TSX-listed Los Andes Copper has announced that it will be able to increase its copper and molybdenum recoveries from the Vizcachitas project, in Chile, after it managed to optimise rougher flotation conditions during metallurgical testwork.
The testwork forms part of the ongoing prefeasibility study (PFS) for the project.
The improved formula results from the current PFS testwork further enhance project economics for the project.
As it stands, the project has a post-tax net present value of $1.8-billion and an internal rate of return of 20.7%, based on a $3/lb copper price.
“The testwork has confirmed the use of high-pressure grinding roll technology and validated the use of dry-stacked tailings. These technologies put the Vizcachitas project at the forefront of the environmentally responsible practices being adopted for the future of sustainable mining globally,” says executive chairperson Fernando Porcile.
During 2019, as part of initial testwork for the PFS, a sample from previous testwork that represents the upper zone of the orebody was sent to testing company SGS Minerals facilities for a rougher flotation assessment.
The results of this assessment show that copper and molybdenum rougher recoveries, as compared to the 2019 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) formula, were improved by 3% and 6%, respectively.
This improvement was achieved by refining the flotation formula: decreasing the potential of hydrogen level, lowering the solids percentage of the slurry and adding a stronger frother.
The ongoing PFS metallurgical testwork in 2020 has confirmed these improvements.
A new composite sample from the first 12 years of the mine plan was tested using both the PEA and PFS flotation formulas.
The PFS formula shows an improved rougher recovery of 2.8% for copper and 7.8% for molybdenum over the PEA formulas.