Trevali Mining Corp. has initiated a pilot plant testing program using Caribou run-of-mine and milled material at FLSmidth’s Rapid Oxidative Leach process testing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. The program expands on previous laboratory test work and is aimed at demonstrating the potential to recover zinc, lead, copper, gold, and silver as a precipitate or metal and additional zinc and lead from Caribou ore and mill tailings.

The company said If the pilot plant testing program indicates that the ROL technology has the potential to be successfully implemented at Caribou, it may allow Trevali to replace the existing flotation circuit at Caribou with atmospheric leach vessels and potentially an SX/EW train, introducing the possibility of producing base and precious metals on-site and thereby save transport costs and offsite treatment costs. The initiative is consistent with Trevali’s strategy to extend the two-year mine plan and investigate further longer-term value-enhancing opportunities in the Bathurst Mining Camp. In addition, the technology has the potential to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and provide other sustainable environmental benefits via the re-treatment and disposal of tailings.

“FLSmidth’s ROL metallurgical technology has the potential to transform the Caribou mine and the wider Bathurst Mining Camp,” Trevali President and CEO Ricus Grimbeek said. “This next phase of the testing program is an essential step in evaluating the suitability and economic viability of a processing solution with the potential to enhance the value of the in-situ material and tailings at Caribou as well as the surrounding deposits.”

Beyond quantifying the ability to recover additional metal values, the objective for the pilot plant test program is to determine the various kinetic factors, mass and energy balance, and engineering data to support future engineering on a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for potential processing of the Trevali mill feed and mill tailings and produce metal on site. Continuous pilot plant trials commenced in June (Phase 1) to tune the pilot plant and provide material for precious metal leach tests in late July, followed by a test program at the Caribou mine site that is planned for September (Phase 2). The company expects leach data and results to verify that batch testing results can be achieved in a continuous operation.