Junior explorer Corazon Mining (ASX: CZN) put some charge into its share price this morning after announcing a successful completion of its phase 3 metallurgical testwork at the Mount Gilmore cobalt-copper-gold project in New South Wales.
Corazon shares were up 30% to A$0.013 per share after the company said it could potentially be able to produce high-grade cobalt concentrate with the potential to supply the emerging global battery technology sector.
The junior explorer and mining hopeful said that its testwork had demonstrated exceptional recovery rates of cobalt as high as 7.38% cobalt, as well as yielding 9.28% copper and 4.10g/t gold from drill samples.
The testwork results mark the third stage of a continuing process that Corazon has gradually improved over time since its phase 1 program in March last year.
Corazon says it is utilising pressure oxidation (POX) to deliver separate high-quality cobalt and copper sulphates with gold captured separately from the POX residue.
The residue from a large-scale POX test, which contained 3.39 g/t gold, underwent bulk leach extractable gold testing. Analysis of the BLEG results indicated that 99.9% of the gold was recovered on an assayed head-grade basis.
Corazon says that pressure oxidisation is a well-used and understood process which the company identified as being the preferred process route due to its potentially lower cost, processing adaptability for variable mineralisation and its capacity to deliver environmentally stable and controlled waste products.
With its extraction process better understood, Corazon was able to harness POX to improve extraction proficiency up to 98.91% cobalt and 96.70% copper. Corazon’s final cobalt sulphate product had a purity of 99.8-99.9% based on the impurities measured and detected, the company said.
Largely unloved until recent years, cobalt is welcoming a new era of soaring demand and prices, sparked by the metal’s growing use in lithium-ion batteries.
As increasingly more devices take advantage of lithium-ion batteries, so too has cobalt demand flourished in parallel.
The industrial shift has welcomed dozens of new cobalt explorers onto the ASX and converted many existing resource companies into cobalt foragers.
With today’s cobalt processing news in hand, Corazon thinks it could well be able to forge its own high-grade cobalt supply line into global markets.
The combination of high grade concentrates and very high recoveries delivered in the testwork provides Corazon with the opportunity to potentially either produce a high-value bulk concentrate for direct sale or to develop an in-house down-stream processing plant.
Aside from its laboratory work aimed at identifying the best way to processing its Mr Gilmore cobalt endowment, Corazon is also pursuing exploration progress at Mt Gilmore with a series of drill targets expected to be defined later this year.
Corazon said it expects drilling will target mineralisation contiguous with Cobalt Ridge for resource definition purposes, as well as new areas prospective for cobalt mineralisation that are being identified by the current phase of regional exploration.