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Global Geoscience Produces Boric Acid at Rhyolite Ridge

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) has produced premium quality boric acid from the company’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Global Geoscience boasted the boric acid contains very low levels of impurities and was produced using a conventional flowsheet developed for the Rhyolite Ridge Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS).

“These very pleasing results confirm that a high-quality boric acid product can be produced at the mine site using conventional commercial processes,” Global Geoscience managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We expect this, combined with low-cost mining and leaching, to translate into very competitive boric acid costs and likely to be at the lower end of our expectations.

“Over the past twelve months we have built a very strong borates team with many decades of experience and that has provided us with a deep understanding of the global borates market.

“This wealth of experience will be critical as we transform Rhyolite Ridge into a major producer of premium boron and lithium products.”

Global Geoscience explained that part of its ongoing metallurgical testwork program is the production of boric acid and lithium carbonate using the flowsheet developed for the PFS.

The company declared this testwork demonstrates the ability to produce marketable products using a process flowsheet that can be scaled up for commercial production.

In the current test program, lithium and boron are being leached from coarse crushed rock using sulphuric acid in 200 litre vats.

The pregnant leach solution (PLS) then undergoes a series of evaporation and crystallisation steps to remove the boric acid. The boric acid is then purified using conventional steps including washing, filtration and recrystallisation.

No reagents are used in the production of boric acid.

“With the majority of global supply and reserves of borates being in Turkey, we are confident that Global Geoscience will be welcomed as the third major supplier of boric acid globally,” Rowe continued.

“The Rhyolite Ridge Pre-Feasibility Study is on track for completion during the current quarter.

“The PFS is expected to demonstrate the strong economics of developing Rhyolite Ridge into a major, low-cost, near-term producer of lithium carbonate and boric acid.”

 

Website: www.globalgeo.com.au

 

Global Geoscience Completes $53M Placement

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) is $53 million richer following the completion of an underwritten institutional placement.

Global Geoscience said the placement was heavily oversubscribed, saying this reflected strong support for the company from a combination of existing shareholders and new high-quality institutional investors, and their collective interest in the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Global Geoscience said the equity raising will provide the company with the necessary funding to accelerate the development of Rhyolite Ridge by funding the:

Completion of feasibility studies;
Drilling to infill and extend the current resource; and
Ongoing working capital and potential long lead time items.

“The Rhyolite Ridge Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and environmental approval process are anticipated to be complete by 2H19,” Global Geoscience said in its ASX announcement.

 

Website: www.globalgeo.com.au

Global Geoscience Unveils Rhyolite Ridge Development Plans

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) unveiled additional development plan details for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Global Geoscience explained the development flowsheet is based on findings from the recently completed first phase of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) and comprises three key parts:

Sulphuric acid leach to extract lithium and boron from crushed rock into a Pregnant Leach Solution (PLS).
A step similar to acid leaching commonly used in oxide copper mines;

Evaporation and concentration of the PLS followed by crystallisation of boric acid.
Using mechanical evaporators, which result in a substantial water savings, the PLS is further concentrated. The boric acid product is then further refined by flotation and recrystallisation to produce high-purity boric acid. This step is broadly similar to the process used at Rio Tinto’s Boron Mine in California; and

Further evaporation and concentration of the PLS to allow for removal of remaining impurites via precipitation and ion exchange, followed by precipitation of lithium carbonate.
This step is very similar to the process used in lithium brine operations.

Global Geoscience detailed the Rhyolite Ridge site layout, saying it has been designed with the total surface disturbance footprint of the mine and related facilities being less than one square mile (640 acres), allowing the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to consider the project for the Environmental Assessment (EA) process, which the company indicated was less time consuming than the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process.

The site layout includes an open pit, process plant, haul roads, overburden storage, leach residue storage and salt storage.

No evaporation ponds or tailings dams are required.

“Our PFS work to date has provided a clear path to developing Rhyolite Ridge into a major, low-cost producer of lithium and boron in an environmentally sustainable manner,” Global Geoscience managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We are prudently progressing Rhyolite Ridge toward production and remain on track to release the PFS outcomes in Q3 2018.”

Global Geoscience said it expects to complete the necessary environmental baseline studies by the end of Q3 2018.

Once this work is complete and it has submitted the Plan of Operations to the BLM, the BLM will make the determination regarding the Environment Assessment pathway forward for permitting and approval.

 

Website: www.globalgeo.com.au

 

Global Geoscience Completes Rhyolite Ridge PFS Phase 1

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) has completed the first phase of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Global Geoscience said the critical trade-off studies it conducted for the PFS had demonstrated a clear path forward for the project while highlighting the potential for Rhyolite Ridge to be a major, low-cost producer of lithium and boron in an environmentally sustainable manner that uses self-generated, zero-carbon power and minimises both water usage and surface disturbance.

Trade-off studies completed as Phase 1 of the PFS included Vat Leaching resulting in this being the preferred leaching method.

The study found it provides a more controlled leach environment with higher concentrations of lithium and boron into the pregnant leach solution (PLS).

Less evaporation of the PLS is required because of the higher initial concentrations, resulting in fewer mechanical evaporators and lower power consumption.

The upshot is materially lower capital and operating costs compared to alternative leaching techniques.

Global Geoscience claims Rhyolite Ridge as a global front-runner to become the first mine to recover lithium using the proven and well understood vat leaching method.

An on-site acid plant has been selected as the source of sulphuric acid providing substantially lower sulphuric acid cost estimated at $20 to 30 per tonne including credit for steam and power generation used in the operation.

“Sulphuric acid is an important economic driver for the project, and the combination of vat leaching together with an on-site acid plant will substantially lower the cost of acid, thus reducing the overall operating costs,” Global Geoscience managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“An acid plant will produce large amounts of steam that can be used for heating in the processing plant and for generation of electricity via steam-driven turbines with excess power available for selling into the grid.

“Steam produced from the acid plant negates the high input costs normally associated with mechanical evaporation.

“Vat leaching, coupled with mechanical evaporation, produces the most concentrated pregnant leach solution with consistent composition, thus simplifying downstream processing.

“With the critical trade-off analysis completed, the PFS is on track to be completed in mid-2018 with the outcomes scheduled to be released in Q3 2018.”

 

Website: www.globalgeo.com.au

 

Global Geoscience: Lithium and Boron on Equal Terms

THE INSIDE STORY: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) is developing a unique dual-streamed lithium-boron deposit, ideally located in the United States in proximity to a growing potential customer base.

Global Geoscience’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project is in the US state of Nevada is close to existing infrastructure and just 25 kilometres west of Albermarle’s Silver Peak lithium mine and 340km from the Tesla Gigafactory near Reno.

Rhyolite Ridge is one of the largest lithium and boron deposits in North America and has the potential to become a strategic, long-life and low-cost source of lithium and boron.

Being a dual-stream lithium and boron deposit, neither being by-products as they are two co-products, Rhyolite Ridge has the potential of producing equal revenue streams for both commodities, which places the project within a category of its own.

The Rhyolite Ridge project has a total Indicated and Inferred Resource that currently stands at 460 million tonnes at 0.9 per cent lithium carbonate and 2.6 per cent boric acid, containing 4.1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate and 11.9 million tonnes of boric acid.

The high-grade lithium-boron component of the Resource is estimated at 137 million tonnes at 1800ppm lithium (equivalent to 0.9% lithium carbonate) and 1.26 per cent boron (equivalent to 7.2% boric acid), with 75 per cent of the Resource in the Indicated category.

Global Geoscience has already demonstrated lithium and boron can be readily extracted by simple heap leach processing with high recoveries.

The company carried out heap leach processing of Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron mineralisation returning lithium and boron recoveries of 88 to 92 per cent.

Metallurgical and environmental studies are in progress as part of the overall Rhyolite Ridge Pre-Feasibility Study, which is scheduled for completion in the second half of the year.

Global Geoscience is looking at Rhyolite Ridge in terms of it supporting a long-life mining operation at rates of 2 million tonnes per annum to 4 million tonnes per annum.

At present, the company is considering two development paths: the first being a smaller 2 million tonnes per annum starter pit based on a 26 million tonnes resource, and the second, a larger, unconstrained pit based on an 87 million tonnes Resource able to support 4 million tonnes per annum.

The smaller starter pit is winning at this stage as it has the potential to be granted fast tracked permitting by the US Government.

Independent metallurgical testwork has shown that simple, low-cost heap leach processes can be used to extract lithium and boron at high recovery rates into a Pregnant Leach Solution (PLS), from which lithium and boron can be removed through crystallisation and purification steps to produce lithium carbonate and boric acid at the mine.

Being able to extract lithium and boron via heap leaching at modest acid consumption rates means the project can operate using lower capital and operating costs when compared to other forms of acid leaching such as agitation (tank) leaching that require crushing, grinding, filtration and leach tanks.

It also demands substantially lower capital and operating costs to those involved with hard rock lithium deposits (spodumene, mica, clay) that require beneficiation and high-temperature conversion or roasting to liberate the lithium from the lithium-bearing minerals.

Assuming a processing rate of 2 million tonnes per annum of ore, the project would generate revenue of about US$240 million per annum split equally between lithium carbonate (US$8,000/t conservative long-term pricing) and boric acid ($800/t).

The company believes operating margins of 100 per cent are achievable with Rhyolite Ridge producing lithium carbonate and boric acid at roughly half the long-term prices being used.

“It doesn’t really matter how big a deposit is or where it is, if it isn’t going to be economic then it will not be viable,” Global Geoscience managing director Bernard Rowe told The Resources Roadhouse.

“Being a low-cost of production project due to its the unique mineralogy, Rhyolite Ridge allows us to consider heap-leach/vat-leach type options for the extraction of the lithium and the boron.

“Rhyolite Ridge is the only deposit in the world of lithium or boron, certainly of lithium, that has been demonstrated to be processable by heap-leach or vat-leach.

The advantage of either processing route means less preparation is needed before leaching the ore and that the company will basically just need to crush the ore then pour on the acid with no secondary crushing, grinding, or beneficiating required.

“It is a simple operation, we just dig it, crush it, then leach it,” Rowe said.

“At Rhyolite Ridge the minerals containing the boron and the lithium are quite soluble in relatively dilute acid, which we demonstrated by reducing the feedstock crush size to minus 38 millimetres from the minus 150 millimetres in earlier tests.

“Once you put the acid on it you produce a solution, from which you crystallise the lithium and boron, it is a simple flowsheet.

“Realistically, there are no other lithium deposits in the world where utilising this sort of flowsheet is being contemplated.

“Clearly that can’t be done with a spodumene deposit and the other sedimentary types, like lithium clays, also require high-temperature roasting for other reasons, but essentially it is not suitable to try and leach clay deposits with the diluted acid we are talking about at Rhyolite Ridge.”

The United States is the ideal location for such a project with the country being the second-largest market for boric acid in the world, meaning Rhyolite Ridge’s production is likely to have a ready-made customer base in the domestic market.

Currently, there is very little in the way of advanced lithium projects in the United States, apart from one existing producer, which only produces about 4000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per annum.

President Trump has stated the country’s need to establish a supply of critical metals, indicating lithium is one of those metals and if, as many analysts predict, the US is going to embrace the uptake of electric vehicles and power storage, demand is set to grow.

From a boron perspective, the US is currently a major producer of borates, due mainly to a boron mine operated by Rio Tinto in California, however this is an old mine that is getting more expensive to mine as it approaches the end of its life.

Turkey is the country to presently host an abundance of boron with only a few known large boron deposits being either developed or mined elsewhere in the world.

These are Rhyolite Ridge, the Californian deposit mentioned above and the Jadar deposit in Serbia, also owned by Rio Tinto.

“Potential boron production outside of Turkey remains very limited and yet the US is a major consumer of borate products, as is China, which has limited supply of its own,” Rowe continued.

“Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea are all big boron consumers, so the situation exists where Pacific countries are the dominant consumers while future production, other than Rhyolite Ridge – as it currently stands – has to come from Turkey and Serbia.”

Global Geoscience expects to have the PFS completed in mid-2018, which it anticipates will confirm the company’s view that it has an economic pathway to develop the Rhyolite Ridge deposit into a substantial, low-cost, near-term producer of lithium carbonate and boric acid.

 

Global Geoscience Limited (ASX: GSC)
…The Short Story

HEAD OFFICE
Suite 203
161 Walker Street
North Sydney, NSW, 2060

Ph: +61 2 9922 5800

Email: rhowe@globalgeo.com.au
Web: www. globalgeo.com.au

DIRECTORS
James D. Calaway, Bernard Rowe, Alan Davies, Patrick Elliott, John Hofmeister

 

Global Geoscience Reduces Rhyolite Ridge Leach Time and Acid Consumption

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) announced the results of the latest acid-leach testwork carried out at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Global Geoscience said the latest vat leach testwork demonstrated that over 90 per cent of the lithium and boron was extracted into solution in less than seven days.

The company said the decrease in leach time, acid consumption and solution requirements are expected to result in lower capital and operating costs than previously envisaged.

Latest results from the recent optimisation showed:

Much faster leach times of less than seven days – a reduction of more than 50 per cent;

Lower acid consumption of less than 400 kilograms of acid per tonne of feed – a reduction of more than 15 per cent;

Higher lithium and boron concentration in Pregnant Leach Solution (PLS), reducing mechanical evaporation requirements;

Faster, more selective leaching means lower levels of other elements in the PLS;

Continued high recoveries to PLS – greater than 90 per cent for both lithium and boron;

Preparation for vat leaching requires only a coarse crush of 25 millimetres; and

No grinding, agglomeration, high temperature or high pressure required.

“The latest vat leach results represent a significant improvement on already favourable acid-leach results and clearly demonstrate the advantages that vat leaching offers,” Global Geoscience managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The rapid leach times, lower acid consumption and lower solution requirements are expected to have a very positive impact on both capital and operating cost estimates.

“The results bode well for the soon to be released trade-off studies being undertaken as Phase 1 of the Rhyolite Ridge Pre-Feasibility Study.

“Sulphuric acid will be the largest reagent cost and reducing acid consumption will have a very positive impact on operating costs.

“Vat leaching allows for much greater control of the leaching processing resulting in faster, more efficient and targeted leaching when compared to heap leaching.

“With a vat leach, we can control temperature, acidity (pH) and solution flow rates and this provides significant advantages over heap leaching.

“This control allows a more selective leach which recovers the lithium and boron, however, does not leach as many of the other elements into solution.

“Lower levels of other elements in the PLS has the benefit of simplifying the crystallisation and purification process steps.

“On-going metallurgical testwork is concurrently evaluating various attractive options to produce lithium carbonate and boric acid on site.”

Global Geoscience reiterated its claim that the Rhyolite Ridge is the only lithium deposit in the world that has been demonstrated to be amenable to simple acid leach processing, reinforcing it as an economically viable alternative to spodumene and brine deposits as a major, low-cost and long-term source of lithium.

 

 

Website: www.globalgeo.com.au

Global Geoscience Progressing PFS at Rhyolite Ridge

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Global Geoscience (ASX: GSC) provided an update on progress of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) underway at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project located in Nevada, USA.

The recent S&P/ASX 300 Index-invested company is working with Amec Foster Wheeler on the PFS.

Global Geoscience explained the current work is being carried out in two phases.

The first being a definition phase, including trade-off studies, to identify the major process and infrastructure components required.

The second is a pre-feasibility phase involving both design and estimating.

According to the company the PFS work is progressing well and in accordance to plan and it expects to provide further updates on its progress over the coming weeks regarding:

PFS trade-off studies;
Preliminary site layout and environmental permitting;
Further optimisation of the acid-leach process; and
Crystallisation and purification of the lithium and boron end products.

“We are delighted with the rapid progress of our unique Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, and this has now been reflected in our inclusion in the S&P/ASX 300 Index,” Global Geoscience managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The Rhyolite Ridge PFS is progressing well under the direction of Amec Foster Wheeler.

“The unique mineralogy and chemistry of the Rhyolite Ridge mineralisation continues to provide many attractive options which consistently point to low-cost processing and high recoveries of lithium and boron.

“Phase one of the PFS includes trade-off studies to select the most favourable processing and infrastructure alternatives.

“Key aspects of this work have been to evaluate and compare the various leaching options – heap, vat and agitation (tank) leaching and on-site production of sulphuric acid.”

Global Geoscience declared the Rhyolite Ridge mineralisation is ideally suited to open pit mining methods as it is shallow, thick and gently dipping, resulting in a low strip ratio.

Simple, low-cost acid leach processes can be used to extract lithium and boron at high recovery rates into a Pregnant Leach Solution (PLS).

Lithium and boron can then be removed from the PLS through crystallisation and purification steps to produce lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide and boric acid at the mine site.

The company considers the ability to produce lithium and boron end products on-site from a hard-rock source makes Rhyolite Ridge a unique development opportunity.

 

Website: www.globalgeo.com.au