News | October 4, 2017

Três Estradas Pilot Plant Confirms Excellent Recoveries And Concentrate Grades For Industrial Scale

Highlights:

  • The multi-month pilot plant program conducted by Eriez Flotation Division (Pennsylvania, USA) returned excellent recoveries and concentrate grades for both fresh and oxidized carbonatites from the Três Estradas deposit.
  • Pilot scale flotation plant test work on the oxide mineralization produced a concentrate grading 35% P2O5 yielding a total circuit recovery of 87%.
  • Pilot scale plant test work on the fresh carbonatite pilot flotation plant circuit produced a concentrate grading 32% P2O5 yielding a total circuit recovery of 80%.
  • The pilot plant results confirm the previous bench-scale column flotation tests and provide data for the design of the commercial scale column flotation circuit for the operation.
  • Completion of Pilot Plant Program is a key step in Aguia’s BFS which is progressing well.
  • Results confirm Três Estradas has similar metallurgical performance to Vale’s Cajati mine in Brazil and Yara’s Siilinjärvi mine in Finland.
  • Results demonstrate excellent beneficiation results can be achieved using well-established processes and may positively impact the operation’s cost profile.

Toronto, ON (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Brazilian fertilizer developer Aguia Resources Limited (ASX:AGR) (TSXV:AGRL) (“Aguia” or “Company”) is pleased to report that the Company has completed extensive pilot plant testing of its oxidized and fresh carbonatite phosphate ores from the Três Estradas Project, in Southern Brazil.

The pilot plant program was conducted at the Eriez Flotation Division (“EFD”), a world leader in advanced flotation technology and a wholly owned subsidiary of Eriez Manufacturing Co. EFD provides advanced testing and engineering services, in addition to sparging and flotation equipment for the mining and mineral processing industries. EFD has extensive experience in column flotation, and is a leading supplier of column flotation equipment, services and expertise to the Brazilian phosphate and iron ore industries. Worldwide, EFD has supplied more than 1,000 unit operations for flotation equipment, including more than 100 for phosphate applications in the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, and South Africa.

Eriez was provided with 1,010 kg of oxidized ore and 1,500 kg of fresh carbonatite ore from Três Estradas to determine phosphate recovery and final concentrate grades in a pilot-scale column flotation circuit. The entire pilot plant program was independently supervised by Millcreek Mining Group (Salt Lake City, USA).

Saprolite
The objective of the program was to test the performance of the oxidized ore (saprolite) in a pilot-scale circuit using a rougher-cleaner flotation circuit, followed by magnetic separation. Continuous operation of a fully automated, two-stage column flotation circuit yielded P2O5 recoveries ranging from 85% to 90%, with a concentrate grading approximately 33% P2O5. Subsequent magnetic separation was performed to reduce the MER (minor element ratio) of the final product which decreased from 0.2 to 0.06, and improved the final concentrate grade from about 33% to 35% P2O5. The P2O5 recovery of the magnetic separation was higher than 99% and the overall recovery of the circuit was higher than 88%, before adjustment for production plant scaling.

Metacarbonatite
The objective of the program was to test the performance of the fresh carbonatite ore in a pilot-scale rougher-cleaner-cleaner-scavenger flotation circuit, followed by magnetic separation. Continuous operation of a fully automated, four-stage column flotation circuit yielded P2O5 recoveries ranging from 71% to 80%, with concentrates grading about 31% P2O5, before adjustment for production plant scaling. Further magnetic separation was performed to reduce the MER from 0.21 to 0.14 and improve final concentrate grade to up to 33% P2O5. The P2O5 recovery of the magnetic separation was higher than 99%.

After this extensive pilot-scale program, recoveries and grades were forecasted accounting for scaling from pilot plant to industrial scale production. An overall process recovery of 87% producing concentrate grading 35% P2O5 is forecasted for the processing of the oxidized (saprolite) ore, and a process recovery of 80% with a concentrate grading 32% P2O5 is forecasted for the fresh carbonatite. These results improve on the previous bench-scale flotation tests performed at Eriez and announced on June 6, 2016, and now demonstrate that Três Estradas has a metallurgical performance very similar to other operating carbonatite mines in the world such as Vale’s Cajati mine in Brazil and Yara’s Siilinjärvi mine in Finland.

 

2016

2017

 

Recovery

P2O5 Grading

Recovery

P2O5 Grading

Oxide

80%

31%

87%

35%

Fresh Carbonatite

84%

30.2%

80%

32%

Table 1: Comparison of metallurgical results from bench scale tests conducted in 2016 versus pilot plant results conducted in 2017

The completion of the pilot plant program marks a key milestone in the preparation of the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) for Três Estradas. It allows the engineering team to define the parameters for operation on an industrial production scale, design the flotation circuit and appropriately scale the equipment. These important conclusions on recoveries also illustrate the tailings that will be produced to finalize the size of the tailings dam and refines the water requirements and equipment needs.

Management Commentary
Technical Director Dr Fernando Tallarico commented, “We are very pleased with the result of this extensive pilot plant processing program. We were able to reproduce the recoveries on a larger scale, and actually ended up producing higher grade concentrates. The resulting data set will provide our engineering team with very accurate information to support the design of the processing facilities as we move further in the development of our Bankable Feasibility Study of Três Estradas.”

Managing Director Justin Reid added, “The metallurgical component of our processing flowsheet is one of the key drivers to value. These results exceeded our expectations and puts the project in a great position to drive operational costs lower while producing an excellent final commercial concentrate grading 35%. We will be reporting on other key project development milestones as we move towards finalization of the BFS. We are very satisfied with the progress we are making at Três Estradas.”

Qualified Person
The scientific and technical information contained in this news release pertaining to the Tres Estradas project has been reviewed and approved by the following Qualified Person under NI 43-101, Mr. Rainer Stephenson, (Senior Process Engineer for the Millcreek Mining Group, and a QP Member of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America (MMSA)) who consents to the inclusion of his name in this release and who is independent of Aguia.

In accordance with the requirements of the Australian Securities Exchange (the “ASX”), the Company has lodged a JORC Table with the ASX. Shareholders may access the JORC Table on the ASX website at http://www.asx.com.au/asx/share-price-research/company/AGR. The Company is preparing a technical report in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, which will be filed with Canadian securities regulators within 45 days and will then be available under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

About Aguia:
Aguia Resources Limited, (“Aguia”) is an ASX and TSXV listed company whose primary focus is on the exploration and development of phosphate projects in Brazil. Aguia has an established and highly experienced in-country team based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil with corporate offices in Sydney, Australia. Aguia’s key projects are located in Rio Grande do Sul, a prime farming area which is 100% dependent on phosphate imports. The Rio Grande phosphate deposits exhibit high quality and low cost production characteristics, and are ideally located with proximity to road, rail, and port infrastructure. Aguia’s experienced management team has a proven track record of advancing high quality mining assets to production in Brazil.

The information in this announcement that relates to Exploration Targets, Exploration Results, Mineral Resources or Ore Reserves is based on information compiled by Dr Fernando Tallarico, who is a member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario. Dr Tallarico is a full-time employee of the company. Dr Tallarico has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the ‘Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves’. Dr Tallarico consents to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.

Cautionary Statement on Forward Looking Information

This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian and Australian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements regarding the results of the pilot plant program, the metallurgical results, production targets, the anticipated timetable, permitting, forecast financial information, and ability to finance the project, and the prospectivity and potential of the Tres Estradas project.

Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". The material factors and assumptions underlying the forward‑looking information of the Mineral Resource Statement results have been outlined above and will be detailed in the associated technical report.

Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including risks inherent in the mining industry and risks described in the public disclosure of the Company which is available under the profile of the Company on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, on the ASX website at www.asx.com.au and on the Company's website at www.aguiaresouces.com.au. These risks should be considered carefully.

Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Persons reading this news release are cautioned that such statements are only predictions and there can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update or revise any forward looking statements whether as a result of new information, estimates, options, future events, results or otherwise and does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

NEITHER THE AUSTRALIAN STOCK EXCHANGE, TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN THE POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.

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SOURCE: Aguia Resources Ltd