Pan Asia has started ore sorting testwork aimed at increasing the mill feed grade of ore sourced from its Reung Kiet lithium project in southern Thailand.

The testwork by Steinert Australia is aimed at retaining higher grade mineralisation and rejecting lower-grade material to waste rock, which effectively raises the grade of the ore that is fed into the beneficiation plant than is reflected in the Pre-Feasibility Study.

Ore sorting is seeing increased use as a relatively low-cost method of increasing ore grade and reducing the required throughput for the mill, which is likely to improve economics.

Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM) is also finalising lepidolite flotation test-work and bulk lepidolite concentrate production with the concentrate to be used for conversion test-work into lithium chemicals.

Managing director Paul Lock noted that while the Reung Kiet resource grade is already in line with, or greater than its lepidolite peers, the company had seen the potential to increase the mill feed grade as the current resource block model captures a lot of low grade or waste siltstone in the block, which dilutes the average grade of the resource.

“Ore sorting can address this by rejecting the siltstone, and with success we would see an uplift in the head grade to the beneficiation plant, which means that we would be processing a higher grade ore than that reflected in our MRE,” he added.

“It is also pleasing to report that the lepidolite flotation test-work is close to complete and a lepidolite concentrate sample has been shipped for use in pyro and hydrometallurgical test-work to produce lithium chemical.”

 

Reung Kiet lithium

Pan Asia’s flagship project currently has an Inferred resource of 10.4Mt grading 0.44% Li2O, 0.04% tin, 0.009% tantalum, 0.16% rubidium and 0.02% caesium, or about 113,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent.

Mineralisation at the project consists of higher grade lithium hosted in aplo-pegmatite dykes and veins which intrude a sequence of meta siltstone that contains both lower grade material and waste siltstone.

Ore sorting will attempt to separate the low grade and waste siltstone from higher grade aplo-pegmatite.

A crushed core sample has already highlighted good separation of pegmatite, which is purple-white, from the siltstone which is dark grey to black.

Steinert will employ a number of methods targeting the differing physical, mineralogical and chemical properties of the rock and apply those to sorting.

 

This article was developed in collaboration with Pan Asia 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.