ASX-listed African lithium developer, Prospect Resources has reported significant improvements to the global lithium recovery for its 87%-owned Arcadia lithium project in Zimbabwe.
The recovery improvements are as a result of petalite DMS test work.
Following the release of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for Arcadia in November 2018, Prospect Resources has continued with bulk metallurgical variability testing of bulk ore samples taken from existing open pit exposure of the Main Pegmatite (MP) zone within the proposed pit outline at Arcadia.
The test programmes focussed principally on extending the project understanding of petalite recovery by dense medium separation (DMS) and spiral treatment, and improving spodumene recovery from exposed MP ore by froth flotation.
The results of the DMS bulk test work, together with the results of a review of the metallurgical database support the recovery factors employed in the DFS and indicate the potential for an overall increase in project lithium recovery from 67.9% to +70%.
Spiral treatment of -0.6 mm MP ore is currently in progress.
This bulk test work was undertaken at independent third-party facilities in order to provide impartiality and ensure quality control.
The three stage DMS test work programme confirmed the amenability of Arcadia ore to deliver premium low iron petalite concentrate product containing +4% Li₂O and from bulk MP flotation testing demonstrate a significant improvement in spodumene recovery and concentrate grade, which surpass the data available to the DFS.
By maintaining its focus on petalite-rich MP ore, which will form the bulk of run of mine ore for the first two years of mine life, Prospect Resources aims to further optimise design and operating parameters in order to de-risk the plant construction and project ramp-up to production.
The extensive metallurgical test work programme will exceed similar programmes completed by peer projects, given Arcadia’s ore body contains petalite in addition to commonly produced spodumene.
Prospect Resources’ MD, Sam Hosack, says the test work results demonstrated the quality of the project and the company’s ability to de-risk and optimise the project prior to development.
“The investment we have made into technical validation and value engineering for the project, supports our ability to successfully deliver on the Arcadia lithium project. The company has attracted market leading professionals to join the team and lead the technical development, including individuals with extensive experience in DMS, gravity and flotation processing of lithium bearing minerals.”
“Prospect will continue to invest in building upon Arcadia’s existing strong project economics by optimising the plant construction, pit design and efficient operation of the project.”
With extended petalite recovery and concentration bulk test work nearing completion, the company is undertaking spodumene metallurgical bulk test work, to conclude the post-DFS test work and develop a revised global lithium recovery result.