Chaarat Gold eyes simpler, lower cost processing of Kyzyltash ore with Albion process

Chaarat Gold has announced the completion of the first phase metallurgical test program performed by SGS Lakefield on its Kyzyltash gold project, in Kyrgyzstan, which showed similar first stage recoveries from both pressure oxidation (POX) and Albion™ technologies.

The project has a current JORC-compliant measured, indicated and inferred sulphide resource of 5.4 Moz of gold at 3.8 g/t Au. Management estimate that the project has the potential to produce approximately 300,000 oz/y of gold subject to the project meeting its feasibility, permitting and development milestones. More than 80,000 metres of drilling have been completed to date on the project.

The Albion process employs ultra-fine grinding followed by aerated cyanide leaching to extract gold while POX uses high-pressure and temperature conditions to oxidise refractory sulphides prior to gold extraction by conventional carbon-in-leach technology. Bio-oxidation (BIOX) test work is ongoing with results expected in the September quarter of 2022. The test work will be analysed in an economic trade-off study comparing the potential processing technologies applicable to the ore with the aim of making a final decision in 2023. Following this, Chaarat will aim to progress towards an updated feasibility study on the Kyzyltash project.

SGS Lakefield performed flotation and oxidative treatment tests on the representative samples of the 2021 Kyzyltash drilling program, with ore shown to be amenable to froth flotation recovering 87-90% of gold with a 23-24% mass pull. The leach recovery for both Albion and POX averaged 80-90% with similar results between the two processes, the company said.

Mike Fraser, Chief Executive Officer of Chaarat, said: “The development of the Kyzyltash project is continuing as planned. These first results of the Kyzyltash metallurgical test work have provided confirmation that the gold is favourably recoverable with various technologies. The fact that the results from the Albion process were similar to POX is very encouraging as Albion could potentially offer a substantially simpler, lower cost means of processing Kyzyltash ore. Further test work to confirm the preferred processing route will enable Chaarat to proceed with an updated feasibility study with the aim of unlocking the significant future value that this project can bring to Chaarat shareholders.”

The Albion process, owned by Glencore Technology, uses a combination of ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching at atmospheric pressure to work. It also tolerates a more variable feed and lower grade than other processes, according to Glencore Technology, meaning it can make some projects feasible and profitable where alternative technologies could not. The sulphides in the feed are oxidised and valuable metals liberated, with the economic metals recovered by conventional downstream processing. Test work requires only small sample masses with no pilot plant, Glencore Technology says.