The testing showed improved leaching results than the ones obtained using the massive mineralization from its La Blache titaniferous magnetite project, Argex added.
Indeed, during the first quarter of the year, the company, in collaboration with Process Research Ortech, completed bench scale testing of the Lac Brule massive mineralization.
Bench testing initial results were 94 percent of the TiO2 (titanium dioxide) leached, compared to 92 percent of TiO2 leached for La Blache, along with 95 percent of the V2O5 (vanadium pentoxide) leached and 99 percent of the iron oxides leached.
"With the higher TiO2 average grade of 34% vs. the 18% TiO2 in the La Blache mineralization and lower iron content, it is expected that the throughput with similar capital expenditure would be approximately 90% higher than what would have been obtained with La Blache," said Argex's COO, Enrico Di Cesare.
"I am pleased with the progress we have made, and we will be running the existing pilot plant with Lac Brule material over the next few months to make TiO2 pigment.
"As part of our due diligence process, we are now conducting batch testing on higher grade TiO2 ilmenite concentrates selected from existing feedstock producers from around the world.
"This pre-qualification of potential feedstock will be used as part of advanced-stage studies," he added.
The patented closed-loop CTL Process involves the leaching of titanium-bearing ore material in chloride acid media, under conditions for both iron and titanium in the ore to be leached into solution.
The energy efficient process operates at atmospheric pressure and does not require pre-treatment of the ore, meaning no oxidation and/or reduction is required.
The process operates with relatively low concentration of hydrochloric acid and avoids the need to handle chlorine, carbon, or carbon containing chemicals at very high temperatures.
"The CTL Process has shown an enormous flexibility to operate successfully on different ore bodies," said president and CEO Roy Bonnell, "which should provide us with even greater optionality in growing the company as we move forward."
The sample processed for the testing was collected by Quinto in 2005 as part of a trenching program completed on the Lac Brule main deposit.
Argex also said Monday it completed a high resolution airborne geophysical survey covering the main area of the Lac Brule property, including the recently acquired claim block from Quinto Mining Corp.
During February and March, a total of 1,590 line kilometres were flown by Geotech with 60-metre line spacing. The final report is expected in the coming days, the company said.
"This survey allows us to get a detailed geophysical picture of the known massive hemo-ilmenite deposits occurring on the property," said Argex's VP of mining and geology, AndrAcopyright LaferriA re.
"This new geophysical dataset will significantly enhance our understanding of the geology in the area, which will help us optimize the next exploration program on the property."
The Lac Brule property covers part of the Labrieville anorthosite complex, which hosts known magmatic iron oxide deposits strongly mineralized in titanium.
Historical exploration work completed on the property in the 50s and 70s outlined three massive ilmenite lenses, while an internal study done in 2005 reported a mineral resource estimate totalling 3.8 million tonnes and having an average grade of 30.1% TiO2. Such tonnage is, however, not confirmed by the recent NI 43-101 report, Argex noted.
Earlier this month, Argex announced that it entered into a technical collaboration agreement with PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) to develop and optimize PPG's technology for titanium dioxide (TiO2).
The goal is to develop a titanium dioxide product that can meet conventional standards for interior and exterior paint and coatings applications, to be produced by Argex.
Titanium dioxide is an inorganic substance characterized by brightness and very high refractive index, making it an ideal pigment in paints, plastics and paper.
Argex is a junior Canadian resource company that is developing the advanced stage La Blache titaniferous magnetite project, and also owns the Lac Brûlé high grade ilmenite and the Mouchalagane iron ore projects, which are all located on Quebec's North Shore.