Tag Archives: USA

DuPont Clean Tech to provide low emission sulphuric acid plant input at Rhyolite Ridge

ioneer Ltd has awarded DuPont Clean Technologies a contract for the licence, engineering and supply of proprietary equipment for the planned sulphuric acid plant at the company’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Specialty technology provider DuPont will work with engineering partner SNC-Lavalin on the plant design, providing best-in-class MECS® sulphuric acid production technology for a plant with a 3,500 t/d capacity, and controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of facility, ioneer says.

The DuPont contract is conditional on a final investment decision on the project by the ioneer Board of Directors, which is expected shortly.

In June, Rhyolite Ridge became the first project with planned sulphuric acid production to receive a Class II Air Quality permit in Nevada.

Employing advanced technologies, the plant will meet stringent NV Class II air quality standards and water pollution control, according to ioneer. DuPont will also supply its latest generation MECS Super GEAR™ catalyst and other critical proprietary equipment, with the plant set to convert sulphur into commercial-grade sulphuric acid, used to leach lithium and boron from the crushed rock.

The heat released in the process will be recovered to produce steam for electricity. The plant will generate an initial 35 MW of electricity, which is sufficient to power the entire Rhyolite Ridge operation and means ioneer will not draw electricity from the grid, the company says.

“Rhyolite Ridge will be an energy-independent operation, using primarily co-generated, zero-carbon power,” it added.

The heat generated will also be used for evaporation and crystallisation processes required to produce lithium carbonate and boric acid.

Once operational, Rhyolite Ridge is expected to produce 20,600 t/y of lithium carbonate, converting in year four to 22,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and 174,400 t/y of boric acid. Pending final federal US Department of the Interior approval of the Plan of Operation, the project is expected to begin production in the second half of 2024.

Commenting on the contract, ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “Development of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project is a critical strategic step to enable US production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. ioneer’s core commitment is to produce essential materials in an environmentally and socially responsible and sustainable manner through lowered emissions, reduced water usage and a minimal surface footprint. We are delighted to welcome MECS-DuPont to our team. It is a world-leader in clean technology and emissions control and will work alongside ioneer to deliver this tier-1 project in the US.”

Global business leader of DuPont Clean Technologies, Eli Ben-Shoshan, said: “We have worked in close partnership with ioneer and SNC-Lavalin to be able to guarantee the precise performance and emissions control ioneer needs for its Rhyolite Ridge project to meet stringent environmental standards and production objectives. We are excited to be part of a project that helps ioneer cleanly produce lithium essential to advancement of electric energy markets and to be able to support it with our many decades of expertise in sulphuric acid plant technology.”

BQE Water to remove selenium and sulphate from mine water at US mine

BQE Water says it has entered into an Operating Services Agreement with a US-based mining project to provide water treatment services for the simultaneous removal of selenium and sulphate in compliance with environmental regulations.

Under the agreement, BQE Water will provide plant commissioning and operations services for an initial period of four years following completion of the plant performance test. Compensation for operations services consists of a base monthly fee and a supplemental fee for the volume of water treated that meets discharge specifications.

The agreement comes after BQE Water completed process engineering design work in 2020 and 2021 to upgrade the existing water treatment plant at the project site to enable the removal of both selenium and sulphate to below regulated limits, which are among the most stringent globally, it said.

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said: “This project is truly exciting for us. First off, the requirement for the simultaneous removal of selenium and sulphate allows us to push our expertise and leadership in key areas of modern mine water treatment. Secondly, it is gratifying to work with a major metal producer who understands the role of water in today’s resource projects and the value of having specialists operate plants which enables the project owner to focus on their core areas of expertise.”

Detailed engineering for the plant retrofit is nearing completion with the project currently in the construction phase. The plant is expected to complete commissioning in the first half of 2022.

ioneer contracts Veolia Water Technologies for Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project

ioneer Ltd has awarded a major engineering and equipment supply contract to Veolia Water Technologies Inc for the development of the company’s wholly-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Veolia has commenced work on final detailed engineering design of the equipment package, which includes evaporation, crystallisation and dewatering equipment. It is the largest single supply contract that ioneer will award as part of the Rhyolite Ridge build, the company said.

The contract has been awarded on a limited notice to proceed basis. Phase one, the supply of engineering services for detailed design, has commenced while phase two, the supply of equipment, is conditional on a final investment decision on the project by ioneer’s Board of Directors.

The lithium and boron resource at Rhyolite Ridge is estimated at 146.5 Mt, including a reserve of 60 Mt. The company expects to mine and process 63.8 Mt over the 26-year mine life at an average annual rate of 2.5 Mt/y.

Veolia is, ioneer says, a world leader in the design and delivery of systems for purification, recovery and drying of inorganic chemicals using HPD® evaporation and crystallisation technologies. Furthermore, Veolia provides state-of-the-art research and development capabilities to facilitate the understanding of multi-component systems and their optimisation for efficiency, operability and final product quality.

Veolia and ioneer have been working together since 2018 to demonstrate the feasibility of the process design, including design and operation of ioneer’s full simulation pilot plant in Vancouver, British Columbia. Veolia has also conducted laboratory testing and simulated key unit operations including clarification, ion exchange purification, evaporation, crystallisation and precipitation at Veolia’s Phillip J Stewart Technology Center in Plainfield, Illinois, including the production of high purity lithium hydroxide monohydrate. The results obtained from this work further confirmed the design parameters, reduced the technical risks and boosted the project economics, according to ioneer.

ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “We have been working closely with Veolia over the past three years during the pilot plant and definitive feasibility study phases and have developed a strong relationship and mutual respect. Veolia is a recognised leader in process design and engineering, with direct experience in developing solutions for lithium processing facilities. Veolia’s experience and capabilities are important to meet required purity standards in our production facilities.”

CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Americas, Jim Brown, said: “Veolia, as the leader in ecological transformation, is excited to be part of ioneer’s commitment to providing the materials necessary to further develop renewable energy and clean technologies by utilising our industry experience and state-of-the-art research facility to develop this resource. Our long-term cooperation working together with ioneer has been instrumental in bringing the project to this point.”

Barrick Gold’s Artisan Z50 battery-electric trial paying off at Turquoise Ridge

Barrick Gold’s decision to carry out a three-year production trial using Artisan Z50 battery-electric vehicles at the Turquoise Ridge gold mine looks to be paying off, with underground tonnage mined at the joint venture operation increasing during the most recent quarter.

Back in November, Sandvik and Barrick confirmed the signing of a partnership agreement for trailing and enhancing battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for underground hard-rock mining. This would see a three-year production trial take place where Sandvik would deploy four Artisan Z50 BEV trucks at the Turquoise Ridge gold mine, part of the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture where Barrick is the 61.5% owner and operator.

In the company’s just-released June quarter results, Barrick reported that Turquoise Hill gold production in the June quarter was 15% lower than the prior quarter mainly due to an extended planned maintenance shutdown at the Sage autoclave. It noted that upgrades to the autoclave during the shutdown were expected to deliver improved reliability and performance in the second half of 2021.

And, while total tonnes mined decreased 12% compared with the prior quarter – driven by lower open-pit production – underground tonnes mined improved 11% quarter-on-quarter it said.

In this three-month period, Turquoise Ridge benefitted from “efficiency gains from the Sandvik Z50 electric haulage trucks at Turquoise Ridge” and higher tonnes mined from the Vista underground after remediation efforts were completed in the March quarter of 2021 following the previously disclosed fall of ground, it said.

While the use of the Z50s benefitted tonnage mined in the quarter, Barrick did not in its follow-up quarterly presentation that it was “working with Sandvik to address ongoing issues with batteries”.

Still on Turquoise Ridge, Barrick reported that shaft sinking on the Third Shaft at the mine had advanced to its final depth of 989 m below the collar in the quarter.

Construction of the Third Shaft, which has a hoisting capacity of 5,500 t/d, continues to advance according to schedule and within budget, it noted, with commissioning in late 2022. The focus of the project is now shifting from sinking activities to equipping in the September quarter.

Together with increased hoisting capacity, the Third Shaft is expected to provide additional ventilation for underground mining operations as well as shorter material haulage distances, according to Barrick.

As at June 30, Barrick had spent $201 million (including $17 million in the June quarter) out of an estimated capital cost of around $300-$330 million (100% basis).

Thyssen Mining is carrying out the shaft sinking project at the Third Shaft.

Austin Engineering’s strategic review identifies innovation, technology opportunities

Austin Engineering Ltd has completed a previously announced strategic review of its global business, with the first two phases of this review funding a third that will fuel innovation and technology development.

Austin initiated the strategic review in May 2021 in parallel with the decision to relocate its headquarters from Brisbane to Perth, in Australia. This move was carried out to, Austin says, bring the company’s central management closer to Austin’s major mining customers and its largest APAC manufacturing centres in Perth and Indonesia.

The strategic review aimed to identify opportunities to improve business efficiency and to align with the future needs of Austin’s mining industry customers. Ultimately, the review identified what Austin needs to do and where it needs to invest to be at the forefront of the industry, to grow earnings and, thereby, unlock value for its shareholders, it said.

Austin’s loading and hauling products are designed to meet the specific needs of its mining industry customers around the world. Its products are designed to help mining companies increase operational efficiency, improve site safety and help meet their environmental and decarbonisation targets. This is crucial as the mining industry works towards dramatically reducing emissions in the coming years, Austin said.

The strategic review outcomes are structured in three phases, representing short-, medium- and longer-term measures to create company value across Austin’s operations in Australia, North America, Indonesia and South America.

As Phase 1, Austin has already rebased the indirect support structures throughout the business and enters the new 2022 financial year (to June 30, 2022) with a leaner structure. By the end of June, about 50% of the “people cost reductions” identified in the review were completed, with 85% due for completion by the end of August, it said.

In addition to the rapid closure of its previous head office in Brisbane, Queensland, Austin has consolidated its separate businesses located in Mackay, Queensland, into Austin’s wholly-owned subsidiary, AUSTBORE. The consolidation enables a stronger focus on new product delivery and support in Queensland and reduces the focus on general repair and maintenance services, which have not been delivering “adequate earnings”, Austin said.

Austin will continue to deliver its own product offerings to the east coast of Australia from its manufacturing facilities in Perth and Batam, while continuing to offer support directly in Mackay through its existing team, it said.

Phase 2 will see Austin develop its major manufacturing sites, commencing in Perth, Australia.

“Austin has identified significant manufacturing opportunities to reduce waste and improve production efficiency and product consistency through the adoption of flow production and automation,” Austin said. “This will provide significant benefits for Austin’s major product ranges, in particular truck bodies, while remaining agile in bespoke designs and delivering unique capabilities for its customers.”

It is likely that the production system will be adopted in Batam to build bodies faster, use less factory space and improve product quality, according to Austin.

Initial project investment for Perth is underway with a final investment decision by the Austin Board planned within the next quarter.

In the US, Austin is reviewing its delivery logistics to improve overall “cost competitiveness”, the company said.

It explained: “Large truck bodies are difficult and expensive to move around the disparate mining centres of Canada, USA and Central America. Further detail around the changes being considered for North America will be announced when sufficient certainty has been achieved in the current review. Under consideration is an increasing presence in western Canada to service the oil sands region more effectively.”

Phase 3 is looking at putting technology and innovation at the forefront of a significantly expanded Austin product range.

The company explained: “Out of the review, Austin has established a new customer-focused, innovation and technology group that reports directly to the CEO. The team will interface directly with Austin’s major customers and will use innovation- and technology-led solutions in an agile implementation environment to meet customers’ needs for product capability and performance. Austin has already reviewed its technology pipeline with some of its major customers, with new developments already underway. Further details on these developments will be made available at the appropriate time.”

In the longer term, Austin says it seeks to increase its product offering, through a mix of in-house design, partnering with aligned businesses and M&A activity.

Cost savings to the business generated in Phases 1 and 2 are expected to provide funding for innovation and technology development, as well as enhancing earnings, it said.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “The strategic review process has provided a chance for Austin to make some big decisions about what we most need to focus on for organic and inorganic growth of the company. Through this process, we will cut significant costs from the business while increasing output through adopting more advanced manufacturing techniques. Importantly, we are firmly concentrating our efforts to meet the needs of our mining customers into the future. Austin’s products will support our clients as they target net zero emissions, improve productivity and ensure ever safer operations.”

Compass Minerals looks to leverage new lithium resource at Ogden site

Compass Minerals says it has identified a lithium brine resource of around 2.4 Mt of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) at its active Ogden, Utah, solar evaporation site, and it was in the process of selecting an “extraction technology partner” that could help leverage the resource.

Included within the 2.4 Mt LCE resource was an indicated lithium resource within the ambient brine of the Great Salt Lake of 2.32 Mt of LCE within the ambient brine of the Great Salt Lake, which, Compass says, can be accessed through the company’s existing infrastructure.

For over 50 years, Compass Minerals’ Ogden facility has leveraged the high mineral concentrations within the ambient lake brine from the North Arm of the Great Salt Lake to produce sulphate of potash (SOP), salt and magnesium chloride products. The Ogden facility is the largest operation of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, according to the company.

Compass Minerals say it is now undertaking a strategic evaluation to assess development options available to service growing US domestic lithium market demand while maximising the long-term value of its lithium resource.

Kevin S Crutchfield, President and CEO, said: “We are aggressively evaluating multiple paths forward for this significant lithium brine resource to optimise shareholder value, in parallel with a reassessment of our current capital allocation strategy.

“In a market hungry for domestically-sourced lithium produced with minimal environmental impact, we believe a sustainable and readily available lithium resource like we have defined at our operations on the Great Salt Lake could be a true differentiator for our company. We look forward to communicating the results of our strategic evaluation and the selection of an extraction technology partner as we identify the most advantageous path forward for Compass Minerals.”

The resource assessment estimates total combined indicated and inferred lithium resources of approximately 127,000 t of LCE within the interstitial brine (IB) held in the accumulated salt-mass reservoirs at Compass Minerals’ Ogden solar evaporation site. This is on top of the circa-2.32 Mt LCE resource within the ambient brine of the Great Salt Lake.

After an 18-month assessment of multiple direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology providers, including two separate and ongoing pilot projects to demonstrate successful lithium separation from the company’s existing brine resource, Compass is now in the late stages of selecting a DLE technology partner.

The company is targeting an annual production capacity of around 20,000-25,000 t of LCE of battery-grade lithium, with up to 65% of the future production derived from brine that has already been extracted from the Great Salt Lake and in varying stages of concentration within the company’s existing ponds.

“Lithium concentrations within the ambient brine of the North Arm of the Great Salt Lake range from 55 to 60 parts per million (ppm), while concentrations in the company’s pond-derived magnesium chloride product reach up to 1,000 to 1,600 ppm after three years in the solar evaporation process,” Compass explained. “The lithium concentration in the IB ranges from 205 to 318 ppm. As such, the company anticipates being well-positioned to serve the widely forecasted increase in domestic market demand for lithium.”

In addition, the company is engaged in third-party testing of conversion options to battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

By leveraging existing operational infrastructure, permits and pond processes at its Ogden facility, Compass believes it is uniquely positioned to capture the now-defined lithium resource with nominal incremental impact to the beds and waters of the Great Salt Lake. It has contracted Minviro Ltd to perform a formal life cycle assessment (LCA) of the company’s lithium development scenarios currently under consideration. Based on internationally recognised LCA standards, the Minviro assessment is expected to help quantify any environmental impacts associated with the development of this resource, with Compass expecting to leverage the findings of the LCA to identify ways to further minimise the project’s environmental footprint.

FLSmidth set to showcase lithium engineering expertise at ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge

ioneer Ltd has awarded a major engineering and equipment supply contract to FLSmidth for the development of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

The contract has been awarded on a limited notice to proceed (LNTP) basis, with the supply of the equipment packages being conditional on a final investment decision on the project by ioneer’s Board of Directors.

Under the contract, FLSmidth has commenced work on product engineering for the equipment packages, which include crushing and material handling equipment, plus lithium carbonate and boric acid dryers.

FLSmidth, Ioneer says, has significant experience in providing technology, equipment, engineering and services expertise to the battery minerals sector. It has a strong US presence and is committed to improving project efficiency while reducing environmental impacts on site.

FLSmidth has also introduced ioneer to Denmark’s Export Credit Agency (EKF) regarding potential financing options.

ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “The contract with FLSmidth is one of the more significant supply packages we will award at Rhyolite Ridge and represents another step in the development of the project.

“FLSmidth is focused on providing environmentally sound engineering and technology solutions. This aligns with ioneer’s ambition to not only produce materials necessary for electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure, but to do so in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner through lowered emissions, significantly reduced water usage and a small surface footprint.”

FLSmidth Mining President, Mikko Keto, said: “This contract provides clear recognition of our experience, know-how, and world-class technologies for processing lithium. It is also important to note that our localised approach and strength in service and aftermarket were important factors for ioneer when it came to choosing a partner.”

The lithium and boron resource at Rhyolite Ridge is estimated at 146.5 Mt, including a reserve of 60 Mt. The company expects to mine and process 63.8 Mt over the 26-year mine life at an average annual rate of 2.5 Mt/y. This will see it produce, on average, 22,340 t of lithium carbonate (99% purity) (years 1 to 3), 21,951 t of lithium hydroxide (99.5% purity) (year four onward) and 174,378 t boric acid (life of quarry).

ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project achieves major permitting milestone

ioneer Ltd, a lithium-boron project developer, has confirmed the issuance of a Class II Air Quality Permit for its Rhyolite Ridge project in Nevada, USA.

The issuance of the Air Quality Permit follows a detailed review of the project by the State of Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Bureau of Air Pollution Control and is a requirement for construction to commence at Rhyolite Ridge.

The project will comprise a quarry, an overburden storage facility, the first sulphuric acid plant permitted in the State of Nevada, an ore processing facility responsible for boric acid and lithium carbonate production, and a spent ore storage facility.

The project’s acid plant features MECS®/SNC Lavalin designed heat recovery technology, which means the plant will generate all the electricity and heat needed for normal operations, according to ioneer. This means the operation will be energy-independent and using co-generated zero-carbon power. The acid plant features state-of-the-art controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of plant, the company claims.

“The facility will not use fossil fuels to generate electricity during normal operations and will not draw power from the electricity grid,” the company said.

ioneer’s Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “Our commitment to responsible production is at the core of our operation. The issuance of the Class II Air Quality Permit represents a significant milestone for the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project and supports our detailed plans for a processing plant with low emissions and minimal hazardous air pollutants.

“After regulatory review and public comment period, we are pleased that Rhyolite Ridge is the first project with sulphuric acid production to receive a Class II Air Quality permit in Nevada.”

He added: “As the most advanced lithium development project in the US, we are committed to ensuring Rhyolite Ridge is a sustainable, environmentally sensitive operation that also delivers significant positive economic impact in the state of Nevada. This important step allows us to continue to develop the project and work toward construction.”

The lithium and boron resource at Rhyolite Ridge is estimated at 146.5 Mt, including a reserve of 60 Mt. The company expects to mine and process 63.8 Mt over the 26-year mine life at an average annual rate of 2.5 Mt/y.

Piedmont looks at IPCC, Metso Outotec alkaline pressure leach for lithium project

Piedmont Lithium’s plan to build out an integrated lithium hydroxide business from a base in North Carolina, USA, has advanced with the release of a scoping study that, it says, confirms that Carolina Lithium will be one of the world’s largest and lowest-cost producers of lithium hydroxide with a “superior” sustainability footprint.

Piedmont Carolina Lithium contemplates a single, integrated site, comprising quarrying, spodumene concentration, by-products processing, and spodumene conversion to lithium hydroxide at its site in Gaston County. There are currently no such integrated sites operating anywhere in the world, with the company saying the economic and environmental advantages of this strategy are compelling.

The latest study outlined a production target of around 4.96 Mt of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate (SC6), averaging approximately 248,000 t/y of SC6 over the 20-year mine life. This equates to an average of 1.95 Mt/y of ore processed, totalling some 37.4 Mt of run-of-mine ore at an average grade of 1.09% Li2O (undiluted) over the 20-year mine life.

Of the total production target of 4.96 Mt of SC6, some 1.19 Mt will be sold to third parties during the operational life and approximately 3.77 Mt will be supplied to Piedmont’s chemical plant operations for conversion into lithium hydroxide. This results in a total production target of about 582,000 t of lithium hydroxide, averaging approximately 29,095 t/y of lithium hydroxide over 20 years, the company said. The study also assumes production targets of 4.83 Mt of quartz concentrate, 7.51 Mt of feldspar concentrate, and 1.34 Mt of mica concentrate over the life of operations.

Piedmont envisages a total initial capital cost of $838.6 million for the project and an after-tax net present value (8% discount) of $1.92 billion.

While still very much preliminary, the flowsheet and mining process for this planned operation is of interest to any lithium developer looking for a ‘sustainable’ mining footprint.

The company currently envisages using a Metso Outotec alkaline pressure leach process as part of its plan. This will reduce emissions, eliminate sulphuric acid roasting and reduce solid waste, it said.

At the same time, in-pit crushing and conveyor systems are on the agenda, eliminating mining trucks in the study to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Piedmont has also been working with a solar developer to build and operate a solar farm on Piedmont property capable of producing electricity to supply up to 100% of Piedmont needs.

The company will also co-locate all operations on the same proposed site in Gaston County to minimise any transit and allow unused by-product streams to be repurposed for site redevelopment, it said. This adds up, Piedmont says, to highly efficient land and water use compared with South American lithium brine production.

Keith D Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont, said: “We are exceedingly pleased with the results of our updated scoping study. The economics of our project continue to impress, but I am particularly proud of the project’s sustainability profile.

“As we move forward to complete a definitive feasibility study for Carolina Lithium later in 2021, Piedmont has engaged Evercore and JPMorgan as financial advisors to evaluate potential strategic partnering and financing options for its North Carolina project. Given the project’s unique position as the only American spodumene project, with world-class scale, economics, and sustainability, we expect strategic interest to be robust.

NioCorp working with Weir Minerals, NRRI on Elk Creek HPGR test work

NioCorp Developments Ltd is to initiate testing of Elk Creek project ore using high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) technology from Weir Minerals.

HPGR technology is considered an energy efficient and low-emission alternative to conventional processing for reducing the size of the ore to enable the recovery of niobium, scandium, titanium, and potential rare earth products, NioCorp said.

The use of this technology in the project reinforces the company’s commitment to the environment and designing a sustainable operation, it added.

The testing is being conducted at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, in partnership with Weir Minerals. During the testing, which is expected to take several weeks, around 3 t of Elk Creek drill core will be reduced to the 1-mm size needed for hydrometallurgical test work.

Working with Weir Minerals, NRRI acquired an industrial-scale Enduron® HPGR to carry out testing on a variety of ores with this process back in 2020. This is the only large scale HPGR dedicated to research in the US, NRRI claims.

“The network is expected to provide key data that will be used to properly size the HPGR unit for the potential ore throughput at the Elk Creek project, once project financing is secured and the project is operational,” NioCorp said.

The company is currently evaluating the next steps in its overall metallurgical test work program, which will focus on optimising and streamlining the existing processing flowsheet as well as establishing process routes for the potential recovery of rare earth products. The rare earth products that are of most interest to the company are, at present, neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) oxide, terbium oxide and dysprosium oxide. As previously announced, the company has launched a review of the economic potential of expanding its currently planned product suite from the project to also include rare earth products.

An April 2019 feasibility study on Elk Creek, in Nebraska, USA, estimated average production of 7,220 t/y of ferroniobium, 95 t/y tpa of scandium trioxide and 11,642 t/y of titanium dioxide over the 36-year mine life.

Scott Honan, NioCorp COO, said: “After witnessing testing at NRRI, I was impressed with how the HPGR was able to handle the Elk Creek ore quickly and efficiently, with minimal noise and dust.

“We look forward to completing this phase of the test work and moving on to look at further improvements to the existing flowsheet, including our new emphasis around the rare earths.”