Rambler Metals and Mining plc ('Rambler' or the 'Company'), a copper and gold producer operating in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, today announces that, in conjunction with support from the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador ('RDC'), the group will complete the final phase of test work to determine the operating parameters of pre-concentrating mineralized material from the Lower Footwall Zone ('LFZ') of the Company's operating Ming Mine through dense media separation ('DMS').
The economic viability of the LFZ, which has a measured and indicated resource estimate of 18.2 million tonnes grading 1.43 per cent copper, was first demonstrated in April 2012 through a Preliminary Economic Analysis ('PEA'). (See Company press release 30 April 2012)
In an effort to reduce the capital and operating costs associated with the LFZ as per the PEA, Rambler has been investigating cost-saving ore pre-concentration techniques that could significantly reduce material handling requirements and potentially enable the use of the Company's fully permitted and operating Nugget Pond Processing Facility in lieu of building a new stand-alone copper concentrator as was envisioned in the PEA.
The mineralization of the Lower Footwall Zone is characteristically different in that it consists of heavy lower grade copper rich stringer sulphides hosted within a lighter weight chlorite schist. The initial phase of bench scale and mini-pilot process, developed with the assistance of RDC funding, has revealed that physical separation of the heavier from the lighter rock using DMS is possible. Effectively, the DMS process will increase the grade of copper in the LFZ by removing 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the lighter waste host rock with copper recoveries averaging 95 per cent. In terms of grade improvement, the mini-pilot using run of mine material from the LFZ grading 1.39 per cent copper returned a pre-concentrate grade of 2.27 per cent copper (an upgrade ratio of 1.63).
As a continuation of RDC's previously successful DMS test work with Thibault and Associates Inc., the group is planning to implement an on-site demonstration DMS plant to scale-up the process and prove the technology for its application. Once the technology demonstration is complete and operating parameters are optimized, this project will serve as the basis of a pre-feasibility study with the goal of moving the LFZ resources into the mine reserve.
RDC's initial contribution of $250,000 in 2013 helped provide the groundwork for the on-site demonstration plant program scheduled for this fall, for which RDC has again provided support with an additional $750,000 investment.
Glenn Janes, Chief Executive Officer of RDC, commented,
"The use of a proven technology for this new application has tremendous potential. The possibility of adding years to the life of the mine has immense implications on the prospective long term economic benefit to the region, and on the mining industry in Newfoundland and Labrador."
Norman Williams, President and CEO of Rambler Metals and Mining, commented,
"Since the initial release of the LFZ Preliminary Economic Assessment in 2012 the group has been engaged in various optimization studies focused directly on reducing the capital requirements of a potential expansion into the sizeable LFZ resource, while better utilizing the existing infrastructure at the mine and mill sites.
"I am pleased to report that the group is on track to begin the demonstration plant project over the coming months, with results expected in the first half of calendar 2015.
"The pre-concentrate produced from the demonstration plant, approximately 200 metric tonnes per day, will be processed on top of the existing planned production presented in the fiscal guidance. A new two-stage crushing unit has been purchased which, in addition to providing various feed sizes for the DMS project, will be incorporated into the existing operation with an aim to further increase mill throughput.
"A full review of the possible increases in production will be evaluated following the completion of the DMS project."
RDC works with research and development stakeholders including business, academia and government agencies to make strategic investments in people, R&D opportunities, and infrastructure. Additional information on RDC can be found at: www.rdc.org.