Azure has ticked off another milestone after initial metallurgical testwork of ore from its Andover project recovered up to 93.5% nickel and 94.7% copper.

That this result was achieved using conventional sulphide flotation is an indication that future development would be relatively straightforward.

Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) has also produced separate marketable high-grade nickel and copper concentrates using selective flotation as well as an internationally marketable bulk concentrate with a combined grade of 12.4% nickel and copper.

Notably, the various concentrates contained very low levels of deleterious elements, which further enhance their attractiveness to potential buyers.

“These very positive results from the Stage 1 testwork program indicate that we will be able to produce high quality, high grade, clean concentrates with excellent recoveries and I am confident that further optimisation studies will continue to deliver additional improvements,” managing director Tony Rovira said.

“Metallurgical factors and results play a critical role in evaluating project viability, and to have produced marketable nickel and copper concentrates using a relatively simple and robust industry-standard flow sheet, at such an early stage, bodes well for the project as we move through the development studies process.”

Flotation testwork

The testwork was completed on a composite sample containing sulphide mineralisation and internal waste material sourced from drill holes ANDD0004 and ANDD0014.

This sample had a head grade of 1.2% nickel, 0.58% copper and 0.05% cobalt and is considered to be representative of the grade and physical characteristics of the mineralisation at the VC-07 East deposit.

Concentrates produced from the work include a nickel+cobalt concentrate with 15.7% nickel and 0.57% cobalt; a 25.5% copper concentrate; and the bulk concentrate with 8% nickel, 4.4% copper and 0.3% cobalt.

Promising results given that the company’s ongoing work at VC-07 East has expanded the size of the deposit to more than 400m in strike and extending from 50m below surface to more than 500m depth while remaining open for expansion along strike to the west and down-dip.

Nickel (left) and copper concentrates. Pic: Supplied

Future work

With the first stage of metallurgical testwork completed, Azure plans to start the second phase in the fourth quarter of 2021 and first quarter of 2022.

This work will focus on assessing flotation response to variability of the orebody across different geological domains; optimising recovery of copper into the concentrate; and reducing the amount of nickel reporting to the copper concentrate.

Work will also be used to refine the reagent regime for each of the proposed flowsheets while locked cycle testwork will be carried out to assess recovery in a closed flowsheet.




This article was developed in collaboration with Azure Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.