VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Wellgreen Platinum has succeeded in achieving all the objectives it set out to accomplish through the Phase 1 metallurgical programme on its Wellgreen nickel/copper/platinum-group metals (PGMs) project, in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
"We have made quantum leaps in our understanding of the geology, resource and metallurgy through this rigorous scientific testwork. These metallurgical results, combined with the updated geology model and block model are two significant steps toward advancing the Wellgreen deposit,” president and CEO Diane Garrett said in a statement.
The first phase of metallurgical testwork has succeeded in producing a quality, marketable bulk nickel nickel/copper/PGM concentrate grading 11.9% nickel/copper for the Peridotite domain and a 14.3% nickel/copper grade for the Clinopyroxenite domain, compared with a 10% nickel/copper grade reported in a 2015 preliminary economic assessment (PEA).
The Phase 2 metallurgical programme, which is targeted for the second half of this year, will include a mini-pilot plant study whereby the company will produce sufficient quantities of bulk concentrate to allow final refinement of the process to produce separate nickel and copper concentrates. A suitable mini-pilot plant exists within the XPS laboratory facility in Sudbury, Ontario – the same company involved with the Phase 1 metallurgical testing.
Wellgreen pointed out that the testwork has established a definitive flowsheet using conventional technology that produces metallurgical results consistent with the quantity of recoverable metals indicated by ore microscopy.
The testwork produced copper recoveries for both Peridotite and Clinopyroxenite that exceeded the projections of the 2015 PEA (73% versus 66%, and 93% versus 88%, respectively), while exceeding recovery projections of the 2015 PEA for gold and PGMs.
Despite the testwork producing lower nickel recoveries for Peridotite and Clinopyroxenite than those projected in the 2015 PEA (59% versus 68% and 71% versus 75%, respectively), XPS has established predictive concentrate grade/recovery relationships and demonstrated nickel/copper separability from bulk concentrate.
Wellgreen advised that the completion of the Phase 1 metallurgical programme, together with the geologic modelling, which incorporates the past four drill programme results in the 2014 to 2016 calendar years, were two cornerstone achievements that needed to be completed before starting work on developing an updated mine plan.
Having achieved these milestones, the company is now planning to undertake a new technical initiative that will include reviewing optimum throughput rates, production profile and facilities layout, with a view to updating the mine plan. The company has engaged AGP Mining Consultants and Ausenco Engineering Canada to work with the team on an internal review of mine planning.
Wellgreen expects to complete an updated resource estimate during the third quarter. Because of the extensive work being conducted to advance the development of the Wellgreen project, the company expects to prepare an updated PEA during the second half of this year. Environmental baseline activities required for permitting are also ongoing, the company advised.