Los Andes Copper Ltd (CVE:LA) (OTCMKTS:LSANF) (FRA:L41A) told investors Wednesday that refining the potential processing method at its flagship Vizcachitas project in Chile could improve recoveries of copper and molybdenum.
Further metallurgical work on the ore from the project has shown that altering the flotation conditions could improve recovery of both metals.
READ: Los Andes Copper advancing flagship Vizcachitas project, which is set to be Chile's next copper mine
In 2019, a sample from the upper zone of the orebody was sent to the lab for a rougher flotation assessment, and showed copper and moly recoveries, compared to the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) formula, were improved by 3% and 6% respectively, the firm noted.
"The ongoing PFS metallurgical test work in 2020 has confirmed these improvements," it added.
"A new composite sample from the first 12 years of the mine plan was tested using both the PEA and PFS flotation formulas. The PFS formula shows an improved rougher recovery of 2.8% for copper and 7.8% for molybdenum over the PEA formulas." The improvement was achieved by decreasing pH, lowering the solids percentage of the slurry and adding a stronger frother.
Executive chairman of the copper mine developer Fernando Porcile added that the test work had further enhanced "the project economics of an already robust project".
He added that the ongoing pre-feasibility study for the asset had already also confirmed the use of high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) technology (as opposed to SAG or ball mills) and validated the use of dry-stacked tailings.
"These technologies put the Vizcachitas project at the forefront of the environmentally responsible practices being adopted for the future of sustainable mining globally," he said.
The Vizcachitas copper-molybdenum porphyry project in Chile is set to become the country's next copper mine. It has good infrastructure links and already hosts a measured and indicated resources of 11.2 billion pounds of copper, 400 million pounds of molybdenum and 43.3 million ounces of silver.
The project is currently at pre-feasibility stage (PFS) after a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in 2019 showed the project's compelling economics.
Using a copper price of US$3.50 a pound, the after-tax net present value (NPV) was pegged at US$2.7 billion, while the internal rate of return (IRR) was 26.7%.
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