, and expectations as to the funding thereof; statements and information as to the projected development of certain ore deposits, including estimates of exploration, development and production and other capital costs, and estimates of the timing of such exploration, development and production or decisions with respect to such exploration, development and production; estimates of reserves and resources, and statements and information regarding anticipated future exploration; the anticipated timing of events with respect to the Company's minesites and statements and information regarding the sufficiency of the Company's cash resources. Such statements and information reflect the Company's views as at the date of this document and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements and information. Many factors, known and unknown could cause the actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward looking statements and information. Such risks include, but are not limited to: the volatility of prices of gold and other metals; uncertainty of mineral reserves, mineral resources, mineral grades and mineral recovery estimates; uncertainty of future production, capital expenditures, and other costs; currency fluctuations; financing of additional capital requirements; cost of exploration and development programs; mining risks; community protests; risks associated with foreign operations; governmental and environmental regulation; the volatility of the Company's stock price; and risks associated with the Company's by-product metal derivative strategies. For a more detailed discussion of such risks and other factors that may affect the Company's ability to achieve the expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements contained in this document, see the Company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2011, as well as the Company's other filings with the Canadian Securities Administrators and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements and information. Marc Legault, a Qualified Person and the Company's Vice-President, Project Development, reviewed the technical information disclosed herein. For a detailed breakdown of the Company's reserve and resource position see the July 18th, 2012 press release on the Company's website. That press release also lists the Qualified Persons for each project.