Our alluvial sands are easily treatable using low-cost methods commonly used by the mineral sands industry. Considerable work has been done over the years to identify the most appropriate method to recover high grade HM concentrates at low unit costs. This work includes extensive laboratory testwork and processing on 4,200 stream sediment, auger and aircore drill samples, as well bulk samples from test pits. Simple gravity processing can produce separate concentrates of Monazite (which contains Light and Medium REE), Xenotime (which contains the critical and valuable Heavy REE and Yttrium), Zircon and possibly other heavy minerals.

In comparison to hard-rock deposits, our in-ground rare-earth mineral tenure is relatively low, however our capital and operating cost bases are much lower. There are several other positive aspects of the project:

 

  • Crossland’s test work on alluvium samples show that REE concentrates can be produced with generally higher REE values (typically 10-50% TREO) than at typical hard-rock REE deposits, at potentially lower costs than those expected from conventional hard rock mining. 

  • Crossland has demonstrated in test samples that monazite (containing light REE), and a separate mineral xenotime (bearing medium and heavy REE), contain most of the REE in its gravity concentrates. These minerals are regarded as primary feed-stock for REE production, with few of the problems that may confront more complex mineralogy.

  • The proportion of the critical heavy REE in concentrates produced from Charley Creek alluvium is substantially higher than most other known advanced REE resource projects.

  • Compared with most hard-rock REE projects, the Charley Creek alluvial development concept could be brought into production in a short time frame

  • Our project sites are well located. Given the size of the tenements, there are several sites where the operation can start, be expanded or duplicated in the future. Most of these sites are within practical proximity to critical infrastructure.

Since our Scoping Study of 2013, REO prices are considerably lower. Whilst REO price have dropped, the mining industry has correspondingly contracted. This decline has impacted the supply and services industries to become more competitive. We have further refined our project concept in-house by undertaking testwork and desktop studies/enquiries with major contractors/suppliers. We have focused on increasing efficiency to reduce costs and conserve water. We consider the following operational changes essential to our project going forward:

  • Increase the mining and processing rate from 11M tpa to 22.5M tpa to present more metal to the process facilities, 

  • Assessing owner/operator mining operations to reduce operational costs. This makes sense considering the potentially long mine-life ahead. 

  • Change the mining and material handling method by incorporating larger mining systems and more efficient bulk material transport. We are assessing dozer traps or the use of face shovels or reclaimers coupled with mobile conveyors and semi-mobile overland conveyors,

  • Using Pre-Concentrated Screening (PCS) we can up-grade the Wet Concentrator Plant (WCP) feed. Simply put, we can reject a small proportion of metal by screening of larger sized sand particles, for a greater reduction of the run of mine tonnage,

  • Use a semi-mobile processing facility central to the mining operating;  consisting of PCS, De-watering Plant and WCP for more efficient materials handling,

  • De-watering at the central mine area facility , so as to recycle the water for the process and convey the tailings back to the pit,

  • De-centralize power generation and reduce power distribution/transmission capital costs by using gas micro-turbines at the various work locations. Gas would be trucked to site to reduce the capital costs associated with a fixed gas pipeline. The use of gas reduces environmental impact and spillage exposure. It also allows clean exhaust gas to be recovered and used to dry concentrate,

  • By employing electric systems at the project onset, we may in the future, use solar farms to supplement electric power and reduce gas usage and the running costs for power generation,

  • Downstream processing with an on-site REO refinery, rather than selling a lower value concentrate,

  • Minimising on-ground civil works and on-site project construction costs by choosing modular mobile plant equipment.

A simplified conceptual view of our proposed operation is illustrated below. About every 7 years, the semi-mobile central mine PCS/WCP process facility will be moved north, east or west and the mining cycle repeated. The mining/operation could be duplicated to provide a lower cost operation with fixed plant synergies from the first operation. Given the consistency of the mineralisation and abundance of alluvial sand, this opportunity is likely.

Development Concept

Crossland Strategic Metals Ltd. is an ASX listed company. ASX: CUX