Afferro Mining (LON:AFF, CVE:AFF) has unveiled what it called "outstanding metallurgical" test results, which it says have the potential to reduce capital and operating costs at its flagship Nkout deposit in Cameroon.
In particular they highlight the opportunity for significant savings in the combined processing of direct shipping ore and the saprolite resource.
The testwork on 28 tonnes of material was designed to understand the potential of the saprolite component of the Nkout resource.
Samples grading 53% iron were beneficiated using simple attrition scrubbing to a product grade of 59-64%.
Further testing is underway to assess the potential to simplify saprolite and direct shipping ore processing, Afferro said.
Separately, Davis Tube wash testing carried out on five composite samples on the magnetite banded iron formation, which were consistent with "excellent early results", it added.
A highly marketable sinter fines magnetite concentrate of 66-69% iron, with low deleterious elements achieved, were produced at a coarse grind size of 106 micrometres for all composites. Meanwhile, a 70-71% iron grade was achieved at a pellet feed grind size.
Afferro chief executive Luis da Silva said: "These outstanding results highlight one of the key attractions of Nkout- its metallurgy.
"Bench-scale testing of the 28 tonnes of material has been completed to schedule and confirms and increases confidence from earlier results. We feel this sets Nkout apart from other projects in the region.
"Work on the saprolite resource is encouraging. There is the potential to combine saprolite and DSO processing to deliver significant opex and capex improvements relative to the preliminary economic assessment.
"Combining saprolite and DSO processing would result in a substantially less capital-intensive early phase production with significant upside to the Nkout economics. This is another area where there is upside to last year's PEA, enabling an early phase of production.
"The BIF further supports the project economics. It is therefore very good news to have our positive early metallurgical results confirmed by a further five composite samples put through improved testing.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.