Alumina-focussed Hill End Gold (ASX: HEG) has yielded “exceptional” results from initial metallurgical test work at its Yendon high purity alumina project in Victoria, paving the way for the company to kick-off its pre-feasibility study metallurgical work.
Conventional processing was used on the company’s Yendon kaolin deposit to produce the 99.995% pure alumina, with minimal contaminants.
According to Hill End Gold, the results “de-risk” the project and open the door for the company to carry out detailed metallurgical test work as part of its pre-feasibility study.
“These results demonstrate that Hill End’s high-quality kaolin can be successfully converted into the high purity alumina that the market is seeking,” Hill End Gold chairman Graham Reveleigh said.
“Importantly, the test work also indicates that our kaolin feed stock can be processed simply and quickly using the standard approach,” he said.
High purity alumina has two main markets including as a feedstock for synthetic sapphire substrates for LED lights, and as a separator coating in lithium-ion batteries.
With both markets rapidly expanding, high purity alumina is in strong demand.
After receiving the positive results, Hill End Gold has kept BHM Processing on to manage the more detailed metallurgical testwork for the pre-feasibility study.
As part of the pre-feasibility testwork, enough high purity alumina samples will be generated to send to potential offtake partners for testing.
The company also aims to refine its flow sheet, equipment size, capital and operating costs to develop a competitive high purity alumina operation.
Hill End Gold recently completed drilling at Yendon to firm up a resource estimate, which it anticipates will be announced to the market by the end of the month.
The positive metallurgical test work follows a board overhaul in December last year that resulted in the then chairman and managing director Philip Bruce stepping down. Mr Reveleigh replaced Mr Bruce and the company is still seeking a managing director.
Hill End Gold has only been the high purity alumina project owner since mid-2017 when it purchased the holding company Pure Alumina Pty Ltd from mining magnates Tolga Kumova and Tom Eadie.
As part of the acquisition, Mr Kumova and Mr Eadie remain associated with the project, with Mr Kumova also becoming a substantial holder in Hill End Gold at the end of December, bringing his stake in the company to 6.72%.
Mr Kumova is best known for his current representation on Slovakia-focussed European Cobalt’s (ASX: EUC) and emerging zinc miner New Century Resources’ boards. After founding Syrah Resources in 2010, Mr Kumova remains as an advisor after stepping down from his managing director role in October 2016.
Mr Eadie is also non-executive director of New Century.
By late afternoon trade, Hill End Gold’s share price was steady at A$0.19.