Fireweed Zinc Ltd (CVE:FWZ) has revealed that tests using state-of-the-art X-ray fluorescence (XRF) ore sorting technology could substantially improve the economics of its flagship Macmillan Pass zinc project in Yukon.
The firm said it carried out an initial test at the Boundary zone, which lies 15km northwest of the Jason zinc-lead-silver deposit, and is a potential open pit mine.
In lunchtime trading in Toronto, shares in Fireweed were 6.6% higher at $0.65.
Brandon Macdonald, chief executive at Fireweed, described the ore sorting results as "excellent". It means the firm could upgrade the feed grade to a mine to 5% zinc from 2.5% zinc, with recovery of between 80% and 85% of zinc at low cost.
"These results suggest that we may be able to reject 50% to 70% of low-grade and waste rock at low cost near a potential open pit operation at Boundary with less than 15% loss of zinc mineralization before material is transported to a central processing plant at Tom," said Macdonald.
"We have now begun the next step and moved the drill to Boundary to both confirm and step out from historic holes, as well as obtain a two tonne sample to confirm that these ore sorting results may be obtained on a larger scale and to provide additional material for metallurgical testing.
"If the larger test is successful, we can then incorporate the benefits of an XRF ore sorting system at Boundary into a revised PEA economic study along with upgraded information from recent drilling at Tom, Jason and End Zones.”
XRF sorting is a technology currently used at more than 50 operations across the world including Hecla’s San Sebastian mine in Mexico and AngloAmerican’s Mogalakwena mine in South Africa.
In simple terms, a sensor distinguishes and measures surface metal on rock pieces as they move along a conveyor belt.
Fireweed’s Macmillan Pass project includes the Tom, Jason, Boundary Zone and End Zone zinc-lead-silver deposits.
At Boundary, the known mineralization is spread over an area almost 2km long and 200 to 800 metres wide. It has been tested with 24 historic holes and previous grades have averaged 2.0% to 2.5% zinc that includes intervals of higher grade.
The zone has only been tested to a depth of 200 metres and remains open to depth and along trend.
Also in today's statement, Fireweed said it had inked an amendment to its option agreement on the MAC claims at the Macmillan Pass project, which reduces the cash payment and issues shares for the balance of the payment, which was due on July 24 this year.
The option payment is changed from $95,000 to $50,000 plus 95,000 shares.
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