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Beneficiation of Brannerite

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A copy of the presentation I gave at the AusIMM 2009 International Uranium Conference. It outlines some testing I conducted on a Brannerite ore to beneficiate it.

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Beneficiation of Brannerite

  1. 1. June 2009 AusIMM International Uranium Conference Amdel is a member of the Mineral Laboratories Bureau Veritas Group
  2. 2. Contents 1. Disclaimers 2. Mineralogy – know your enemy 3. Heavy Liquid Separations 4. Spiralling 5. Flotation 6. Magnetic Separations 7. Summary
  3. 3. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Acknowledgement and Disclaimer • Thanks to our client who has kindly allowed me to release this information. • The client has requested their identity NOT be disclosed so as to comply with ASX disclosure requirements. So any information that could reveal this has been withheld. • The information presented is based on lab scale testing and not plant scale. • No technicians were harmed in the production of these test results. • Copious quantities of beer were consumed in the production of this presentation and hence don’t believe anything you read. • Further for those who DON’T ask any difficult questions, the beers are on me at the bar at 5.30pm today.
  4. 4. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Brannerite – an introduction • (U4+,Ca)(Ti,Fe3+)2O6 complex • Radioactive • SG 4.2 - 5.4 • Refractory ore – more difficult to leach • Paramagnetic Courtesy: Mindat.org In our case we have 5 bulk composites from different sections of the ore body.
  5. 5. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Bulk Chemistry of our Samples Indicative Head Grades – Fusion ICP (OES & MS) CaO (1.5%) U (100-395ppm) TiO2 (0.5%) MnO (<0.01%) P2O5 (0.8%) Na2O (6.3%) Th (150-310ppm) K2O (1.8%) Fe2O3 (1.5%) MgO (1.8%) Al2O3 (14.3%) SiO2 (70%) Head grade of U from 100 to 395 ppm.
  6. 6. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Bulk Mineralogy of our Samples - QEMSCAN Others Mica Fe Mn Oxides Brannerite 1% 8% 0% 0% Pyrite 0% Quartz Rutile/anatase 24% 1% Calcite Apatite 0% 2% Thorite 0% Other Silicates 1% Feldspar 63% • Brannerite predominantly liberated or high grade middling in -1.0mm sample • Average grain size from 5 – 25 microns, but up to 250 microns top size
  7. 7. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Assay by Size • Screened from 3.35mm 1400 to 20 microns 1200 Observed 1000 • High grade U in the -20 micron fractions U (ppm) 800 • U in the large size 600 fractions • Cumulative grade by size 400 shows U evenly distributed 200 by mass 0 0.000 0.025 0.050 0.075 0.100 0.125 0.150 0.175 0.200 0.225 0.250 0.275 0.300 Size (mm) Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4 Sample 5
  8. 8. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Processing Implications from Mineralogy • Beneficiation prior to grinding unlikely to be successful • High SG likely to favour gravity separation • Concentration Criterion of 1.9-2.7 depending on SG value of Brannerite • Leach likely to involve high free acid levels 50g/L • Acid consuming minerals present in significant proportions • Presence of Mica likely to affect flotation performance • Presence of Phosphate has some possible implications for flotation • Paramagnetic properties presents magnetic separation potential Recovery the driver for this client
  9. 9. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Heavy Liquid Separations for Gravity Separation Assessment Density Gradient • Gradient of heavy liquids from low SG at top to higher SG at bottom • Eye-ball technique - qualitative • -150, +75 micron fraction • Showed potential for separation at an SG of 2.7
  10. 10. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Heavy Liquid Separations for Gravity Separation Assessment 100% 5000 • Likely to quantify the 4386 89.70% 88.10% 89.30% 90% 4500 maximum performance for 81.30% 78.90% gravity separation 80% 3633 4000 • Each sample subjected to 70% 3500 Recovery to +2.7 SG Fraction HLS at SG of 2.7 60% 3000 U Grade (ppm) • Results include -20 micron 50% 2194 2159 2500 fraction 40% 2000 • Significant rejection of 30% 1367 1500 mass by gravity 20% 1000 12.60% separation possible 10% 11.80% 7.80% 11.70% 11.70% 500 0% 0 Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4 Sample 5 Wt% U Recovery U Grade
  11. 11. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Spirals • -1.0mm feed material 100% 600 • Deslime at 250 microns 90% 519 85.5% 90.2% 84.8% prior to spiral 80% 79.6% 78.0% 500 76.3% 74.0% • Bulk Density 30% 70% 72.5% 73.2% 65.9% 400 • Flowrate ~1000kg/hour 60% U Grade (ppm) wet Recovery (%) 305 299 50% 300 271 40% 200 30% 138 20% 100 10% 0% 0 Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4 Sample 5 Wt% U Recovery U Grade
  12. 12. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Spiral Enhancement 100% 600 • Observed tail was 94.9% 534 dominated by large 90% 519 85.5% white grains 80% 500 • Deslime the tail post 70% 69.0% spiral at 250 microns 65.9% 400 60% • +250 micron tail U Grade (ppm) Recovery % comprised 90% of the 50% 300 mass and assayed at 40% 89 ppm U 200 • Suggests potential 30% for sequential 20% scavenger/cleaner 100 spiral arrangement 10% 0% 0 Sample 1 Sample 1 with Tail Deslimed at 250 microns Wt% U Recovery U Grade
  13. 13. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Sighter Flotation – 2.5L cell Range of Collectors Tested 2000 1800 1600 1400 1200 U Grade (ppm) 1000 800 600 400 200 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 U Recovery (%) mono/di phosphoric acid esther (-) fatty acid (-) alkyl hydroxamate (-) talow diamine acetate (+) • Anionic collectors performed better than the cationic one • Fatty acid achieved 79.4% recovery at a grade of 1096ppm in 26.6% of the weight.
  14. 14. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Bulk Flotation – 15L cell 100% 1600 • Increased float time 90% to 40 minutes 1400 80% • 45 floats conducted 1200 to produce a bulk 70% concentrate 60% 1000 U Grade (ppm) Recovery (%) 50% 800 40% 600 • Average U recovery 30% 89%, peaking at 95% 400 20% • Average U grade 200 1096 ppm 10% • Average mass 0% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 0 rejected 78% Float Number Wt Recovery (%) U Recovery (%) U Grade (ppm)
  15. 15. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Magnetic Separation Conducted as part of our new WHIMS commissioning • Initial Frantz testing done on a 38-212 micron split of Sample 4 • Very visual split achieved • U grade 2571ppm in 9.6% of the mass but only 61.5% recovery
  16. 16. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores AMDEL WHIMS Standard Test Sequence SAMPLE Non Mags Mags WHIMS Pass 1 WHIMS Mags WHIMS Mags Scavenger Cleaner 1 Non Non Non Mags Mags WHIMS Mags Mags Cleaner 2 Non Mags WHIMS Mags Cleaner 3 TAIL MIDS CON
  17. 17. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Magnetic Separation 100% 3500 90% 87.9% 2930 83.7% 3000 • Test at 2 magnetic 80% intensities, 10kG and 2436 73.7% 74.1% 2500 18kG 70% • High intensity expected 60% 2000 U Grade (ppm) Recovery (%) to be required for 50% paramagnetic 43.3% 1500 Brannerite 40% 34.7% • Significantly different 30% 1000 behaviour amongst 20.9% 18.0% 833 811 20% the two samples 500 tested 10% 0% 0 Sample 1 - WHIMS 10kG Sample 1 - WHIMS 18kG Sample 4 - WHIMS 10kG Sample 4 - WHIMS 18kG Wt% U Recovery U Grade
  18. 18. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Quick Comparison of the Three Beneficiation Techniques 100% 1200 90% 1000 80% 70% 800 60% U Grade (ppm) Recovery %) 50% 600 40% 400 30% 20% 200 10% 0% 0 Spiral Flotation Magnetic Separation Beneficiation Method Wt% U Recovery U Grade
  19. 19. Beneficiation of Uranium Brannerite Ores Glimpse of Next Stage Leach, IX and SX • Up to 95% U extraction but at some significant acid consumptions ~254kg/T • IX and SX results to come
  20. 20. Questions… PS don’t forget beers on me at 5.30pm today.

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