Snow Lake Resources is the latest company to eye up ore sorting to reduce costs and increase productivity, with the exploration company asking DRA Global to come up with an effective strategy for its Thompson Brothers lithium project, in Manitoba, Canada.
Brent Hilscher of DRA will be in charge of this ore sorting project, examining the best laser or X-ray method to help separate out waste material from the spodumene pegmatite at Thompson Brothers, thereby increasing the overall grade of the final product at a low cost per tonne.
Snow Lake has collected 120 scoping samples from the company’s drill core library as part of this test work, with these samples to be sent to Steinert in Kentucky, USA, for analysis.
The company also created four bench test “bulk samples” from the existing core library, which will be used as trial material at Steinert on a full-scale ore-sorting machine once DRA Global concludes the appropriate algorithm for sorting, it said.
As part of the ore-sorting strategy, the company says it will need a higher degree of understanding of the mineral assemblage of the spodumene pegmatites at its project.
The company has, so far, collected nine core samples from the company’s core library and left them with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) in Saskatoon, Canada. These samples will go through QEM-SCAN petrography analysis at SRC, providing DRA with a report on the mineral assemblage of the pegmatite.
From the nine samples, the company will select three samples for microprobe analysis of the various mineral phase.
Snow Lake said: “These studies will give the company an understanding of the mineral chemistry of the feldspar phases. This will help support the X-ray sorting works, as there may be a chemical element that the X-ray sorter can focus on to eliminate the feldspars from the spodumene pegmatite feed.”
As part of a bulk sample program for 2020, the company will also provide samples to SRC to conduct acid–base accounting testing to help assess the acid-producing and acid-neutralising potential of rocks prior to large-scale excavations at the project.
Snow Lake is expecting to publish a maiden indicated resource on the Thompson Brothers project in the near term, given that the company, its consultants and external laboratories have all the data in hand for the study.