1. Most Discussed
  2. Gainers & Losers
TIR 0.0¢

TITAN RESOURCES-Article from Mining News

  1. 49
    It has taken Western Australian-based junior
    Titan Resources just three-years to move
    its revolutionary BioHeap technology from
    the laboratory to the world stage.
    Titan’s technology, which uses bacteria to
    leach base metals from sulphide ores, has the
    potential to revolutionise the way large-scale,
    low-grade base metal orebodies are treated.
    Titan managing director Bill Ryan told
    RESOURCESTOCKS on a recent visit to the
    company’s Radio Hill mine, located 30km
    from Karratha in Western Australia, although
    the company was satisfied “the BioHeap
    process works, the next step for Titan was to
    make it commercial”.
    And that is what Titan is just about to do.
    Many of the world’s largest nickel producers
    such as WMC and Inco are testing the
    BioHeap technology, however, it was China’s
    largest nickel miner Jinchuan Non-Ferrous
    Metals Corporation which was the first move
    to bed down a commercial agreement with
    Titan.
    Titan announced in late-April it had begun
    formal negotiations with JMC to create a joint
    venture agreement to commercialise the
    BioHeap process in China.
    Although Titan is keen to get some
    commercial runs on the board for BioHeap,
    Ryan who recently returned from a trip to the
    Gansu province in Western China, said he was
    aware of the market’s concern of investing
    too heavily in the world’s largest communist
    nation.
    “China is a seriously foreign country,” Ryan
    said.“We want to take it in stages.”
    Market trepidation aside, Titan’s JMC
    agreement has huge potential for the Perth
    junior’s share growth.
    JMC has proven resources of 460 million
    tonnes of nickel sulphide ore containing 4Mt
    of nickel.The company produces 48,000t per
    annum of nickel metal, accounting for 88% of
    China’s total output, along with 60,000t of
    copper and 1000t of cobalt.
    Ryan said Titan has signed a memorandum
    of understanding with JMC to form a jointly
    owned Chinese technology company, with
    Titan having 75% control. The joint venture
    company will charge a fee, per tonne, to
    provide the bacteria to treat the nickel
    sulphide ore.
    The company, which has yet to be named,
    would own the BioHeap technology in China
    only, Ryan said.
    Initially, the joint venture aims to mine,
    construct and operate a trial heap of
    200,000t of JMC ore in the first phase, which
    should start late this year or in early 2003.
    If successful, Titan then plans to boost
    production from an initial 1Mtpa operation in
    2005 to an annual capacity of 1.8Mt.
    Ryan said it would cost Titan as little as $1
    million to set-up and staff a laboratory in
    China’s Gansu province.
    “If the initial phase is successful we will
    make some serious money,” Ryan said.
    Titan is currently testing a large sample of
    JMC ore in laboratory column trials which,
    after a pre-acidification phase, is producing
    positive results.
    Titan is in the final stages of pilot testing
    the BioHeap process on two 5000t heaps at
    the Radio Hill mine (ore was sourced from
    Titan’s low-grade Mt Sholl deposit).
    [titan resources]
    Titan Resources stands on the verge of signing its first commercial
    deal for its BioHeap technology with China’s largest nickel producer,
    Jinchuan Non-Ferrous Metals Corporation.
    By Sinéad Mangan
    Titan spawns first offshore
    “bacterial bugs” deal
    Titan Resources managing director Bill Ryan
    ... “What we are trying to do is very difficult
    for a small Western Australian company and
    a lot depends on our discussions with
    partners. We now have the Chinese on
    board and I suspect we will shortly get
    to an agreement with WMC.”
    Titan is currently testing an ion
    exchange nickel recovery unit,
    belonging to a Dutch subsidiary of
    Outokumpu of Finland. The system
    removes the need for electrowinning
    circuits or the precipitation methods
    currently used in base metal mines.
    Titan is currently testing an ion
    exchange nickel recovery unit,
    belonging to a Dutch subsidiary of
    Outokumpu of Finland. The system
    removes the need for electrowinning
    circuits or the precipitation methods
    currently used in base metal mines.
    2 page titan for isaac 16/5/02 12:57 PM Page 1
    Although bacterial oxidation and nonbacterial
    heap leaching are established
    technologies in the gold and copper
    industries, Titan group microbiologist Tamsin
    Williams explains their combined use in nickel
    extraction is unique.
    “The BioHeap process treats coarse
    crushed ore, so avoids costly grinding and
    concentration steps usually involved in
    bacterial oxidation techniques,”Williams said.
    To look at Titan’s trial heaps, it is hard to
    imagine the process being transposed to larger
    mountains of ore, however,Williams said the
    pilot plant has continually returned positive
    results, at times returning as high as 90%
    extraction of the contained nickel in solution.
    And Titan is certainly hedging its bets during
    the trial process at Radio Hill, testing every
    possible mining scenario through the pilot plant.
    “The idea is to know in advance how the
    process will deal with various conditions,” said
    Williams.
    Williams said Titan was currently testing
    the BioHeap process on chalcopyrite ores
    due to the large interest generated in the
    process from South America’s copper mines.
    It is also breeding a salt tolerant bacteria,
    which will be suitable to areas without good
    quality water supply such as the WA’s Eastern
    Goldfields.
    Part of the work at Radio Hill also includes
    testing a space age looking ion exchange
    nickel recovery unit, belonging to a Dutch
    subsidiary of Outokumpu of Finland.
    The ion exchange unit uses a specialised
    resin (supplied by American Purity System), to
    directly recover metals from the BioHeap
    leach system without the prior removal of
    dissolved iron. The end result is almost pure
    metal in solution.
    The system removes the need for
    electrowinning circuits or the precipitation
    methods currently used in base metal mines.
    Ryan said if Titan was to commercialise the
    ion exchange circuit, the company might look
    to “trade in nickel intermediates” for the
    lucrative chemical industry.
    He said Titan was keen to trial BioHeap
    commercially on bigger orebodies to test
    how the process transposes to larger
    stockpiles of ore.
    “We have to get this process to real
    orebodies because that is where fundamental
    problems could be found,” Ryan said. “To date
    BioHeap has surpassed all of our expectations.
    But until we put this into production on our
    own deposits I think it may be difficult to secure
    JVs to our satisfication, except of course in the
    case of the Chinese who are extremely keen.”
    However, Ryan said Titan is pretty keen to
    have its own commercial BioHeap operation
    up-and-running “some time early to mid next
    year”.
    Titan’s options for commercial
    development of BioHeap include its own
    Carr Boyd Rocks project, located 80km
    north-west of Kalgoorlie, or a deal with
    WMC, which is interested in the technology
    for either its Leinster or Mt Keith low-grade
    dumps.
    At present Carr Boyd just falls short of
    tonnes, so Titan has started a $750,000
    drilling program with the aim of increasing the
    500,000t resource, grading about 1.3% nickel
    to about 1Mt.
    “We would hope Carr Boyd will be one of
    two operations which will give us our first
    commercial BioHeap operation,” Ryan said.
    Ore at Titan’s Mt Sholl low-grade deposit,
    located close to Radio Hill, is also under
    consideration.
    Ryan said the company has yet to decide
    the fate of the north Widgiemooltha deposit,
    which it purchased from WMC last year.
    Titan’s long-term objective is to market the
    BioHeap technology to leverage into equity
    positions of between 20-40% in major metals
    projects.
    Ryan said he was keen for the company to
    remain a mining stock, rather than a
    technology stock. However, that will now be
    made more difficult as the company’s cash
    cow, the Radio Hill mine which it bought from
    Resolute in 1997, is just about out of ore. Staff
    at Radio Hill are winding down operations
    with the mine closure scheduled for August.
    The mine produced 10,297t of nickel
    concentrate containing over 1242t of nickel,
    68t of cobalt and 1229oz of palladium in the
    December quarter at an average cash cost of
    US$1.05 per pound of nickel, making it one of
    the lower cost producers in the world.
    Over its four years of production Radio
    Hill has continually tipped dollars into Titan’s
    coffers, allowing the company to safely pursue
    its technology dreams. Titan has spent more
    than $12 million developing BioHeap.
    However, Ryan said Titan, which has $14
    million in cash available, is currently scouting
    for another Radio Hill.
    Titan’s status as a mining technology
    company as opposed to a straight-up-anddown
    “rocks stock” may be inevitable as the
    company moves closer to the
    commercialisation of BioHeap.
    However, Ryan predicts once the process
    is proven on larger orebodies, large share
    growth is in store for Titan shareholders.
    “What we are trying to do is very difficult
    for a small Western Australian company and a
    lot depends on our discussions with
    partners,” Ryan said. “We now have the
    Chinese on board and I suspect we will
    shortly get to an agreement with WMC.”
    50 May/June 2002 RESOURCESTOCKS
    titan resources
    ... at a glance
    HEAD OFFICE
    1st floor
    24 Outram Street
    West Perth,WA 6005
    Ph: (08) 9481 6040
    Fax: (08) 9481 6035
    Email: [email protected]
    Website: www.titanresources.com.au
    DIRECTORS
    Richard Tastula, Bill Ryan, Felix Pole,
    Neil MacLachlan, Malcolm Randall,
    Peter Thomas and Flavio Garofalo
    (alternate director, company secretary).
    MARKET CAPITALISATION
    $27.2 million (at press time)
    MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS
    CSFB Private Equity (19.99%)
    David John Reed (5.65%)
    Golden Prospect Plc (2.5%)
    TIR Share Price
    12 Months
    Share Price
    $0.12
    $0.14
    $0.16
    $0.18
    $0.20
    $0.22
    $0.24
    $0.26
    $0.28
    Source: Paterson Ord Minnett
    Titan Resources’ group microbiologist Tamsin Williams said the company is testing every
    possible mining scenario through its BioHeap pilot plant ... “The idea is to know
    in advance how the [BioHeap] process will deal with various conditions.”
    2 page titan for isaac 16/5/02 12:57 PM Page 2

DISCLAIMER:
Before making any financial decisions based on what you read, always consult an advisor or expert.

The HotCopper website is operated by Report Card Pty Ltd. Any information posted on the website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and as such, you should before acting on the information or advice, consider the appropriateness of the information or advice in relation to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please be aware that any information posted on this site should not be considered to be financial product advice.

From time to time comments aimed at manipulating other investors may appear on these forums. Posters may post overly optimistic or pessimistic comments on particular stocks, in an attempt to influence other investors. It is not possible for management to moderate all posts so some misleading and inaccurate posts may still appear on these forums. If you do have serious concerns with a post or posts you should report a Terms of Use Violation (TOU) on the link above. Unless specifically stated persons posting on this site are NOT investment advisors and do NOT hold the necessary licence, or have any formal training, to give investment advice.

Top