• Maronan Metals’ preliminary metallurgical testing has successfully produced a lead-silver concentrate grading 1,485g/t silver and 51% lead
  • Test work also achieved high recoveries of 95% for lead and 84% for silver
  • Testing of separate mixed copper-gold sulphide ore also produces saleable copper-gold concentrate
  • Optimisation work expected to improve concentrate grade and recoveries


Special Report: Early-stage metallurgical test work on previously untested ore sourced from Maronan Metals’ namesake project in Queensland has successfully achieved excellent recoveries of 95% for lead and 84% for silver.

Notably, the lead sulphide mineral concentrate produced by the preliminary tests returned high silver grades of 1,485g/t and 51% lead, underlining the very high co-product silver content of the Maronan lead ores.

Maronan Metals’ (ASX:MMA) flagship Maronan project sits within Queensland’s Carpentaria Province, placing it in the same vicinity as several Tier 1 lead-zinc-silver mines – including Mt Isa, George Fisher and Century, as well as other significant copper deposits such as Ernest Henry, Osborne and Eloise.

It is also just 90km north of South32’s (ASX:S32) giant Cannington silver-lead-zinc mine which delivered FY2023 production of 195,600t zinc equivalent.

However, nearology isn’t the project’s only claim.

Maronan stands tall on its own as one of Australia’s largest and highest-grade undeveloped silver deposits with an Inferred and Indicated silver-lead resource of 32.1Mt grading 6.1% lead and 107g/t silver (290g/t silver equivalent) for 300Moz silver equivalent metal.

This includes a resource of 11.1Mt at 5.3% lead, 111g/t silver and 0.13g/t gold within the Shallow Starter Zone with 2.1Mt at 5.3% lead and 155g/t silver in the higher confidence Indicated category that comes to within 100m of the surface.

It also has a separate Inferred copper-gold resource of 32.5Mt at 0.84% copper, 0.61g/t gold and 7g/t silver (1.4% copper equivalent) for 455,000t of contained copper equivalent metal.


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Plan view of Maronan drilling showing the location of drillholes for which metallurgical test work samples have been selected, coloured by mineralisation domain. Pic via MMA


Testing showcases promising metallurgy

MMA has now proved that not only does Maronan have rich resources, it has the metallurgy to go with it, which would make a development decision that much easier.

Early-stage metallurgical testing on the previously untested pyroxene-hosted lead-silver and mixed copper sulphide ore types delivered excellent recoveries of lead and silver into the lead sulphide mineral concentrates.

It also proved that the ore type is easy to grind and can be classified as “medium-soft to medium”, which could make processing much easier.

The silver is recovered with the lead sulphide mineralisation which floats well under simple and readily available reagent regimes.

Separately, testing of the mixed copper-gold sulphide ore has returned recoveries of 85-90% copper with the process producing a concentrate grading 25-27% copper and 11-14g/t gold with highly variable silver content of 31-515g/t.

This proves that a saleable product can be concentrated from the shallower, mixed mineral ore types – making these nearer to surface copper resources available for possible early development.

“This latest metallurgical test work highlights the high-value proposition of the Maronan ores, and combined with historic studies on the carbonate-hosted lead-sulphide ore-type, provides key data for future optimisation test work,” managing director Richard Carlton said.

“It is expected that the processing and mining advantages defined by these positive preliminary metallurgical tests will translate into very industry competitive capital and operating costs at Maronan.”


Next steps

MMA will now undertake further metallurgical optimisation research including comminution test work, optimisation flotation test work, variability flotation test work, preliminary settling test work, and concentrate leaching test work to reduce fluorine.

For the pyroxene-hosted lead-silver ore, this work is expected to produce concentrate grades of more than 60% lead, increasing payable levels of lead and silver.

Optimisation of the flotation reagent regimes and gravity concentration is also expected to improve recoveries for the shallower mixed copper-gold sulphide ores.



This article was developed in collaboration with Maronan Metals, 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.