Concept level studies carried out in 2013 on bulk samples from Mt Thirsty by the consulting and professional services provider RMDSTEM Limited showed that Co extractions up to 80% could be obtained by a process of agitated vat leaching using SO2 as a reagent. SO2 selectively disassociates the Mn oxides in the ore, freeing the contained Co into solution. Iron oxides and saprolitic silicates are not dissolved, thus their contained Ni does not report to solution. Consequently, Ni recoveries are low, at about 25%.
The results of work done to date are sufficiently encouraging to warrant continuing process development with a view to progressing to a Scoping Study.