Lotus has completed a number of ore sorting test work programs with Steinert, a global leading specialist in mineral separation. Steinert was selected for their experience in this area as well as the testing being done in a commercial scale ore sorting unit, similar in scale to the potential facility that may be installed at Kayelekera, that the Company believes reduces risks significantly.
The ore sorting work has tested two sensors, colour and density. The results completed to date show that colour is the main sorting criteria and indicate an upgrade ratio in the concentrate of 1.7 at recoveries of 86% or an upgrade ratio of 1.5 with 92% recovery (when compared to the feed grades). This means more uranium in the same mass, which would allow increased production rates for the same tonnage treated.
Ore sorting test work is continuing, with current test work including additional samples which are being sent from site and upgrading the fines portion of the feed material.
The Company is considering a number of different scenarios to enhance the effectiveness of the ore sorting program, including:
- Maximising annual production rates to the nominal production rate of the back-end circuit (i.e., drying and packing) of ~3Mlbs/annum
- Focusing on the lower grade materials (stockpile and mineralised waste) and converting these from marginal ores to economic feed material for the main process plant
- Further assessment of the option to reduce acid consumption and mill power draw through rejection of barren calcite and silicate materials