Review of Operations
Yangibana Project (70-100%)
Metallurgical Test Work - Yangibana Project
A series of test programmes were completed during the period to improve collector reagent consumption and operating cost, and optimising and improving the process recovery performance for a more competitive and efficient process flow, with the following results:
- An alternative collector reagent for the beneficiation process was identified and successfully tested during the period that can deliver superior upgrade performance of the mineralisation, with significantly lower operating costs.
- The annual cost saving is estimated to be 25% lower than the figure used in the pre-feasibility study announced in April 2016.
- Successfully completed the comminution test program and concluded the process design criteria for the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS).
- Completed several preliminary thickening and filtration test works on the Yangibana rougher tailings and the final flotation concentrate samples and the design specifications are well understood.
- The hydrometallurgical process conditions for different grades of concentrate have been developed and optimised.
- The behaviour of impurities through the hydrometallurgical process has been well identified and the relevant technologies/processes for removal of key impurities have been well developed and defined.
- Test work to determine conditions required to generate a rare earths carbonate product with the required physical and chemical characteristics is currently being undertaken. Good progress has been made in understanding critical process parameters which impact physical properties and quality of the rare earth carbonate.
Planning is well advanced for the major pilot plant campaigns. The pilot plants for both beneficiation and hydrometallurgy are scheduled to run in Q1, 2017. Variability studies will be carried out for varying ore body once the beneficiation pilot plant run is complete.
A number of environmental studies were completed in the second half of calendar 2016, which forms part of the environmental approvals documentation. As part of the permitting process, in Q4 2016 Hastings referred the Project to the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE), and on 30 January 2017 Hastings referred the Project to the Western Australian Government's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). In consultation with the Commonwealth and State governments, the Yangibana Project will undergo a formal environmental assessment in 2017, which will be administered by the EPA for both the State and Commonwealth agencies under an accredited process.
As reported in the Company's 2016 Annual Report, a major drilling programme commenced in June 2016 to provide a large composite sample from Bald Hill and Fraser's deposits for pilot plant testwork. This drilling also aimed to increase and upgrade the resources at these two deposits.
Drilling to test the north-eastern extension to the Fraser's deposit, returned best intersections of 5m (37-42) at 1.20%TREO including 0.56%Nd2O3+Pr2O in FRRC102 and 2m (8-10) at 2.06%TREO including 0.96%Nd2O3+Pr2O in FRRC104.
A high-resolution (30m height and 25m flight line spacing) airborne magnetic and radiometric survey over the Yangibana area was conducted.
Southern Geoscience Consultants Pty Limited (SGC) carried out a litho-structural interpretation of aeromagnetic and radiometric data to identify rare earths targets. The detailed survey data delineated numerous rare earths-bearing vein targets and structural sites that control mineralisation.
The radiometric data (see Figure 1 in the link below) was used to identify thorium anomalies, likely mapping monazite-bearing ferrocarbonatite veins. The magnetic data (see Figure 2 in the link below) was used to map structures such as faults and shear zones that may control the ferrocarbonatite veins, along with the lithological units and contacts.
A total of 108 thorium anomalies were identified, summarised as 22 priority areas of significant exploration interest (see Figure 3 in the link below) of which 11 areas have received only limited testing to date.
Hastings subsequently drill tested a number of targets in the Fraser's Southwest area. Best results were returned from Auer and Auer North prospects.
Of the approximately 1.4km of the Auer prospect, continuous mineralisation has been intersected over 800m.
Auer North was drilled over 1.6km with mineralisation of economic interest identified in three 250m long zones.
The Auer North mineralisation remains open at depth and to the north. Further drilling is warranted to the north, at depth beneath the three mineralised zones, and in the gaps between the three mineralised zones.
Three holes drilled outside of the western limits of the current resources at Bald Hill returned significant results.
The intersection in hole BHW04 remains open at depth and provides the highest accumulation, at 17.7m%(Nd2O3+Pr2O3) (43m%TREO), returned from all drilling at the Yangibana Project since commencement of exploration. Mineralogy on samples from the mineralised intersection in BHW04 established that the rare earths are associated with monazite, with minor bastnaesite. This mineralisation is expected to have similar processing characteristics to the Eastern Belt-style mineralisation. This intersection lies to the west of the western limit to the Bald Hill South mineralisation in this area as shown in Figure 6 (see the link below). It establishes a new major target with potential to host the higher value Eastern Belt-style mineralisation to depth and along strike to the northwest and southeast.
Brockman Project (100%)
During the period, Hastings engaged consultants to undertake the work necessary to register a Mining Lease Application over its ten Prospecting Licenses covering the Brockman rare metals and heavy rare earths project.
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About Hastings Technology Metals Ltd
Hastings Technology Metals Ltd (ASX:HAS) (FRA:5AM) is currently developing a rare earths mine and processing plant at Yangibana in the Gascoyne Region of Western Australia. The processing plant is anticipated to commence production of MREC in 2H 2019. Hastings has completed both beneficiation and hydrometallurgy pilot plants, in the process producing MREC samples which are high in neodymium and praseodymium content. These are critical materials for the production of permanent magnets and other technology applications. The MREC will be capable of being further refined and treated to produce a number of separated rare earth oxides outside of Australia. Hastings estimates an annual production quantity of 15,000 tonnes of MREC, which it will sell to offtake partners.
The Yangibana Project hosts JORC Resources totalling 17.02 million tonnes at 1.27% TREO (comprising Measured Resources of 2.92 million tonnes at 1.04% TREO, Indicated Resources of 7.19 million tonnes at 1.43% TREO and Inferred Resources of 6.90 million tonnes at 1.21% TREO), including 0.41% Nd2O3+Pr6O11.
Hastings Technology Metals Ltd