Metallurgical testing at Aston Minerals’ (ASX: ASO) Bardwell prospect in Canada has confirmed the amenability of beneficiating lower grade nickel-cobalt sulphide mineralisation into a saleable concentrate.
The Perth-based explorer today revealed results from testing at the Boomerang nickel-cobalt target (containing Bardwell) within its flagship Edleston project in Ontario.
It reported conventional flotation concentration techniques on disseminated mineralisation present in a Bardwell diamond drill hole has produced saleable concentrate grading at 12.27% nickel, 0.48% cobalt, 19.5% sulphur, 36.5% iron and 10.3% magnesium oxide.
A 54.2% nickel recovery was achieved on an open circuit basis through rougher flotation and a three-stage cleaning circuit, with 71.8% nickel recovered to a rougher flotation concentrate.
Aston managing director Dale Ginn said the testing confirms the ability of the lower grade mineralisation to be beneficiated using conventional methods to a saleable concentrate.
“The composite interval approximates the interval from [Bardwell drill hole] DDED22- 082, which reported 83m at 0.44% nickel and 0.017% cobalt within a broader interval of 159.71m at 0.36% nickel and 0.013% cobalt,” he said.
This latest testwork builds upon the initial round of testing reported in late May, which similarly resulted in the production of a saleable concentrate.
“We are strongly encouraged by the relatively high recovery levels considering that this testwork is only in its early stages and is being completed on an open circuit basis,” Mr Ginn said.
“The ongoing drilling program we have underway at Bardwell has confirmed the presence of nickel-cobalt sulphides to a maximum vertical depth of 680m and is still open at depth,” he added.
Future work at Bardwell
Resource definition drilling is underway at the Bardwell prospect, which has currently tested a mineralised strike of about 2km.
Meanwhile, testing of lower grade domains of mineralisation from Bardwell is underway with a geometallurgical model being developed based on increased metallurgical characteristics of mineralisation.
In addition, the mineralisation potential of Bardwell is being developed in detail with an exploration target range being evaluated.
June quarter highlights
In a separate announcement, Aston provided an update on its activities for the three months ended June.
Highlights included its saleable nickel-cobalt concentrate produced at Bardwell, as well as further exploration success at the Edleston project.
The company completed a $29.25 million capital raise at the end of the March quarter with funds received during the June quarter. This included subscriptions by Aston executive chairman Tolga Kumova and corporate director Rob Jewson for $2.5 million and $250,000, respectively.
As at 30 June, Aston recorded a cash and cash equivalents balance of $19.45 million.
While Aston is focused on its Canadian project, it also holds 100% interests in mining tenements in Slovakia, Finland and Sweden. No exploration activity was reported at these projects during the quarter.