Horizonte Minerals Plc: Positive Metallurgical Testwork Results For The Vermelho Nickel Cobalt Project
LONDON, March 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Horizonte Minerals Plc, (AIM: HZM, TSX: HZM) (‘Horizonte’ or ‘the Company’) the nickel development company focussed in Brazil, is pleased to announce positive results from metallurgical and smelting test work on the Vermelho nickel cobalt project, located in the southern part of the Carajás mining district in Pará state, northern Brazil.
- Tests of Vermelho saprolite samples returned an average ferronickel grade of 31.8% nickel;
- The ferro nickel product was of high quality, being low in trace elements and meeting the commercial requirement of stainless-steel manufacturers;
- The results confirm the suitability of the conventional Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace (“RKEF”) for processing Vermelho saprolite ore.
Horizonte CEO Jeremy Martin said, “We are pleased to report the test work has confirmed that it is possible to produce high grade, commercial specification ferronickel from the saprolite and transition ore at Vermelho. These results confirm the suitability of the proposed conventional Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace (“RKEF”) process selected for the Company’s Araguaia ferronickel project is also suitable for processing Vermelho ore. In parallel the test work at SGS Lakefield on limonite samples from Vermelho to demonstrate its suitability for production of high purity nickel and cobalt sulphate to supply the EV battery markets is at an advanced stage and we look forward to reporting on the results of this work.
We currently have a prefeasibility underway for the project and the data from this test work and the work being undertaken by SGS Lakefield, will be incorporated into the study with the objective of demonstrating a robust set of economics for the selected process route.
Elsewhere we continue to advance the construction financing on the Araguaia Project. Against a backdrop of global growth in nickel consumption running at around 4 to 5% per year with stainless steel currently accounting for two thirds of demand. Going forwards and coupled with this continued growth in stainless steel, nickel use in battery chemistry is set to increase significantly. This robust demand story for nickel positions Horizonte well, owning 100% of two Tier 1 nickel projects, within trucking distance of each other with the potential to produce 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes per year of nickel.
The Company carried out metallurgical testwork at Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc. (KPM) in Ontario, Canada during Q4 2018 into early Q1 2019 on representative samples of Vermelho saprolite and transition ore. After riffling and splitting, the ore samples were crushed to 2mm. A portion of this material was pulverised at approximately 325 mesh to provide samples for thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and also chemical analysis. A sample of the crushed material was also tested for particle size distribution.
A portion of the material at 85% passing 2mm was placed in a refractory crucible and then calcined in an air atmosphere at 8500C for 2 hours; the calcining temperature was based on the results of the TGA testing.
Analysis of the as-received transition and saprolite ore and the calcine produced after initial testing is presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Chemical analysis of Vermelho nickel saprolite ore and calcine
|Sample||Analysis, wt. % (dry basis)|
Note: Generally, the assay of the calcine was consistent with the ore assay after taking into account the loss of chemical water. However, in some cases there was a slight divergence, e.g, as with Co; this difference was not considered material for the tests.
The smelting tests were carried out using a calcine charge of approximately 200 grams and a weighed amount of coal as pre-calculated for the reduction of the iron and nickel oxides in the calcined. Following furnace heat-up, smelting was carried out at 1550°C for a period of 2 hours with a small flow of nitrogen to provide a protective atmosphere. After this time, the furnace was allowed to cool under nitrogen, the crucible was then removed and samples of metal and slag were submitted to the laboratory for chemical analysis.
A series of tests were undertaken to produce a lower grade and a higher grade of ferronickel, with the average representing 31.8% Ni – a typical commercial grade. The analysis of metal showed low levels of trace elements (Table 3), indicating that with minimum conventional refining, the ferronickel would readily meet the requirements of commercial stainless-steel plants. It should be noted that cobalt is not payable in the ferronickel product but would be payable in high purity nickel and cobalt sulphate
Table 3. Analysis of ferronickel
|Sample||Analysis, wt. % for Ni. Co, Fe, C and S, ppm for the remainder|
For further information visit www.horizonteminerals.com or contact:
|Horizonte Minerals plc|
|Jeremy Martin (CEO)||+44 (0) 203 356 2901|
|Numis Securities Ltd (NOMAD & Joint Broker)|
|John Prior||+44 (0) 207 260 1000|
|Shard Capital (Joint Broker)|
|Damon Heath||+44 (0) 20 186 9952|
|Tavistock (Financial PR)|
|Gareth Tredway||+44 (0) 207 920 3150|
|Annabel de Morgan|
About Horizonte Minerals:
Horizonte Minerals plc is an AIM and TSX-listed nickel development company focused in Brazil. The Company is developing the Araguaia project, as the next major ferronickel mine in Brazil, and the Vermelho nickel-cobalt project, with the aim of being able to supply nickel and cobalt to the EV battery market. Both projects are 100% owned.
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