Quantifying the Recoverable Resources of Companion Metals: A Preliminary Study of Australian Mineral Resources
|Main host metal||Companion metal(s)*||Main host metal||Companion metal(s)*|
|Ni||Sc, Co, Ru, Rh, Pd, Os, Ir||Al||V, Ga|
|Cu||Co, As, Se, Mo, Ag, Te, Re, Au||Ti||Zr, Hf|
|Fe||V, Sc, La, Ce, Pr, Nd||Rare Earth Elements||Y, Th|
|Zn||Ge, Ag, Cd, In, Tl||Mo||Re|
|Pb||Ag, Sb, Tl, Bi||Au||Ag|
2. Hybrid Methodology for Quantifying Recoverable Companion Metals
2.1. Mineral Resource Reporting
- Ore Reserves—assessments demonstrate at the time of reporting that profitable extraction could reasonably be justified. Ore Reserves are sub-divided in order of increasing confidence into Probable Ore Reserves and Proved Ore Reserves.
- Mineral Resources—the location, quantity, grade, geological characteristics, and continuity of a mineral resource are known such that there are reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction, although not all modifying factors have been assessed and hence some uncertainty remains. Mineral Resources are sub-divided, in order of increasing confidence, into Inferred, Indicated, and Measured categories.
2.2. Quantifying Economic and Recoverable Mineral Resources
- High—a current code-based mineral resource is reported (from 2012, but if not available, generally within the last five years).
- Medium—a current code-based mineral resource is available for ore tonnage, but no ore grade is reported and an alternate literature source is used (e.g., technical report, journal paper). These resources are similar in nature to existing mines and thus have a reasonable prospect of being considered for future extraction.
- Low—no current code-based mineral resource for ore tonnage or ore grade is reported, and alternate literature sources are used (e.g., technical report, journal paper); these resources are not considered similar in nature to existing mines and thus are highly speculative.
3. Quantifying Australian Companion Metal Resources
3.1. Summary of Australia’s Principal Mines by Commodity and Companion Metals
|Mine/Project||Ore type||Primary process||Mt ore||%Ni||%Cu||%Co||kt Ni||kt Cu||t Co||Co recovery||Companies|
|Murrin Murrin, Australia||Ni laterite||HPAL+Heap Leach||~3.0||~1.3||-||~0.1||33.4||-||2400||~79%||Glencore (through Minara Res.)|
|Cosmos-Sinclair, Australia||Mag. sulfide||Flotation||0.726||2.12||nd||nd||11.7||0.6||322||nd||Xstrata|
|Savannah, Australia||Mag. sulfide||Flotation||0.672||1.28||0.69||0.067||7.4||4.4||401||88.6%||Panoramic Resources|
|Kambalda Group, Australia d||Mag. sulfide||Flotation||~1.13 d||~2.94 d||~0.24 d||~0.03 #,d||27.7 d||2.1 d||~168 d||~50% d||Various d|
|Primary ores/Host metal(s)||Number of mines||2012 production||Mining methods||Ore processing methods||Major mines||Main companion metals/minerals|
|Bauxite||5||76.28 Mt saleable||open cut||Beneficiation||Weipa, Worsley-Boddington, Huntly-Willowdale, Gove||none|
|Alumina||6||20.9 Mt alumina||Alumina refinery|
|Copper||32||914,000 t Cu||open cut, underground||Flotation, Heap Leach (SX-EW)||Mt Isa, Olympic Dam, Ernest Henry, Nifty, Mt Lyell, Prominent Hill, Cadia Valley||gold, silver, sulfuric acid, magnetite|
|Gold||68||~250 t Au||open cut, underground||Carbon-in-Pulp, Heap Leach, Flotation||Kalgoorlie, Telfer, Boddington, Cadia Valley||silver, copper|
|Iron Ore||13||490.8 Mt saleable concentrate||open cut||Beneficiation||Mt Newman, Mt Tom Price, Chichester, Middleback Ranges, Savage River||none|
|Lead-Zinc-Silver||13||648,000 t Pb||open cut, underground||Flotation||Mt Isa, Cannington, Broken Hill, Century, McArthur River, Rosebery||gold, copper, sulfuric acid|
|1,541,000 t Zn|
|1728 t Ag|
|Manganese||3||6.21 Mt concentrate||open cut||Flotation||Groote Eylandt, Woodie Woodie||none|
|Nickel||9||246,000 t Ni||open cut, underground||Flotation||Kambalda, Mt Keith, Leinster, Murrin Murrin, Cosmos||cobalt, copper|
|Tin||3||6014 t Sn||underground||Flotation||Renison Bell||copper|
3.2. Summary of Australia’s Principal Mineral Resources by Major Commodity and Companion Metals
|Primary/Host metal(s)||No. of Mines/Deposits a||Mt ore||Ore grades||Contained metals||Possible companion metals||National estimate b|
|Bauxite||28 (H)||7059.2||~42.0% Al2O3||2967.8 Mt Al2O3||Ga, V, Fe||9328 Mt bauxite|
|5 (M)||1340.5||~50.1% Al2O3||672.1 Mt Al2O3|
|Copper||162 (H)||23,015.3||0.57% Cu, ~0.34 g/t Au, ~1.6 g/t Ag||131.8 Mt Cu; 7740 t Au; 37,590 t Ag||Mo, Re, Fe, Pb, Zn, U, REEs, Co, Ni, Bi||136.8 Mt Cu|
|41 (M)||663.2||0.34% Cu, ~0.03 g/t Au, ~3.5 g/t Ag||2.24 Mt Cu; 2240 t Au; 21,430 t Ag|
|Gold||346 (H)||24,081.8||0.58 g/t Au, ~1.4 g/t Ag||14,018 t Au; 34,148 t Ag||Cu, Pb, Zn, U, Mo, Fe, Sb, Bi, Re, Ni, PGEs, Ba||14,974 t Au|
|182 (M)||230.9||1.74 g/t Au, ~2.2 g/t Ag||401.8 t Au; 514.4 t Ag|
|Iron ore||214 (H)||120,937||43.6% Fe||52.74 Mt Fe||V, Ti, Cu, Mn||122,135 Mt ore|
|Lead-Zinc-Silver||91 (H)||1979.5||2.79% Pb; 4.50% Zn; 49.1 g/t Ag||55.28 Mt Pb; 89.01 Mt Zn; 97,130 t Ag||Cu, Au, Ba, Ni, Pb, Mo, Co, W, In, Fe, Sn, Hg, Sb, F||58.2 Mt Pb|
|91.9 Mt Zn|
|28 (M)||99.5||1.71% Pb; 2.13% Zn; 15.9 g/t Ag||1.71 Mt Pb; 2.12 Mt Zn; 1580 t Ag||125,200 t Ag|
|Manganese||9 (H)||411.1||23.1% Mn||95.06 Mt Mn||Fe||701 Mt ore|
|8 (M)||14.1||22.4% Mn||3.16 Mt Mn|
|17 (L)||4365||0.50% Mn||21.76 Mt Mn|
|Nickel sulfide||36 (H)||1638.3||0.66% Ni; ~0.02 Cu; ~0.002% Co||10.89 Mt Ni; 0.31 Mt Cu; 38.8 kt Co||Pt, Pd, Au||39.9 Mt Ni|
|21 (M)||463.3||0.30% Ni; ~0.31 Cu; ~0.012% Co||1.41 Mt Ni; 1.46 Mt Cu; 55.1 kt Co|
|Nickel laterite||25 (H)||1480.8||0.67% Ni; ~0.048% Co||9.89 Mt Ni; 716 kt Co||Sc, Pt|
|38 (M)||2884.2||0.78% Ni; ~0.047% Co||22.39 Mt Ni; 1350 kt Co|
|Platinum group elements||8 (H)||454.1||~0.24 g/t Pt, ~0.25 g/t Pd, ~0.2 g/t Rh, ~0.1 g/t Au, ~0.27% Cu, ~0.28% Ni||~109 t Pt, ~112 t Pd, ~90 t Rh, ~45 t Au, ~1.2 Mt Cu, ~1.3 Mt Ni||Ni, Cu, Co||276.1 t PGEs (6E) c|
|Tin||20 (H)||135.9||0.36% Sn; ~0.08% Cu; ~0.05% WO3||484.6 kt Sn; 108 kt Cu; 67.6 kt WO3||Ag, In, Zn, Pb, Fe||635 kt Sn|
|17 (M)||294.1||~0.05% Sn; ~0.01% Cu; 0.16% WO3||133.6 kt Sn; 16 kt Cu; 479.5 kt WO3|
- Scandium: Sc is only reported in Ni laterite deposits in northern Queensland and central New South Wales, forming a potential co-product based on approximate market values for the Sc, Ni, and Co. No such projects have thus far been developed in Australia.
- Antimony: Sb is reported in a select few gold deposits across Australia, and although these projects are often old gold mining fields, they commonly struggle to remain profitable due to the difficulty in separating Sb from Au.
- Molybdenum: Mo resources have been increasing in recent years due to exploration success in finding new deposits across Australia. Historically, Australia has not been a Mo producer.
- Rhenium: Re is reported in only 2 deposits, both in Queensland. As with Mo, historically Australia has not been a Re producer either at its smelters/refineries or accounted for in exported ores or concentrates.
- Indium: As with Sc and Re, In is only reported in 3 deposits, one each in Queensland, Tasmania, and New South Wales. No historic production or exports of In are known.
- Zirconium-Niobium-Hafnium-Tantalum: 4 deposits are reported, two each in Western Australia and New South Wales. They are all considered polymetallic projects which include rare earths and sometimes uranium, thorium, phosphate, and/or gallium. Historically, Australia has not mined and processed such complex polymetallic ores.
|Companion metal||Number of deposits||Mt ore||Ore grades||Contained companion metal||Other metals|
|Scandium||6 (H)||100.8||111 g/t Sc||11,155 t Sc||Ni, Co|
|Molybdenum||16 (H)||7252.3||0.027% Mo||1935 kt Mo||Cu, Re, Ag, Pb, Zn, Au, U, F, W, Co , REEs, V|
|Antimony||6 (H)||13.3||1.43% Sb||190.5 kt Sb||Au, W, Pb, Ag|
|Indium||3 (H)||5.91||21.5 g/t In||127.2 t In||Cu, Sn, Ag, W, Zn|
|Rhenium||2 (H)||69.8||3.4 g/t Re||235.7 t Re||Mo, Cu, Au, Ag|
|Zirconium-Hafnium-Niobium-Tantalum||4 (H)||202.1||0.95% ZrO2||1.93 Mt ZrO2||Ga, Th, U, REEs|
|0.021% HfO2||43.1 kt HfO2|
|0.43% Nb2O5||877 kt Nb2O5|
|0.019% Ta2O5||37.6 kt Ta2O5|
4. Estimating Companion Metal Production Potential
Conflicts of Interest
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© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Mudd, G.M.; Yellishetty, M.; Reck, B.K.; Graedel, T.E. Quantifying the Recoverable Resources of Companion Metals: A Preliminary Study of Australian Mineral Resources. Resources 2014, 3, 657-671. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3040657
Mudd GM, Yellishetty M, Reck BK, Graedel TE. Quantifying the Recoverable Resources of Companion Metals: A Preliminary Study of Australian Mineral Resources. Resources. 2014; 3(4):657-671. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3040657Chicago/Turabian Style
Mudd, Gavin M., Mohan Yellishetty, Barbara K. Reck, and T. E. Graedel. 2014. "Quantifying the Recoverable Resources of Companion Metals: A Preliminary Study of Australian Mineral Resources" Resources 3, no. 4: 657-671. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3040657