FYI Resources (ASX: FYI) has optimised its process flowsheet to use kaolin feedstock from its Cadoux project in Western Australia for the refining of high purity alumina (HPA), believing the proposed design should lead to cost-effective processing of the material.
The emerging producer today provided the market with an outline of the flowsheet design, which marks the completion of the prefeasibility phase of metallurgical test work.
The news follows the company’s announcement at the start of September that independent metallurgical testing had confirmed a consistent HPA grade ranging between 99.996% to 99.997%.
FYI’s flowsheet has been specifically designed for Cadoux kaolin feedstock, with the company noting that no two ore bodies are the same in their character and content.
According to the company, the metallurgical response to the unique characteristics of the Cadoux kaolin has been “excellent” in achieving HPA purity levels.
“As a result, the processing flowsheet is straightforward and effective. This is expected to positively impact on the capital and operating costs of the HPA project,” FYI stated.
HPA is a high-grade form of non-metallurgical alumina with a purity level of 99.99% or above.
The material is used in LEDs and coating cathode and anode electrode separators sheets in lithium-ion batteries.
Demand for HPA has increased in recent times, riding on the back of the battery minerals boom.
Kaolin, or aluminous clay, is an ideal feedstock for the processing of HPA as it is less expensive than refined aluminium (the traditional feedstock) and has a higher aluminium grade than industrial waste or other by-product industrial sources.
FYI believes its Cadoux kaolin deposit in Western Australia exhibits excellent grade and qualities, the geology and mineralogy are uncomplicated and well understood, and the ore is amenable to the process, making it a very low-cost input.
According to the company, the optimised process flow sheet would form the basis of process design, equipment selection and equipment sizing for its proposed Cadoux HPA project.
FYI managing director Roland Hill said the company’s focus was on building a quality HPA strategy as well as delivering a superior investment return to shareholders.
“Operating margins and capital costs are important to our business case,” he said.
“We expect our extensive defining test work program and resulting flow sheet optimisation to bear fruit for us by having a material impact on the project economics,” Hill added.
Along with its process consultants Independent Metallurgical Operations and GR Engineering Services, FYI said it would continue to refine the flow sheet to enhance process efficiencies and further cut down on capital and operating costs.
In addition, a revised mineral resource estimate has been assigned for completion by CSA Global.
FYI shares rose 11.7% to $0.105 on the news by afternoon trade.