THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Metallica Minerals (ASX: MLM) has received the results of a recently-completed Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) conducted on the company’s 100 per cent-owned SCONI (scandium-cobalt-nickel) project, located northwest of Townsville in Queensland.
The PFS was based on a High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) processing plant treating 200,000 tonnes per annum of high-grade Lucknow scandium laterite resource from the company’s 100 per cent-owned Lucknow deposit.
The Lucknow deposit is a near-surface scandium resource (less than 35 meters depth), which is situated 12 kilometres by road from the company’s proposed Greenvale HPAL plant.
According to the company the project will produce 50 to 65 tonnes per annum of high-purity (greater than 99.9 per cent) scandia over a 20 year life operation.
SCONI project locality and regional setting. Source: Company announcement
“The PFS supports the company’s strategy of focussing on the SCONI project where it has the opportunity to potentially become the world’s first, major long-term reliable producer of scandium from a primary scandium deposit,” Metallica Minerals managing director Andrew Gillies said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Metallica explained SCONI Phase 1 has been designed as a commercial stand-alone project, which has been supported by the economic results from the PFS.
The company is confident Phase 1 could lead to a development decision for the, much larger, Phase 2 brownfields expansion at a later date, subject to economic conditions at that time.
Phase 2 is anticipated to process 750,000tpa (in addition to the SCONI Phase 1 of 200,000tpa) producing nickel-cobalt and scandium products from the company’s SCONI Southern Resources.
“The PFS has shown SCONI Phase 1 (scandium only) to have attractive economics with solid upside potential,” Gillies continued.
“In addition, it is an ideal precursor for the much larger potential full scale Phase 2 nickel-cobalt-scandium operation proposed as future major expansion seeking to maximise the utilisation of the SCONI nickel cobalt scandium resource base.
“Scandium production could then be substantially expanded and project life extended.”