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  • Mining company Astron (ATR) has successfully completed pilot test works on ore material at its Donald Mineral Sands Project
  • The company engaged Mineral Technologies to treat 1000 tonnes of the project’s raw ore material in a gravity separation plant
  • Astron reported pleasing results from the process, including significant findings to do with finer mineral recovery
  • The positive results will allow the company to optimise its beneficiation processes, and potentially improve operating costs
  • Astron shares have remained unchanged since April 7, last trading for 17.5 cents each

Mining company Astron (ATR) has successfully completed pilot test works on ore material at its Donald Mineral Sands Project.

The company engaged Mineral Technologies to complete the pilot test works, which has produced encouraging results. Astron has now received Mineral Technologies’ final report of the outcomes from the wet concentrator plant (WCP).

The process involved treating 1000 tonnes of raw, run-of-mine ore material from the Donald project in a gravity separation plant. The plant was a purpose-built, four-stage operation in Southern Queensland.

Astron stated that it was pleased with the overall performance and promising results of the pilot process.

The feed preparation process extracted the heavy minerals in the raw ore material, with minimal mineral lost to waste streams.

In fact, the process was so selective that it helped remove both oversized and undersized components. This was a noticeable improvement when compared to previous bench-scale programs.

Overall, the gravity separation works confirmed that the selected equipment was the optimal choice.  

The company reported significant findings from the piloting works, much of which had to do with mineral recovery. In comparison to previous historical challenges of recovering finer grained resources, this process performed much better. 

The recoverability of finer WIM-style minerals and VHM (very valuable heavy mineral) was maintained at acceptable rates of 85 to 95 per cent.

Furthermore, lowering the heavy mineral concentrate grade target had little impact on the increasing recovery of zirconium dioxide and cerium oxide. Similarly, raising the heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) grade to 95 per cent had little impact on decreasing those recoveries.

Finally, the pilot process produced approximately 24 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate for additional future processes.

These positive results will allow Astron to optimise its beneficiation processes, and potentially improve operating costs. 

Astron shares have remained unchanged since April 7, last trading for 17.5 cents each.

ATR by the numbers
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