Jun 19, 2012
I-Minerals Files Mining And Reclamation Plan With IDL
Metallurgical Work Completed on Bovill Kaolin; Research Confirms Halloysite Quality
Mining and Reclamation Plan for Mining and Processing Existing WBL Tailings
I-Minerals has filed a mining and reclamation plan for mining activities with the Idaho Department of Lands (the "IDL") on Mineral Lease 9276, part of the Company's Helmer-Bovill property. Once approved, the Company intends to produce sand and clay tailings left on-site by a previous mine operator over an expected 10 year period.
Mining of the tailings will consist of excavation of unconsolidated K-spar and quartz bearing sands. The excavated tailings will be processed by screening to remove undesirable constituents. The minerals will then be loaded into dump trucks using a front-end loader or excavator and hauled off site for processing to recover the K-spar, quartz, and clay. Wendt Pottery of Lewiston, Idaho is the initial customer for the K-Spar and quartz bearing sands and will further process the tailings material to create a mixture of quartz - feldspar to be used as a body flux for non-white clay bodies in pottery operations
The tailings pile, with an average thickness of approximately 17 feet, was the subject of a resource calculation by SRK Consulting (USA) Inc. of Denver Colorado ("SRK") in May, 2010. An approximate volume of 9.0 million cubic feet of sand material was identified, which would yield 508,609 recoverable tons. Proposed mining activities would occur intermittently from June through October over the 10-year period. Annual tailings removal would generally be less than 50,000 tons per year.
Bovill Kaolin Project Resource Calculation & Prefeasibility Study
During the fourth quarter of 2011 the Company completed a 66 hole drill program comprised of 21 holes in the WBL Pit Area ("WBL") and 45 holes in the Middle Ridge area. These holes were completed on 200-foot centers and will be the basis of an updated resource calculation of the Bovill Kaolin project. To determine the total clay content as well as the individual halloysite and kaolinite contents, bench scale screening and clay separation work (core testing) was undertaken in cooperation with the University of Idaho. This time consuming process included taking a one quarter split from each designated core interval that is 10 feet or less in length, and wet screening the material using a 325 mesh screen with the halloysite plus kaolinite fraction (the "clay" fraction") passing through the screen and the quartz and K-spar portion being a coarse reject. Additional separations provide the halloysite and kaolinite fractions. Material balances, including the quartz and K-feldspar fraction, are then calculated and the kaolinite and halloysite samples photographed using a high powered Scanning Electromagnetic Microscope ("SEM") to confirm the occurrence of halloysite. This separation work, which commenced coincident with the completion of the drill program is now essentially complete.
SEM work has shown that the halloysite is not present in all of the samples, but numerous mineable areas are being identified including one area where a 20.5 foot interval was estimated at 13% halloysite. Individual samples ranged from 0% halloysite up as high as about 17% halloysite.
Earlier metallurgical/material balance work has demonstrated that 31.5% of the typical material mined from the mineral deposit or primary clay passes through a 325 mesh screen and is classified as the halloysite and kaolinite bearing "clay fraction" with the coarser "sand fraction" comprised of quartz, k-spar, and unblunged clay. However, about 6% of the total mass of the primary clay occurs in the clay fraction as very fine quartz. Upon separation, kaolinite can range from 29.5% of the primary clay when there is no halloysite to as low as 8.5% when halloysite reached its highest concentration. The material balances generated from this extensive core testing will be forwarded to SRK Consulting (USA) Inc. of Denver Co., to be incorporated into an updated resource calculation which in turn will be incorporated into a prefeasibility study for the Bovill Kaolin Project. It is expected the resource modeling will confirm areas of significant halloysite enrichment and other areas where there is little or no halloysite.
As an aid in assessing the market value of the halloysite from the Bovill Kaolin deposits, in 2011 the Company engaged DURTEC GmbH of Neubrandenburg Germany ("DURTEC") to undertake a market study of halloysite market opportunities and undertake a series of tests to determine if the basic characteristics of the Bovill halloysite can be improved through additional processing. The initial work completed by Dr. Joachim Schomburg of DURTEC indicates the Bovill halloysite has one of the lowest levels of deleterious trace elements of any halloysite tested to date, an excellent aspect ratio (the ratio of the length of a tube to the diameter) and contained no crystalline silica or alunite.
This initial work appears to position I-Minerals halloysite as one of the premium halloysite products that may be best suited for some of the very high value applications such as cosmetics and other life science products. Based on the favorable initial results the Company engaged DURTEC to undertake additional studies to further reduce trace element levels without destroying the unique tubular structure of halloysite and improve the brightness of halloysite products. Preliminary results of this work are very encouraging and the Company expects to report additional test results in the near future.
Since the completion of the Preliminary Economic Analysis in December of 2011 and the publishing of a market study on the Kaolin, potassium feldspar and quartz products by Charles River Associates (an executive summary of this report is available of the Company's website www.imineralsinc.com), strong interest has been generated in the Company's mineral products most notably high pure quartz products and halloysite. I-Minerals products have been sent to prospective customers in North and South America, Europe and Asia for testing. Results have been very favorable and in several instances customers are now seeking phase two samples of several hundred kgs for large batch testing. Sample inventory is currently insufficient to meet these requests, but I-Minerals is reviewing further pilot plant work and or toll processing upon the approval of the mining and reclamation Plan for mining activities
A. Lamar Long, CPG, is a qualified person ("QP") for I-Minerals inc. and has reviewed and approved the contents of this release.
"The submission of the Mining and Reclamation Plan has I-Minerals on the cusp of the most important milestone in its history -- Production," stated Thomas Conway President and CEO. "While the contemplated tonnage is quite low it is an important stepping stone towards becoming a viable producer of high value industrial minerals."
per: "Thomas M. Conway"
Thomas M. Conway,
President & CEO
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