CENTENNIAL, Colo., March 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NioCorp Developments Ltd. (“NioCorp” or the "Company”) (TSX:NB) (OTCQX:NIOBF) (FSE:BR3) has announced that positive results from metallurgical testing being conducted as part of its Elk Creek Feasibility Study points to a process flow breakthrough that may reduce overall capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenditures (OPEX) at its planned superalloy materials facility near Elk Creek, Nebraska.
Recent testing conducted at the SGS–Lakefield metallurgical testing facility in Lakefield, Ontario has shown that sufficient levels of iron may be able to be removed at the pre-leaching stage. If integrated into the final plant design, this would eliminate a downstream processing step, simplify the Company's pyrometallurgical processing of niobium, and reduce the project's CAPEX and OPEX as compared to what was reported in the company’s October 2015 Preliminary Economic Analysis (PEA) report.
In addition to other work being conducted at the SGS facility to advance NioCorp’s Elk Creek Feasibility Study, the Company recently completed four bench scale and one bulk test on the pre-leach operation, which is designed to extract the majority of the scandium while also removing carbonate minerals and iron ahead of other operations that would produce niobium, scandium, and titanium products.
The five tests established that between 89% and 93% of the iron present in the ore can be extracted in the pre-leach, with the bulk test achieving a 93% iron extraction on a six-kilogram sample of the resource. Iron that is extracted in the pre-leaching step does not report to subsequent niobium and titanium recovery steps in the Elk Creek process flowsheet. NioCorp’s target for iron extraction in the pre-leach operation was 90%. At that level of iron extraction, unit operations to remove the remaining iron ahead of niobium and titanium recovery steps can be minimized or eliminated from the flowsheet. Furthermore, the decreased level of the iron may help simplify NioCorp's pyrometallurgy processing of niobium.
“I am extremely pleased that our ongoing metallurgical development program has returned these positive results and exceeded our target for iron removal in the pre-leach step of the flowsheet,” said Mark A. Smith, Executive Chairman and CEO of NioCorp. “Our careful and measured approach to this development program is paying dividends, and we look forward to the continued collaboration with the professionals at SGS–Lakefield as we optimize the Elk Creek flowsheet and advance our Feasibility Study to completion.”
Executive Chairman, CEO and Director
Qualified Persons: Eric Larochelle, B.Eng of SMH Process Innovation, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the Elk Creek hydrometallurgical program and has read and approved the technical information contained in this news release.
Source: NioCorp Developments Ltd.
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Cautionary Statements: Neither TSX nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based upon NioCorp’s reasonable expectations and business plan at the date hereof, which are subject to change depending on economic, political and competitive circumstances and contingencies. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause a change in such assumptions and the actual outcomes and estimates to be materially different from those estimated or anticipated future results, achievements or position expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause NioCorp’s plans or prospects to change include changes in demand for and price of commodities (such as fuel and electricity) and currencies; changes or disruptions in the securities markets; legislative, political or economic developments; the need to obtain permits and comply with laws and regulations and other regulatory requirements; the possibility that actual results of work may differ from projections/expectations or may not realize the perceived potential of NioCorp’s projects; risks of accidents, equipment breakdowns and labor disputes or other unanticipated difficulties or interruptions; the possibility of cost overruns or unanticipated expenses in development programs; operating or technical difficulties in connection with exploration, mining or development activities; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of diminishing quantities of grades of reserves and resources; and the risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business. NioCorp disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
For More Information: Contact Jim Sims, VP of External Affairs, NioCorp Developments Ltd., 720-639-4650, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source:Niocorp Developments Ltd