Bekem Metals, Inc. Announces Selection of Nickel Processing Technology

Bekem Metals, Inc. Announces Selection of Nickel Processing Technology

Bekem Metals Inc. announced that it has completed initial pilot testing of various technologies for processing nickel ore from its Kempirsai deposit. The testing was conducted in the United Kingdom, Russia and Kazakhstan. The Company has also received final pre-feasibility study reports (PFS).

The Company has spent the past several years analyzing and pilot testing a number of nickel processing technologies. The most recent pilot testing and the PFS were performed in respect to the following technologies:

— Hydrometallurgical technologies – hot acid and heap leaching; and

— Pyrometallurgical technologies — rotary kiln with electric furnace (RKEF) with AC and DC furnaces and liquid bath furnace (Vanyukov Process).

The primary objective of pilot testing and commissioning the PFS was to identify an effective and efficient nickel processing technology in terms of capital expenses and operating cost, nickel recovery and input-output volatility parameters. Based on the results of testing, the PFS reports and other factors, such as economics and funding, the Company intends to focus on the Vanyukov Process for further development of the Kempirsai deposits and construction of a nickel processing plant in Aktobe region, Kazakhstan, subject to obtaining the necessary capital financing.

The Vanyukov Process, first developed in the 1940′s in Russia, is capable of treating oxide nickel ores to form either a nickel matte (by addition of a sulphur containing compound such as pyrite) or directly to form a ferronickel alloy containing up to 20% nickel. Potential advantages of using the Vanyukov Process compared to the other processing technologies considered include:

— lower capital expenditure requirements; — lower operating expenses; — reduced environmental impact; — longer periods between equipment repairs; — replacement of electrical energy for smelting with coal and/or natural gas; and

— simplified process flow sheet.

Small pilot scale tests conducted in the first half of 2008 on Kempirsai ore utilizing the Vanyukov Process technology demonstrated recovery of more than 90% of the nickel, i.e. more than 90% of the nickel contained in the ore samples was recovered in the ferronickel alloy.

Commenting on the PFS reports and the results of the pilot scale testing, Yermek Kudabayev, the Company’s president, stated, “We are excited by the positive outcome of the Vanyukov Process. We are focused on obtaining capital funding to begin work on the design of a nickel processing plant utilizing the Vanyukov Process and a construction schedule. We believe it will take about two years to construct a plant.”

The PFS have involved several independent experts including well-known western companies like Wardell Armstrong International, GBM, PB Power and leading Russian institutes — Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys and Gipronickel.

The Company is engaged in the exploration for commercial deposits of nickel, cobalt and other minerals in Kazakhstan. The Company maintains administrative offices in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Salt Lake City, Utah.

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