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North Stanmore test work shows high rare earth recoveries

The date of: 2023-06-14
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Onward to Victory: North Stanmore test work shows high rare earth recoveries as VTM marches towards maiden resource


Victory Metals is well on its way to demonstrating it can produce mixed rare earth carbonate from its North Stanmore magnet metals deposit with high recoveries in met testwork just weeks from the release of a maiden JORC resource estimate.
Located just 10km north of the town of Cue, the diagnostic testwork has shown Victory (ASX:VTM) will be able to pull 77.7% of the magnet metals NdPr+DyTb content out of its North Stanmore deposit.
That includes 78% neodymium recoveries, 76% praseodymium and 79% and 80% recoveries respectively for heavy rare earths dysprosium and terbium.
These recoveries were achieved with an acid bake leach using low cost sulphuric acid at low temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius and a low leach time of just two hours.
Those commodities are highly sought after and face a massive surge in demand over the course of the decade.
Used in the permanent magnets that power EV motors and wind turbines, as well as defence and aviation, the rare earth metals will be key to the global energy transition, placing VTM at the ground floor of the biggest investment thematic since industrialisation.
QEMSCAN and metallurgical test results so far have confirmed the presence of not one but two kinds of rare earth mineralisation.
Victory’s testwork has proven excellent recoveries of light and heavy rare earths from both ammonium sulphate leachable ionically clay bonded rare earths and hydrated monazite and xenotime which could deliver the metals through acid baking.
With a resource due in early July, the company says a further major met test work program has started including flow sheet design to produce a mixed rare earth carbonate as its end product.
“These results are outstanding and further demonstrate the excellent process mineralogy from Victory’s 100% owned North Stanmore rare earth element project in Western Australia,” VTM CEO and executive director Brendan Clark said.
“North Stanmore is exhibiting all the important hallmarks of a significant rare earth element project which includes large scale, high metal recovery, high average grades, logistical and geopolitical advantages as well as market leading ratios of valuable and critical heavy rare earth elements including dysprosium (Dy) and terbium (Tb).”
“It is a very exciting time for the company with the rapidly advancing JORC Mineral Resource Estimate and for the commencement of the advanced metallurgical test work program that is set to produce our very own Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate (MREC) product.”
Following the majors 
The acid bake leach process is one of the major processes used at the world’s largest miners to decompose REE ore minerals such as monazite and release the valuable rare earths within.
Sulphuric acid bake processes are currently used at the Bayan Obo deposit in China and the Mt Weld mine in Australia owned by multi-billion dollar capped Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC).
Together the mines using this process account for more than half of the world’s rare earth production.
It can take temperatures of between 200-800C and 1-4 hour resident times to leach the rare earths from the monazite.
That means the results from Victory’s testwork look very promising indeed.
Follow up testwork will include sample blending and compositing, REE clay leach optimisation, variability diagnostic leach tests on individual drill samples using optimised leach conditions, impurity removal testwork and the production of a mixed rare earth carbonate from the North Stanmore deposit’s ore.
That largely follows the intended flowsheet design of the production process proposed by VTM.
Also part of its planning is the use of beneficiation to remove low grade ore early in the production process.
QEMScan mineral characterisation testing has demonstrated that the principal REE phases at North Stanmore were under 15 microns in diameter, a size that makes them amenable to beneficiation.
“This will have positive implications for REE recovery and gangue separation,” VTM says.

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