Wednesday saw Global Energy Metals (TSXV:GEMC) reveal plans to investigate the cobalt, copper, and gold recovery potential of its Millennium project in Queensland, Australia. The Canadian cobalt business, which announced plans to co-list in London earlier this year, has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its Australian peer Cobalt Blue Holdings.
Cobalt Blue has been developing minerals processing technology for the extraction and recovery of cobalt and elemental sulphur from cobalt-pyrite feedstocks. The process avoids explicitly the simultaneous production of sulphuric acid, which usually occurs when roasting pyrite, or leaching pyrite through pressure oxidation. Its technology was successfully shown to be technically and economically viable last year following the completion of a pre-feasibility study for the Thackaringa deposits near Broken Hill. Together, Cobalt Blue and Global Energy plan to prepare new cobalt-pyrite samples from Millenium and test the applicability of the former’s process to the concentrates.
Mitchell Smith, CEO and director at Global Energy– which recently revealed its outright acquisition of Millennium – said he is confident that the program can demonstrate a viable way of taking the project forward. Indeed, historical studies have shown that cobalt and copper concentrates can be floated from samples of drill core at the project. What’s more, Cobalt Blue has already begun to apply its technology to tailings from Cuedco’s Rocklands project, which is based just 20km from Millennium.
‘It is invaluable to conduct metallurgical testwork on this resource at this stage in its development and further de-risk the project while looking at various processing options for the company as it continues to grow the existing resource and delineate new targets at Millennium,’ added Smith. ‘Given the encouraging results of previous metallurgical tests with high recovery rates for copper, cobalt and gold we are confident that the results from this program can demonstrate a potentially viable option for the project.’
Specifically, the two businesses have proposed an initial review of both historical testwork to produce concentrates and cobalt-pyrite quantity, grade, mineralogy and other physical characteristics at Millennium. They then plan to create cobaltpyrite concentrate samples, conduct laboratory-scale ‘proof-of-concept’ testwork, and prepare a short-form report summarising their findings.
Millennium is a multi-zone, near-surface cobalt-copper sulphide system with several kilometres of potential strike length. It is located near established mining, transport, and processing infrastructure and offers easy access to a very skilled workforce.
The growth-stage site contains a defined zone of cobalt-copper mineralisation. Here, a 2016 JORC Resource estimate identified 3.1MMts of inferred resources containing 0.14pc cobalt and 0.34pc copper with gold credits. Global Energy is now looking at ways to increase the size of its deposit. Results from a first phase exploration campaign at two zones called Millennium North and Millennium South exceeded grade and thickness expectations. The firm will now carry out a second phase of drilling to examine both areas further.
Alongside Millennium, Global Energy has acquired two further discovery sites called Mt. Dorothy and Cobalt Ridge. These are collectively known as the ‘Mt. Isa projects’. The areas expand Global Energy’s Australian land position by nearly twenty times but have yet to be exploited. Exploration to date has returned high-grade cobalt intercepts at both, allowing Global Energy to line up numerous targets for further investigation and test work to define a resource.
Global Energy focuses on offering security of supply of cobalt, which is a critical material in the rapidly growing rechargeable battery market. It is building a diversified global portfolio of assets in the sector, including project stakes, projects and other supply sources.
Author: Daniel Flynn
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