99.8% PURE TiO2 PRODUCED FROM ARGEX'S LABLACHE ORE

NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES

  • High purity 99.8% titanium dioxide produced in Phase I test work
  • Phase II test work now complete and awaiting final report
  • Phase III test work (mini-plant) to commence operation on or about Febuary 14, 2011
  • Recovery rate is now estimated at 85% and improvements are expected with a target recovery of 90%

MONTREAL, Feb. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Argex Mining Inc. (Argex) (TSX-V: RGX) (FSE: ASV) (OTCBB: ARGEF) is now in receipt of the final report and results of Phase I of metallurgical testwork conducted by Process Research ORTECH Inc. (PRO). In the report, PRO has reported the production of high purity 99.8% titanium dioxide (TiO2) made by employing the flowsheet developed for the La Blache deposit consisting of crushing, grinding, leaching, solvent extraction, followed by precipitation and calcination to obtain high purity TiO2 product. Impurity levels of iron (Fe), vanadium (V) and chrome (Cr) in the calcined product was <100 ppm, 8.5 ppm and <0.5 ppm respectively. The mean particle size of the product was ~15 micron. The TiO2 product was rutile. The recovery rate of the TiO2 from the ore material is in excess of 85% with target recovery of 90% in phase III test work.

The patented closed-loop process involves the leaching of titanium-bearing ore material in acid under conditions with both the iron and the titanium in the ore leached into solution.The energy efficient process operates at atmospheric pressure and does not require pre-treatment of the ore (no oxidation and/or reduction is required). The process operates with relatively low concentration of hydrochloric acid and avoids the need to handle chlorine, carbon or carbon containing chemicals at very high temperatures.

"The metallurgical results to date have been stellar," stated Argex President and CEO Michael Dehn, "Results to date continue to exceed our expectations which were always very high. The applicability of the process to La Blache continues to demonstrate that La Blache is truly a world class titanium-iron-vanadium deposit." By using known technology innovatively, the process allows Argex to process from ore to high value product in one location while producing inert tailings.

Based on the results obtained during this project, the Block Flow Diagram shown in Figure 1 was developed for the recovery of high purity TiO2.

Ore
Atmospheric Chloride Leaching
 ▼
Solid-Liquid Separation
Solvent Extraction Stage I for ferrous/ferric Iron Removal
Solvent Extraction Stage II for Titanium Extraction
Scrubbing by HCl solution containing Ti
Stripping by  HCl
Precipitation of TiO2 by thermal hydrolysis
Calcination
▼ 
TiO2 product for evaluation

Figure 1: Block Flow Diagram for the production of high purity TiO2

Argex recently reported in a press release dated January 26, 2011 that in the absence of a significant drop in demand, TiO2 supply and demand is forecasted to be tight until 2015. The average world price for high quality TiO2 pigment is forecast to double to US$4,800 per metric tonne by 2015 from US$2,400 per metric tonne in 2010.

Argex contracted Process Research ORTECH Inc. (PRO) in the Spring of 2010 to develop a process for the treatment of its ore. Subsequently a bench scale test program was initiated.

Phase I of this program involved developing the preliminary flowsheet for the recovery of high grade TiO2 with low levels of Fe, V and Cr impurities. With the receipt of the Phase I Final Report and flowsheet, this phase has now been successfully completed.

First phase of the program involved developing the preliminary flowsheet for the recovery of TiO2 from the ore using proprietary PRO technology (US patent 7,736,606 B2 and Canadian patent 2,513,309). The major phases in the ore were ilmenite and magnetite. PRO has developed a patented process, which is capable of treating such ore bodies. After extensive testwork and the application of its patented technology for the treatment of Argex ore, PRO produced high purity TiO2 product from Argex ore.

After completing the testwork for solvent extraction, the bench scale testwork for thermal precipitation of TiO2 was conducted. Titanium dioxide was precipitated from the strip liquor containing titanium by thermal hydrolysis. Thermal hydrolysis was conducted at 90-100 oC for 1 hour resulting in precipitation of TiO2, which was separated by filtering. Precipitated sample was dried in a drying oven at ~95oC for 2 hours.

The precipitated and dried sample was calcined in a muffle furnace at 900oC for 2 hours to produce high purity TiO2 product. Final product was sent for chemical assay to an accredited laboratory. Table 1 shows the chemical analysis of the as received ore and the final product. It shows that a very pure TiO2 product has been obtained with total impurity content <2000 ppm or over 99.8% pure TiO2. Impurity level of Fe, Cr and V in the calcined product was <100 ppm, 8.5 ppm and <0.5 ppm respectively.

Table 1: Chemical assay of ore sample and final TiO2 product

  Head Assay
Ore Material
Analysis of final
TiO2 product
Al % 1.5 <0.01
Ca % 0.1 0.01
Co ppm 142 171
Cr ppm 1172 8.5
Fe % 46.3 <0.01
K % 0.02 0.01
Mg % 1.7 <0.01
Mn ppm 2825 19
Mo ppm 0.7 0.3
Na % 0.05 0.02
Ni ppm 267.5 0.9
Si ppm NA <0.5
Ti % 11.7 Balance
TiO2
V ppm 1840 <0.5
Zn ppm 252.3 172
  Total 100%

The recovery during leaching is in excess of 90%,during solvent extraction is 98%, and during thermal precipitation is 98% Thus the overall recover (ore to finished product) is in excess of 85% Additional improvements in recovery are expected and will be addressed in the Phase III metallurgy testing.

Phase II of the metallurgical testing will consist of test work for the recovery of V and Cr product from Titanium solvent extraction raffinate. Test work for Phase II is now complete and Argex is awaiting the final report with Phase II results.

Phase III of the metallurgical testing consists of the bench scale continuous testing, or "mini-plant", for the thermal precipitation of titanium dioxide. The Phase III metallurgical testing is expected to commence on or about Februay 14, 2011.

Metallurgical samples were analysed by AGAT Laboratories of Mississauga, Ontario using a 4 Acid Digest or Acidic Solution Metals Package with ICP/ICP-MS finish. Dr. V.I. Lakshmanan, qualified person, and Dr. R. Sridhar of Process Research Ortech Inc., have reviewed and approved this release.

About PRO

Process Research ORTECH Inc. (PRO) represents an 80-year old tradition of innovation and technology development to support industries. PRO was incorporated in January 1999 to take over the Process Technologies activities of ORTECH Corporation (Formerly Ontario Research Foundation, originally established in 1928) under the privatization scheme of the Ontario Government.

The mandate of PRO is to continue the research and development work carried on by the Process Technology group of ORTECH Corporation, while exploring, developing and commercializing innovative solutions in areas including Cleantech and Renewable Energy.

PRO serves the needs of Canadian and international companies, in partnership with academic and governmental agencies and organizations as well as primary leaders in the industry. We are also proud to offer our facilities to smaller, specialized businesses.

About Argex Mining Inc.

Argex is a junior titanium, iron, vanadium and magnesium explorer with projects in Québec, Canada.  Headquartered in Montreal, Québec, the company is committed to the interests of its shareholders, with plans to rapidly advance towards titanium production at the 100%-owned La Blache deposit located near Baie-Comeau, Québec.  Argex also owns 100% of the Mouchalagane Iron Ore project, 380 kilometres north of Baie-Comeau, Québec and of the same type of deposit as ore bodies currently being mined by Québec Cartier Mining's (Arcelor Mittal) Fire Lake Mine and Consolidated Thompson's Bloom Lake Mine.  Recently, Argex expanded its land holdings near Baie-Comeau, Québec surrounding Consolidated Thompson's Lac Brûlé Titanium-Iron-Vanadium deposit.  For additional information, please visit our website at www.argex.ca.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains discussion of items that may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities laws that involve risks and uncertainties. Although the company believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurances that its expectations will be achieved. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the effects of general economic conditions, actions by government authorities, uncertainties associated with contract negotiations, additional financing requirements, market acceptance of the Company's products and competitive pressures. These factors and others are more fully discussed in Company filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE ARGEX MINING INC.

For further information:

Michael Dehn, President and CEO
Argex Mining Inc.
647-477-2382
michael@argex.ca

Or

Paradox Public Relations at 514-341-0408 or 1-866-460-0408

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ARGEX MINING INC.

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