Vancouver, BC / CNW / April 6, 2021 / Blue Sky Uranium Corp. (TSX-V: BSK, FSE: MAL2; OTC: BKUCF), "Blue Sky" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that the Company is preparing to execute a second phase of process design tests for the Ivana uranium-vanadium deposit at the Company’s Amarillo Grande Project in Rio Negro Province, Argentina. Independent Technical Advisor Chuck Edwards, P.Eng., will again oversee the testwork program and ongoing process design to support future advanced engineering studies.
“The Ivana deposit is the cornerstone of value at the Amarillo Grande Project This detailed metallurgical program is a key step to further advancing Ivana and building additional value for the project as a whole,” stated Nikolaos Cacos, Blue Sky President & CEO.
The metallurgical testwork will be completed at the Saskatchewan Research Council, (SRC) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. SRC is one of Canada's leading providers of applied research, development & demonstration, and technology commercialization, including specific expertise in uranium. SRC is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. Results of these studies will allow refined processing capital and operating cost estimates and will assess the characteristics of final uranium and vanadium products. Further program details and a summary of previous results are provided below.
Chuck Edwards P.Eng. is a distinguished Professional Engineer and metallurgist with extensive experience in Research and Development, operations, government service, consulting and engineering management. He specializes in uranium processing for both alkaline and acid leach plants and was involved in the engineering design of all the current uranium facilities in Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin, and has worked on uranium projects on five continents. Mr. Edwards was the Process Engineering Advisor at the Saskatchewan Research Council, Director of Metallurgy at Amec Foster Wheeler, and Principal Metallurgist at Cameco Corporation, among others. Further, he has been a Technical Consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna Austria since 1999 and served as President of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) in 2011-2012. He was the independent qualified person responsible for the process design and testwork program for Ivana documented in the Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) announced February 27, 2019. Further details on Chuck Edwards background can be found here.
Details of Current Process Design Program
The upcoming studies will be carried out on a new composite bulk sample consisting of mineralized material from the Ivana deposit. The process unit operations to be investigated in this second set of tests include:
- membrane filtration and liming
- uranium-vanadium separation by solvent extraction
- uranium and vanadium precipitation
- uranium calcining, and vanadium calcining.
Membrane filtration tests will be carried out with loaded leach solution (liquor) from the alkaline carbonate process. The membrane filtration process will yield three products: 1) a concentrated loaded leach liquor, 2) a concentrated reagent liquor for reuse in leaching, and 3) a clean fluid for washing uranium and vanadium precipitates. The testwork will determine the precise chemistry and the flow rate of each process stream.
Liming reduces the bicarbonate concentration in the concentrated loaded leach liquor and also precipitates impurities such as sulfate ion, iron, thorium and radium. The precipitates are removed by filtration. The filtrate is feed to the solvent extraction (SX) circuit. The program will assess the consumption of liming reagents and the precise chemistry and the flow rate of each process stream.
The SX circuit separates the uranium and the vanadium into two aqueous solutions. The uranium solution is feed to the uranium precipitation process. Similarly, the vanadium solution is feed to the vanadium precipitation process.
Uranium is precipitated as uranium peroxide, also known as yellowcake, which is calcined to uranium oxide, which is drummed for shipping to customers. Vanadium is precipitated as ammonium metavanadate, also known as redcake, which is calcined to vanadium pentoxide, which is also drummed for shipping to customers. The testwork program will evaluate the efficiency of the precipitation process for each of uranium and vanadium, the consumption of precipitation reagents, the precise chemistry and flow rate of each process stream, and the purity of the uranium oxide and the vanadium pentoxide products relative to market standards.
Summary of Metallurgical Results to Date
In December 2018, BSK completed a first set of process design tests for the Ivana uranium-vanadium mill. The tests were completed at the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Based on the testwork, the overall process plant recovery is 85% for uranium (derived from 89% leach feed preparation recovery and 95% subsequent alkaline leach circuit recovery); and 53% for vanadium (derived from 89% leach feed preparation recovery and 60% subsequent alkaline leach circuit recovery). Recoveries were determined through the mineralogical, metallurgical and process engineering test work program completed by The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), as detailed in the Blue Sky’s Press Release dated February 7th, 2019.
The work in included:
- Mineralogical determination
- leach feed preparation
- leach feed thickening
- slurry carbonation
- uranium-vanadium leach
- leach tailings filtration
The conventional uranium minerals in the Ivana test sample are carnotite, liebigite, and tyuyamunite. Two additional uranium minerals include an oxidized variant of coffinite, called β-coffinite by Blue Sky, and a yet un-named one.
Leach feed preparation, using agitated attrition scrubbing, separates the smaller -100 micron diameter uranium-vanadium particles from the larger barren +100 micron diameter particles. The smaller particles constitute the leach feed. The larger particles are waste, eventually to be disposed in mined-out areas. Leach feed preparation increases the leach feed uranium and vanadium grades by approximately four times.
Leach feed thickening provides a suitable leach feed slurry density for leaching. Slurry carbonation increases the concentration of leach reactants to a level suitable for uranium and vanadium leaching.
The uranium-vanadium leach is an alkaline carbonate (sodium carbonate and bicarbonate) process. No oxidant was required to achieve the recoveries noted above.
Leach tailings filtration separates the waste barren leached solids (tailings) from the valuable uranium-vanadium loaded leach liquor.
Process Design Criteria
The process data from all of the process design tests will be used to derive process design criteria for the Ivana uranium-vanadium mill, allowing more refined design of the mill and derivation of capital and operating cost estimates for the mill.
The metallurgical program is conducted under the guidance of Chuck Edwards, P. Eng. FCIM, an independent consultant to the Company and a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101. The contents of this news release have been reviewed and approved by Mr. Edwards.
The design of the Company's exploration programs is undertaken by the Company's geological staff under the supervision of David Terry, Ph.D., P.Geo. Dr. Terry is a Director of the Company and a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101.
About the Amarillo Grande Project
The Company's 100% owned Amarillo Grande Uranium-Vanadium Project in Rio Negro Province, Argentina is a new uranium district controlled by Blue Sky. The Ivana deposit is the cornerstone of the Project and the first part of the district for which both a Mineral Resource Estimate and a Preliminary Economic Assessment have been completed. Mineralization at the Ivana deposit has characteristics of sandstone-type and surficial-type uranium-vanadium deposits. The sandstone-type mineralization is related to a braided fluvial system and indicates the potential for a district-size system. In the surficial-type deposits, mineralization coats loosely consolidated pebbles, and is amenable to leaching and simple upgrading.
The Project includes several other target areas over a regional trend, at or near surface. The area is flat-lying, semi-arid and accessible year-round, with nearby rail, power and port access. The Company’s strategy includes delineating resources at multiple areas and advancing the entire project to prefeasibility level.
For additional details on the project and properties, please see the Company’s website www.blueskyuranium.com.
About Blue Sky Uranium Corp.
Blue Sky Uranium Corp. is a leader in uranium discovery in Argentina. The Company's objective is to deliver exceptional returns to shareholders by rapidly advancing a portfolio of surficial uranium deposits into low-cost producers, while respecting the environment, the communities, and the cultures in all the areas in which we work. Blue Sky has the exclusive right to properties in two provinces in Argentina. The Company’s flagship Amarillo Grande Project was an in-house discovery of a new district that has the potential to be both a leading domestic supplier of uranium to the growing Argentine market and a new international market supplier. The Company is a member of the Grosso Group, a resource management group that has pioneered exploration in Argentina since 1993.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Nikolaos Cacos, President, CEO and Director
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This news release may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future, including, without limitation, statements about the Company’s plans for its mineral properties; the Company’s business strategy, plans and outlooks; the future financial or operating performance of the Company; and future exploration and operating plans are forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements and, even if such actual results are realized or substantially realized, there can be no assurance that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, the Company. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things: the impact of COVID-19; risks and uncertainties related to the ability to obtain, amend, or maintain licenses, permits, or surface rights; risks associated with technical difficulties in connection with mining activities; and the possibility that future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with the Company’s expectations. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. Readers are encouraged to refer to the Company's public disclosure documents for a more detailed discussion of factors that may impact expected future results. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, unless required pursuant to applicable laws. We advise U.S. investors that the SEC's mining guidelines strictly prohibit information of this type in documents filed with the SEC. U.S. investors are cautioned that mineral deposits on adjacent properties are not indicative of mineral deposits on our properties.