- Increased feedstock grade significantly increases TiO2 output tonnage
- Increased feedstock grade significantly decreases opex per tonne of TiO2 production
MONTREAL, June 5, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Argex Mining Inc. ("Argex") (TSXV: RGX) (FSE: ASV) (OTCBB: ARGEF) is pleased to report the results of a TiO2 grade sensitivity study. The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of different TiO2 grades of ilmenite feedstock on the operational parameters of the CTL hydrometallurgical process. The internal study was completed in collaboration with BBA Inc. of Montreal, Quebec.
Three different raw material scenarios were considered for the sensitivity analysis with TiO2 grade ranging from 32.0% to 53.9% and Fe/Ti ratio ranging from 2.2 to 1.0. The results of the sensitivity analysis are reported in relative percent terms compared to a reference scenario which is based on the operational parameters for the production of TiO2 pigment using a raw material similar in composition to the mineralization outlined at Argex's La Blache property (TiO2 grade of 18.9% and Fe/Ti ratio of 3.9). The operational parameters considered in the study include raw material input tonnage, TiO2 pigment output tonnage, plant capital expenditures (capex), and plant operational expenditures (opex) per tonne of TiO2 produced. It was assumed for the purpose of the study that the selected feedstock for each of the scenarios was purchased from a third-party supplier, with the purchase and associated transportation costs not factored into the study. Credits for Fe2O3, V2O5 or others by-products were also not taken into consideration for the opex parameter of the sensitivity analysis.
|Feedstock Scenarios||Sensitivity vs. Base Case Scenario*|
|TiO2 Grade||Fe/Ti Ratio|| Raw Material Input
| TiO2 Output
(per tonne of TiO2 produced)
(for one industrial module)
|32.0%||2.2||+ 5%||+ 78%||- 46%||+ 7%|
|47.0%||1.1||+ 40%||+ 248%||- 64%||+ 16%|
|53.9%||1.0||+ 43%||+ 309%||- 69%||+ 22%|
|* Base case scenario considers raw material grading 18.9% TiO2 with Fe/Ti ratio of 3.9.|
The sensitivity analysis is based on the production of TiO2 pigment from a conceptual hydrometallurgical plant based on the CTL process with capacity corresponding to the size of one industrial module as it is envisioned. The production capacity of one industrial module is defined by the size of the acid regeneration units, which was fixed at 58,000 tonnes of Fe2O3 per year and corresponds to two pyrohydrolysis units capable of processing a total of 36 cubic meters per hour of iron chloride solution. The capex of the hydrometallurgical plant was adjusted for each scenario based on the equipment required to handle different production levels of TiO2 pigment. Operating cost assumptions are unchanged from the La Blache PEA unless noted otherwise. Finishing and coating equipment capex and opex were excluded from the analysis. The costs for electricity and natural gas were set to $0.048 per kWh and $5.50 per million Btu, respectively.
Argex President and CEO, Roy Bonnell, commented on the results of the sensitivity study. "The internal analysis, completed with BBA, demonstrates improved project economics by using higher TiO2 grade feedstock for the CTL process. These promising results, demonstrate not only the important value-added that the acquisition of the Lac Brûlé property represents, but also why we have initiated preliminary testing of selected third-party ilmenite concentrates in order to determine the optimal feedstock specifications to maximize the profitability of the process."
"The internal study shows that an increase in the TiO2 grade of the feedstock significantly lowers the operating cost per unit of TiO2 produced," said Enrico Di Cesare, COO and V-P Technology of Argex. "With a similar capital investment, we could increase potential revenues by more than three times and reduce our operating expenses per tonne of TiO2 produced by close to 70%. Furthermore, because of the fixed quantities of iron that an industrial module can process due to equipment constraints, results show that lower iron content in feedstock allows the company to process a larger amount of raw material."
About Argex Mining Inc.
ARGEX MINING INC. is a near-term producer of commodities that the world needs: Titanium Dioxide, Iron and Vanadium Pentoxide. With a primary goal of advancing rapidly towards production, Argex has adopted a simple and low-risk strategy for the scale-up of its proprietary process that allows it to produce high purity TiO2 directly from run-of-mine material from its 100% owned deposit.
The process is running continuously at the mini-plant in Mississauga, Ontario. The closed-loop process is environmentally friendly and produces minimal inert tailings.
Additionally, the Company owns 100% of the Mouchalagane property, which is a large Labrador Trough iron ore property that represents further potential upside for the Argex shareholders.
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For further information:
Roy Bonnell, President and Chief Executive Officer
Argex Mining Inc.
Argex Mining Inc.
The Howard Group
Sarah Moreau, Consultant, Financial & Regulatory Affairs
514 395-0375, ext.234