Novo Resources Corp says it is planning mechanical sorting test work on multi-tonne samples of gold-bearing conglomerate from its Beatons Creek project (pictured) and gold-bearing gravels from its Egina project, both in Australia, with Steinert Global and TOMRA.
Mechanical sorting of small particles of gold is seen as a potentially important breakthrough for Novo and its various nuggety gold projects throughout its large land holdings across the Pilbara, the company said.
An approximate 5 t sample of Beatons Creek gold-bearing conglomerate and an a similar sized sample of Egina gold-bearing gravel have been shipped to Perth for sorting trials at Steinert Global’s test facility in December. Conglomerate from Beatons Creek is being crushed and screened, and gravel from Egina is being screened in preparation for test work.
Once mechanical sorting tests have been completed at Steinert Global, bulk test material will be shipped to TOMRA’s test facility in Sydney for testing during the March quarter of 2020, Novo said.
Novo, earlier this month, said recent tests of Steinert mechanical sorting equipment had demonstrated recovery of fine gold nuggets as small as 0.4 mm, which was a significant step toward a potentially cost-effective “dry and chemical free” means of gold recovery.
The test work is designed to assess the veracity of recent advances in scanning and sorting capabilities of both companies, while determining – on Egina material, at least – the gold recovery capabilities of this technology as a means of primary separation; the applicability of mechanical sorting as a tool to support field exploration activities; and which model of mechanical sorter is preferred for deployment for field trials.
“Owing to recent rapid advancements in mechanical sorting technology, Novo has conceptualised a potentially viable alternative ‘dry’ processing pathway for Beatons Creek,” it said.
While testing is required to better assess sorter manufacturer claims that fine gold particles can be detected and sorted, according to Novo, the company said it sees considerable merit in this ‘dry’ processing model for the following reasons:
- Potential to significantly reduce capital and operating costs compared to conventional ‘wet’ processing schemes;
- Potential to reduce construction timeframe compared to conventional ‘wet’ processing;
- ‘Dry’ processing schemes might be amenable to modular design suited to cost-effective mobilisation and relocation;
- Negates or minimises use of water and chemicals; and
- ‘Dry’ processing could help unlock Novo’s other assets in the East Pilbara region.
Successful mechanical sorter trials of Beatons Creek material are anticipated to lead to a larger metallurgical test work program to fully assess means of crushing, screening and sorting to be incorporated to a process flowsheet, the company said, adding that it foresees using proven technologies given there is a spectrum of commercially available equipment for dry crushing, grinding and screening.
Rob Humphryson, CEO and director of Novo Resources Corp, said: “The pace of development of mechanical sorting technology continues to astound us. We are fortunate that our nuggety gold deposits appear to lend themselves to ‘dry’ processing pathways involving mechanical sorters, technology that may generate favourable economic and environmental outcomes.
“Considering we can readily access outcropping gold mineralisation on all of our properties, we have a unique opportunity to quickly collect bulk samples for testing mechanical sorting technology on a meaningful scale.”