White Mountain Completes First Phase Drilling at Eli Prospect and Prepares for Pilot Plant Program at Las Carolinasadmin
White Mountain Titanium Corporation reports that a first phase drill program at the Eli prospect, which commenced in the late spring, has now been completed. Eli, one of four rutile prospects which currently constitute the Cerro Blanco project, is situated approximately 3 kilometers southwest of the main Las Carolinas prospect.
The drill program, which was comprised of 32 diamond drill holes totalling 4,653 meters, was designed as a follow up to a previously announced surface geochemical sampling of outcrop. Drilling was restricted to an area on the prospect measuring approximately 1,000 meters by 500 meters and followed a grid oriented northeast – southwest. The grid consisted of three parallel lines, each line separated by approximately 100 meters. Drill stations were established along each grid line at 50 meter centres with drilling concentrated on the northern, central and southern portions of the grid.
All of the first phase drill holes contained rutile mineralization with mineralized intercepts ranging from 20 to 80 meters in length. Rutile grades were similar to those at Las Carolinas with the highest grades reporting in the northern portion of the drill grid.
The Company’s geologists have recommended that metallurgical test work be conducted on a sample of drill core from Eli to test mineral associations of micas (phengite) and rutile-leucoxene for comparison with a similar test conducted on drill samples from the Las Carolinas prospect. The geologists have as well recommended a second phase drill program at Eli which would expand on the drilling conducted in the northern, central and southern portions of the drill grid. Such a drill program would be scheduled after the Company completes infill and step out drilling at the Las Carolinas prospect.
With the first phase drilling program at Eli now complete and as part of its strategic program to set and meet project milestones, the Company is now moving towards its next milestone, pilot plant test work on the Las Carolinas prospect. Management is working with AMEC Cade, the Company’s engineering contractors, and SGS Lakefield, its metallurgical consultants, to assemble equipment and process reagents in preparation for conducting a pilot test to process a representative bulk sample of what would be run of mine mill feed from Las Carolinas to produce a commercial high grade titanium dioxide (rutile) concentrate.
The pilot plant will operate at a rate of 1,000 kilograms per hour, and the process flow sheet will consist of crushing, grinding, flotation and concentrate production. This test work will generate vital engineering and process data which will supplement the considerable amount of technical data already developed by the Company as it advances the Cerro Blanco project towards a final feasibility study. The pilot plant test work will commence as quickly as possible, with results expected by the end of 2008.
“I am delighted with the results of the first phase of drilling at Eli and look forward to successfully completing the pilot plant test work,” said Michael Kurtanjek, the Company’s President and CEO. “Eli holds forth the possibility of a second source of mill feed. Success with the pilot plant test work would provide a ‘proof of process’ for the proposed flow sheet and significantly enhance the profile of the project.”
The Company holds mining concessions on the Cerro Blanco property currently consisting of 33 registered mining exploitation concessions and five mining exploration concessions in the process of being constituted, over approximately 8,225 hectares located approximately 39 kilometers west of the City of Vallenar in the Atacama, or Region III, geographic region of northern Chile. The Company’s principal objectives are to advance the Cerro Blanco project towards a final engineering feasibility, and to secure off-take contracts for the planned rutile concentrate output. It would be the intention to sell the rutile concentrate to paint and pigment producers. Work also continues to investigate the commercial viability of producing a feldspar co-product. The feldspar could find applications in the glass and ceramics industries.