JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Explorer and developer Beowulf Mining remains committed to establishing a producing graphite mine in eastern Finland within the next three years, CEO Kurt Budge said on Monday, announcing the results of a testwork programme at the Aitolampi project.
The latest testwork delivered positive results, with combined grades ranging from 96.8% to 97.5% total carbon across three samples.
The three samples tested responded similarly in terms of concentrate grades of various size fractions.
In March, Beowulf completed an eight-hole diamond drilling programme, the aim of which was to test for economic mineralisation to provide representative sample material for assaying and metallurgical testwork.
Three samples comprising composited quarter drill core of about 10 kg each were dispatched to SGS Minerals Services in Canada for metallurgical testwork. The objective of the testwork was to develop a preliminary understanding of the metallurgical response of the different samples and to characterise graphite concentrate produced, in terms of flake size distribution and total carbon grades of different size fractions.
The company reported that a total of nine open circuit batch cleaner flotation tests had been carried out on the three samples. The flowsheet and testwork conditions were comparable with those used for trench and grab samples collected from Aitolampi in January this year.
All three samples produced high-grade concentrate grades when subjected to the preliminary flowsheet that was developed in the previous testwork programme and Beowulf said that the secondary cleaning circuits proved highly effective in liberating and rejecting gangue minerals.
The results confirmed total carbon grades ranging between 92.7% total carbon for the +48 mesh size fraction and 98.5% total carbon for the -150/+200 mesh size fraction. Discounting the lowest grade all other size fractions graded 94.4% or higher.
"We will shortly be appointing expert consultants to assess the suitability of Aitolampi's concentrates for different market applications. Following that, it's our intention to undertake a scoping study, and, in parallel, work towards defining a maiden mineral resource,” Budge reported.
He added that Beowulf would aim to move “as far down the value chain as sensible”, with a view of adding quality and value to its final products.
The Aitolampi project has good access to infrastructure and benefits from its close proximity to European end-users.
Beowulf also owns the Kallak magnetite iron-ore project and the Åtvidaberg polymetallic exploration licence in Sweden.