• Balabag mine pilot plant completed for testing


    The Philippine unit of Canada’s TVI Pacific Inc. has completed establishment of its pilot plant in Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte to carry out metallurgical test work on different types of mineralization from the Balabag gold-silver mine.

    In a statement posted in its website, TVI Pacific said that TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) has conducted test on the first 30 metric tons of sample materials, with a grading of 4.8 grams/MT of gold and 212 grams of silver/MT.

    Initial results showed an overall recovery of 93 percent for gold and 90 percent for silver after 36 hours leach time, the company added.

    Leaching is the process of recovering minerals from the ore. The sample material analyzed represents different types of vein mineralization distributed throughout the deposits.

    The principal objectives of the pilot plant test work are to confirm the results obtained in previous laboratory tests, optimize the metallurgical processing under an environment that more closely resembles actual operations, provide design parameters for engineering, and to start training personnel in operations and metallurgical process control.

    Current results validate the Balabag test material’s amenability to leaching, as determined from prior laboratory tests. Results also demonstrate the effectiveness of carbon-in-leach (CIL) over both carbon-in-pulp (CIP), and the Merrill-Crowe recovery processes in processing the test material. CIL, CIP, and Merrill Crowe are possible methods for extracting gold and silver from higher grade ore from underground mining operations.

    The pilot plant initially had been operated at a rate of one metric ton per day for 21 days, simulating CIP plant operations. After some reconfiguration in the circuit, it was operated for three days simulating actual CIL plant conditions. The amenability of CIL over CIP processing could translate into a lower capital expenditure due to shorter leach times and the elimination of operational components, further underscoring TVIRD’s efficiency as a low-cost producer. Pilot test work will continue to further optimize process efficiencies.

    “These initial metallurgical test work results are very encouraging,” said TVI Pacific Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Cliff James.

    “Confirmation of metal recoveries in this larger-scale pilot plant will help establish the recoveries of gold and silver that can be achieved in a commercial process,” he added.

    The Balabag gold-silver project is located in the town of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur—approximately 75 kilometers east-northeast of the company’s Canatuan copper-zinc mine.

    The 4,779-hectare Balabag property holds an estimated 1.78 million tons of mineral resources averaging (per ton): 2.34 grams of gold and 72.3 grams of silver. This translates to over 134,000 ounces of gold and over 4 million ounces of silver.

    James Konstantin Galvez


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