King River Streamlines HPA Production For Speewah Dome

Access to King River’s Speewah Dome project.

King River Resources program of metallurgical test work has hit upon a simplified purification process to produce a high-purity precursor compound to streamline the manufacture of a 4N HPA end product. The test work forms part of the company’s pre-feasibility study, or “PFS” over its giant Speewah speciality metals project in WA’s Kimberley region.

King River said its new precursor compound shows low levels of deleterious contaminants, with undesirable elements such as sodium, potassium, silica, iron calcium and magnesium, assaying at less than one part per million. This precursor is then calcinated, roasted at 1,200 degrees Celsius, and washed to manufacture of a 4N HPA product, streamlining the overall processing circuit and guaranteeing the product meets end-user specifications.

4N HPA is 99.99 per cent high purity aluminium, or “HPA” oxide, the second-highest purity alumina, and has many uses in the technology industry. Applications for HPA include LED lighting, diodes, lasers, optical lenses, semi-conductors, and toughened glass.

However, 4N HPA is also fast becoming the compound of choice in the burgeoning lithium battery market as it is used to coat separators between the battery’s components, thereby improving the safety characteristics of the battery.

King River said its Speewah PFS had focused on the production of HPA, with any future potential co-products from the Speewah ores, including vanadium, titanium, and iron, not included in this initial study.

The company’s Speewah Dome project is located 110 kilometres south-west of Kununurra on the eastern margin of the Kimberley block in Western Australia. The project covers over 650 square kilometres of the Speewah Dome where the company hosts Australia’s largest vanadiferous titanomagnetite deposit.

The Speewah Dome tips the scales at a mammoth 4.7 billion tonnes at 0.3 per cent vanadium pentoxide, 3.3 per cent titanium oxide and 14.7 per cent iron. It also hosts a higher grade core at Speewah Central that tips the scales at 1.24 million tonne grading 12.5 per cent alumina and 4.7 per cent magnesia, along with 0.31 per cent vanadium pentoxide, 3.3 per cent titanium oxide and 14.6 per cent iron. This higher-grade core would likely provide initial feed for any developing operation.

King River is now refining the calcination process to ensure no contamination is introduced during the heating process and an independent ‘umpire’ laboratory is assaying the resultant 4N HPA product to validate the low contamination levels.

The company said its simplified process to produce the HPA precursor emboldened it to look at a site in Perth’s industrial estate at a lower capital outlay than a Kimberley based plant. The move would further reduce its permitting requirements and eliminate the need for an acid plant adjacent to the developing Speewah operations.

King River expects to release its completed PFS for the Speewah Dome in the coming months.

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