TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 8, 2013) - PhosCan Chemical Corp. (TSX:FOS) ("PhosCan" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an update of activities at the Martison Phosphate Project.
As described in the Company's previous press releases, both niobium and rare earth mineralization are associated with the main phosphate component of the Martison deposit and offer by-product possibilities. The niobium and rare earths are contained in two distinct materials: an iron oxide laterite cap overlying the main phosphate zone called residuum and flotation tailings or waste streams remaining after phosphate is recovered from the residuum. PhosCan has conducted most of its work during 2012 on niobium occurring in the flotation tailings. It carried out extensive metallurgical studies to verify previous work and to determine if niobium can be profitably recovered from the tailings. The Company also completed 15 holes totalling 1,947 metres of sonic drilling during the winter of 2011-2012. This drilling recovered 13 tonnes of material representing the phosphate zone targeted for open pit mining, for further metallurgical studies on a larger scale. During the course of the sonic drilling an independent program of test drilling and pumping tests, coupled with down-the-hole seismic surveys, was completed to evaluate the hydrogeology of the proposed open pit area. This work allowed an assessment to be made of pumping and other requirements necessary to contain the inflow of water into the pit and the estimated operating and capital costs thereof.
Metallurgical Studies of Flotation Tailings
The purpose of the program was to develop a beneficiation flowsheet to recover niobium bearing minerals from the waste streams produced by the phosphate recovery process, and to concentrate them into a product of sufficient purity to permit the production of ferro-niobium, a valuable steel additive. The beneficiation program, conducted during the period of March 2011 - December 2012, was carried out using the laboratory facilities of SGS Mineral Services, Vancouver, BC and was later transferred to Eriez Flotation Division, Erie, PA.
Optimization of the niobium recovery methodology proved very challenging and resulted in a process that incorporated a dual reagent scheme with a magnetic separation step mid process. This approach resulted in a final concentrate that assayed 50% Nb2O5 with a recovery of 21% based on the head-sample (or run-of-mine) values. Further work will aim to recover additional niobium in minerals lost in all waste streams created during the processing of run-of-mine material into phosphate and niobium concentrates. Recently completed high-precision mineralogical studies of these several waste streams have identified two which with further treatment may increase niobium recoveries.
Even at the modest niobium recovery obtained so far, preliminary internal add-on capital and operating cost analyses are sufficiently encouraging to justify more work to validate niobium as a viable by-product.
Harold Wyslouzil, P. Eng, is the qualified person responsible for the supervision of the technical information in this news release.
PhosCan currently has cash and cash equivalents, plus short term investments of approximately $60 million. The Company continues to monitor economic conditions for attractively priced acquisitions and investment opportunities that would be accretive to shareholder value.
Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of PhosCan, including, but not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, volatility of financial markets and commodity prices, risks associated with the uncertainty of exploration results and estimates and that the resource potential will be achieved on development projects, results of future metallurgical testing, currency fluctuations, dependence upon regulatory approvals, and the uncertainty of obtaining additional financing. Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements.