White Mountain Reports Successful Completion of Stage 2 Pilot Plant Test Work Program Culminating in Continuous 60 Hour Test Run
SANTIAGO, Chile, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — White Mountain Titanium Corporation (“White Mountain” or the “Company”) (OTC Bulletin Board: WMTM) reports that it has successfully completed a detailed Stage 2 pilot plant test work program culminating in one 60 hour continuous test run. The test work program, which was carried out at SGS Lakefield (“SGS”) in Ontario, Canada was monitored and verified by Company management, technical staff from the Santiago office of AMEC, the Company’s principal engineering consultant, and SGS engineering personnel with expertise in the beneficiation of natural rutile.
The primary objective of the Stage 2 pilot plant test work was to produce a natural rutile, titanium dioxide concentrate which meets the chemical and particulate specifications of titanium pigment and sponge metal producers. Drawing upon a process flow sheet and procedures which have been developed and refined over the past 2 years, equipment for the pilot plant was assembled over a 3 week period leading up to the commencement of the test work program. All test work was conducted on a 275 tonne bulk sample representative of currently identified, at and near surface natural rutile mineralization sourced from the Las Carolinas prospect at the Company’s Cerro Blanco project. The bulk sample, which was taken from an area of the Las Carolinas prospect which could be chosen to provide initial mine feed to a full scale process plant, assayed 2.9% TiO2.
Once assembly of the equipment was complete, the first step in the process flow sheet involved a crushing and grinding circuit. The bulk sample was delivered to SGS as bagged, -8 inch material and needed to be crushed to -1/2 inch before it could be used as raw feed material for the pilot plant. Once the sample had been crushed to -1/2 inch, a front end loader was used to deliver the plant feed material to a hopper, which in turn fed a rod mill via a 12 inch belt conveyor. The feed rate to the rod mill was set at 1.2 tonnes per hour. The rod mill discharged ground material onto a vibrating screen which separated oversize material requiring additional grinding in a ball mill from tramp material which was discharged to tailings. Through a closed circuit system involving two vibrating screens, -100 mesh materials from both the rod and ball mills was then fed to de-sliming cyclones. Cyclone underflow, which contained the majority of the entrained natural rutile, was fed to the gravity pre-concentration circuit and cyclone overflow was discharged to tailings.
The second step in the process flow sheet involved a gravity pre-concentration circuit which consisted of a fine fraction recovery cyclone as well as middlings and coarse fraction mechanical vibrating tables. The mechanical vibrating tables concentrated the higher specific gravity, natural rutile while rejecting some 50% by volume of the lower specific gravity feed material. The result of gravity pre-concentration was to upgrade the natural rutile being processed from an initial grade of 2.9% TiO2 to a grade of approximately 5.0% TiO2.
The third step in the process flow sheet involved a conventional flotation circuit. Upgraded material from the gravity pre-concentration circuit was fed first to a conditioning tank for pH adjustment and from there to a conventional flotation circuit for further recovery, concentration and cleaning. Conditioned flotation feed was first passed to rougher and scavenger flotation cells where the majority of the natural rutile was recovered and concentrated. A combination of relatively minor amounts of commercially available chemicals and injected air were introduced into the flotation cells to aid in recovery of the natural rutile. Concentrate from the rougher and scavenger floatation cells was then cleaned in 6 cleaning stages. Using a natural rutile-specific combination of flotation chemicals, SGS maintained the pH in the flotation circuit at approximately 3.5 in the rougher and scavenger cells and approximately 4.75 in the cleaning stages. Tailings from the flotation circuit could form the feed source for a feldspar recovery circuit. The Company has engaged SGS to develop a process flow sheet for the recovery of commercial feldspar concentrate from flotation tailings and the results from initial locked cycle test work at a lab scale are expected shortly.
The final step in the process flow sheet involved magnetic separation. Following the final flotation cleaning stage, the natural rutile, titanium dioxide concentrate was fed to a high intensity magnetic separator to remove magnetic and para-magnetic minerals. Magnetic separation resulted in two concentrate products: a high grade natural rutile, titanium dioxide concentrate and a magnetic and para-magnetic minerals by-product concentrate.
In their final report to the Company which gave full process details, recoveries and product grades in the respective unit recovery stages, SGS made the following statements regarding the continuous 60 hour pilot plant test run:
‘After several years of development test work, a unique treatment process was developed that is capable of producing a high grade rutile concentrate with low impurity levels.
The flow sheet and reagent scheme developed in the laboratory test work was tested in a continuous pilot plant operation. The results obtained in the lab were closely reproduced in the pilot plant.
Sufficient engineering data was collected during the pilot plant operation, which will allow for feasibility studies and future plant design.
After magnetic separation, a titanium concentrate grade assaying 97% TiO2 was produced. This is considered to be a premium grade.’
The following table provides a chemical analysis of the final product from the 60 hour test run for both + and -75 micron fractions after magnetic separation:
Table 17. Magnetic Separation Results from the Concentrate produced during Continuous Operation - Non-magnetics Element Assays +75 Micron Fraction -75 Micron Fraction Titanium TiO2 % 96.8 97.3 Iron Fe2O3 % 0.70 0.86 Silica SiO2 % 0.95 0.80 Alumina Al2O3 % 0.11 0.08 Magnesia MgO % <0.01 <0.01 Calcium CaO % 0.06 0.17 Sodium Na2O % 0.07 0.03 Potassium K2O % 0.02 0.02 Phosphorus P2O5 % <0.01 <0.01 Manganese MnO % <0.01 0.01 Chromium Cr2O3 % 0.39 0.42 Vanadium V2O5 % 0.23 0.26 LOI % 0.17 0.18
Whilst full particulate analyses will be provided in due course as the final Stage 2 reports are made available by SGS, through screening the final product at 75 microns the Company expects to be able to deliver a coarser product to potential buyers of the natural rutile, titanium dioxide concentrate for paint and pigment applications.
As previously reported, the Company has engaged SGS to further simplify the Stage 2 pilot plant process flow sheet with optimization test work. Prior to disassembling the pilot plant, SGS tested the use of spirals and Knelson concentrators in the gravity pre-concentration circuit and the use of sea water as the aqueous medium in the flotation circuit. The Company will release results from this additional test work in due course as the optimization reports are made available by SGS.
“Successful completion of the Stage 2 pilot plant test work program marks a major milestone in the advancement of the Cerro Blanco project towards a development decision,” said Michael Kurtanjek, the Company’s President and CEO. “We have now demonstrated that the process flow sheet works, not just at a lab scale but also on a continuous basis at a pilot plant scale. Results obtained from this piloting program will prove invaluable in the final design of a full scale process plant for the project. As important, we have demonstrated the ability to recover a high grade natural rutile, titanium dioxide concentrate from Cerro Blanco material at a pilot plant scale and on a continuous basis which meets the chemical and particulate specification requirements of paint and pigment buyers as well as sponge metal producers. This is a long-awaited and major achievement for our Company.”
About White Mountain Titanium Corporation
The Company holds mining concessions on the Cerro Blanco property currently consisting of 33 registered mining exploitation concessions and five mining exploration concessions in the process of being constituted, over approximately 8,225 hectares located approximately 39 kilometres west of the City of Vallenar in the Atacama, or Region III, geographic region of northern Chile. The Company’s principal objectives are to advance the Cerro Blanco project towards a final engineering feasibility, and to secure off-take contracts for the planned rutile concentrate output. It would be the intention to sell the rutile concentrate to titanium metal and pigment producers. Work also continues to investigate the commercial viability of producing a feldspar co-product. The feldspar could find applications in the glass and ceramics industries.
The OTC BB has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, geological interpretations, receipt of property titles, potential mineral recovery processes, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and, therefore, involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors — The United States Securities and Exchange Commission permits mining companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. We may use certain terms in our press releases and on our website, such as ‘reserves,’ ‘resources,’ ‘geologic resources,’ ‘proven,’ ‘probable,’ ‘measured,’ ‘indicated,’ and ‘inferred,’ that the SEC guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our annual report on Form 10K for the year ended December 31, 2008, File No. 333-129347, and in subsequent filings with the SEC. You can review and obtain copies of our filings from the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.
Contact: White Mountain Titanium Corporation Michael Kurtanjek, President (56) 2 657 1800 Brian Flower, Chairman (604) 408-2333
SOURCE White Mountain Titanium Corporation