Mineralogical Characterization and Preliminary Beneficiation of the Zoro Lithium Project, Manitoba, Canada

Abstract

The Zoro pegmatite project in east-central Manitoba occurs 20 km east of the historic mining town of Snow Lake. A composite sample (Master Comp) was prepared from three pegmatite zones within Zoro Dyke “D1” including the North, Central, and South Zones for mineralogical analysis and heavy liquid separation (HLS). The mineralogical examination was conducted on a subsample crushed to ca. P80 of 600 μm to determine the overall mineral assemblage, liberation of spodumene, and assess the potential recovery of spodumene by flotation. XRD and QEMSCAN results show that the sample consists of spodumene (10.5%), quartz (29.3%), plagioclase (29.0%), K-feldspars (21.3%), micas (5.1%), tourmaline (2.9%), and Fe-Mn-phosphates (0.1%). Spodumene is well liberated (88%), but also forms complex particles (7%), and middlings with quartz (4%). Liberation of spodumene increases from 81 in the + 600 μm to 95% in the − 106 μm size fraction. Liberation of quartz, feldspars, and micas account for 89%, 94%, and 83%, respectively. Electron probe micro-analyses and LA-ICP-MS showed that the average Li concentration is 3.7% in spodumene, 2196 ppm in micas, 1001 ppm in tourmaline, and 115 ppm in K-feldspars. Thus, spodumene accounts for 96%, micas 2%, Fe-Mn phosphates 1%, and both K-feldspars and tourmaline for < 1% of the total Li in the sample. The mineralogical data indicate the potential to recover spodumene by flotation with minimal Li losses due to other than spodumene carriers. Heavy liquid separation was conducted on the Master Comp which was crushed to − 6.4 mm, while the − 600 μm fraction was removed from this test. The coarse fraction − 6.4 mm/+ 600 μm was subjected to HLS tests with eight heavy liquid-specific gravity cut-points (2.65 to 3.10 g/cm3). HLS indicates that it is possible to produce a high-grade lithium concentrate (close to 6% Li2O) after the rejection of iron silicates with magnetic separation.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Far Resources Ltd. for sampling and providing pegmatite samples from their D1 Zoro pegmatite. We are also thankful to SGS for the logistical support.

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Correspondence to Tassos Grammatikopoulos.

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Grammatikopoulos, T., Aghamirian, M., Fedikow, M. et al. Mineralogical Characterization and Preliminary Beneficiation of the Zoro Lithium Project, Manitoba, Canada. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00299-2

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Keywords

  • Zoro pegmatite
  • Spodumene pegmatites
  • Li
  • QEMSCAN characterization
  • Heavy liquid separation