OD6 Metals has unveiled promising advancements in its rare earth metallurgical testing

OD6 Metals Ltd (ASX:OD6) has unveiled promising advancements in its rare earth metallurgical testing, a result of its collaboration with the Australian Nuclear Science Organisation (ANSTO), signaling a breakthrough in optimizing extraction techniques and cost reduction strategies at the Splinter Rock Project in Western Australia.

The strategic focus of the partnership is aimed at enhancing processing methodologies across four pivotal prospects within the project area.

The recent testing primarily concentrated on the impact of eliminating coarse material (particles exceeding 75 micrometers) from samples, yielding a remarkable upsurge in total rare earth oxide (TREO) grades, with enhancements reaching up to 224%, averaging an impressive 157%.


Furthermore, this material separation method led to a substantial reduction in hydrochloric acid (HCl) consumption, with reductions of up to 79% observed, averaging a notable 35% decrease across all test scenarios. Such efficiency gains hold significant promise for bolstering the project’s economic viability.

Detailed analysis further revealed that finer fractions, under 75 micrometers, harbored a substantial portion (80% to 90%) of TREO and magnet rare earth oxides (MREO), despite constituting a minor fraction of the original sample mass.

The testing phase also unveiled opportunities for refining screening sizes to optimize rare earth recovery while minimizing acid utilization.

The comprehensive testing regimen encompassed 13 phase-one samples sourced from various clay deposits across diverse geological formations and depths within the Splinter Rock area. These samples underwent ANSTO’s rigorous diagnostic leach tests to ascertain the geo-metallurgical nuances pertaining to acid consumption and recovery efficiency across different regolith types prevalent in the region.

Integral to OD6 Metals’ processing blueprint is the establishment of an on-site chlor-alkali facility to produce high-purity hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide from sodium chloride, facilitating the leaching process for rare earth elements and subsequent precipitation of a mixed rare earth product.

These encouraging outcomes from the initial testing phase will serve as pivotal inputs for subsequent phases of development, including additional screening and bottle roll tests, with potential implications for the mineral resource estimation process, offering insights into the project’s scalability and commercial viability.

Reflecting on the milestone achievements, Managing Director Brett Hazelden emphasized the significant TREO grade enhancement achieved through material separation and underscored the substantial reduction in acid consumption, illustrating a tangible pathway towards operational cost optimization. Non-executive Chair Darren Holden echoed the sentiment, highlighting the synergy between innovative scientific methodologies and robust engineering practices as instrumental in unlocking the vast potential of clay rare earth elements in Australia, positioning OD6 Metals as a trailblazer in the sector’s evolution.

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