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Gippsland Limited

  1. 38 Posts.
    Document date: Mon 14 Oct 2002 Published: Mon 14 Oct 2002 16:10:02
    Document No: 224897 Document part: A
    Market Flag: N
    Classification: Progress Report

    HOMEX - Perth

    During the past 6 months, Gippsland Limited ("Gippsland" or "the
    Company") has been undertaking a bankable feasibility study ("BFS")
    in respect to the Company's 40 million tonne Abu Dabbab tantalite
    project. The BFS, which is being based upon an annual throughput of 1
    million tonnes, is being executed by the Australian engineering group
    Lycopodium Pty Ltd which has undertaken such tasks in relation to
    numerous Australian and overseas resource projects.

    The initial stage of the BFS focussed on the metallurgy of the
    resource in order to establish the most appropriate process
    flow-sheet to maximise the yields of the metallic products tantalum
    pentoxide ("Ta2O5"), niobium pentoxide ("Nb2O5") and tin ("Sn"). This
    work, which is nearing completion, has confirmed that the majority of
    the Ta205 will be extracted by use of enhanced gravity separation
    techniques whilst the balance of the Ta205 will be recovered during
    the tin smelting process which will yield metallic tin plus Ta2O5 in
    the form of a glass which will ensure that the optimum Ta2O5 recovery
    is achieved.

    The metallurgical testwork has indicated that the metallic components
    will be extracted in a traditional manner for such projects and that
    the Company's consultants will be able to draw upon their
    considerable experience in connection with other major tantalum
    projects located both within Australia and overseas. It will not be
    necessary for the Company to endure the risk normally associated with
    pioneering a new extraction process.

    FELDSPAR - 500,000 tpa

    In addition to the above work, considerable attention has been paid
    to feldspar which will be produced as a co-product to Ta2O5
    production. Based upon past extensive petrographic work and three
    bulk samples the total feldspar content of the deposit is in the
    order of 53%.

    Testwork in Australia has demonstrated that the feldspar produced
    will be prime grade material having a high but most desirable sodium
    oxide ("Na2O") and potassium oxide ("K20") contents of 8.6% and 3.6%

    Additionally, the testwork has demonstrated that the feldspar will
    contain low levels of titanium dioxide ("TIO2") which is a common
    detrimental feldspar impurity.

    Based upon the testwork undertaken to date, the Abu Dabbab has the
    capacity to produce some 500,000 tonnes of high grade feldspar per


    Approximately 70% of World's feldspar output is consumed in the
    production of ceramic wall and floor tiles plus porcelain products as
    found in bathroom and toilet facilities. Ceramic tiles consist of
    approximately 70% feldspar.

    To be suitable for such use, the feldspar must contain certain
    minimum levels of Na2O and K20 plus strict maximum levels of TiO2.

    During October 2002, a Gippsland Director participated in the
    Tecnargilla ceramics exhibition which is held annually in Rimini,
    Italy. This International event is attended by the World's leading
    producers of ceramic tiles and porcelain products, the major ones of
    which are located in Italy. Suppliers of machinery and raw materials
    to the ceramics industry are major participants in the exhibition.

    As a result of discussions held with senior management of a number of
    Italian ceramic producers, the Company was advised that the Abu
    Dabbab feldspar is of exceptional quality and that it would be
    readily accepted in the Italian ceramic industry. It was stated that
    not only is the Na2O and K20 pleasingly high, these alkali metals are
    present in an ideal ratio. Additionally, the level of the deleterious
    T102 was seen to be extremely low being well below the levels found
    in the majority of feldspars presently being used in the Italian
    ceramic industry. Italy presently imports approximately 1.5 Mtpa of
    relatively low grade feldspar from Turkey.

    As a result of contacts made at Tecnargilla, the Company is
    undertaking discussions with a number of major feldspar consumers and
    producers in Italy, Spain and Germany. While these discussions are
    encouraging, no agreement has been reached as at the date of this

    J Telford

    It wont be long now for all those who have waited for this baby to head north

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