Panther has had yet another win at its potentially game-changing Coglia nickel-cobalt project in Western Australia, with test work delivering high recoveries of nickel laterites that meet industry accepted levels.

Panther Metals (ASX:PNT) has confirmed nickel extraction of 92.6% and cobalt extraction of 73.9% from its Coglia project using a high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) process.

HPAL, which has been in use since 1961 and is increasing in use, is the process used to extract nickel and cobalt from laterite ore bodies.

The process can quickly leach nickel and cobalt from laterite ores compared to traditional leaching methods, which are more time-intensive and result in lower recoveries.

Managing director Daniel Tuffin hailed the initial round of HPAL testing from the Coglia nickel-cobalt project as “fantastic results”.

“With a final recovery of 92.6% nickel, these results confirm that the laterite nickel mineralisation at Coglia falls within the industry-accepted processing recovery range, with ALS Laboratories confirming that ‘…90-95% recovery is generally what you’d expect from HPAL of laterites’.”

Feed for the test work was based on a blended sample obtained from six drill holes from the initial 6,000m reverse circulation drilling program – which delivered a massive maiden resource discovery.

There is also strong potential for the grade to be increased further through beneficiation.

“Additionally, most of the higher nickel grades are in the finer size fractions, which with further study may prove that beneficiation processes such as scrubbing, cyclones and/or screening could potentially remove the need for milling,” he explained.

Panther is awaiting an additional report from ALS and will also engage independent experts for further review.

“While the company’s focus for the next phase of exploration at Coglia remains on drilling and expanding the current resource, it will continue to carry out further testing and studies in parallel to support a future pre-feasibility study, including further HPAL bench test work programs.”

Laterites gaining in popularity

With the rapid rise in the electrification of the globe, which has driven the massive increase in demand for nickel in batteries for electric vehicles, the sector has had to turn its attention to nickel laterites.

Nickel laterites account for the larger share of the world’s resources, with many of the high-grade nickel sulphide assets already in operation, according to S&P Global.

“This means that the anticipated boom in high-grade nickel demand for battery applications will require laterite ore to be processed,” S&P said.

Coglia has a maiden resource of 70.6Mt at grades of 0.7% nickel and 460 parts per million (ppm) cobalt for 476,000t of nickel and 32,200t of cobalt.

This came in 40% higher than the JORC exploration target Panther initially outlined.

This story was developed in collaboration with Panther Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

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