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The Kimberley region of Western Australia could be rife with platinum resources that are yet to be developed by Panoramic Resources, according to a study that is supported by the state government.

A study by Curtin University on Panoramic’s Panton Sill platinum group metals (PGM) deposit in the Kimberley region has led to the development of a cost-saving method of extracting platinum metal from ore.

It eliminates the use of corrosive salt in ore processing, and therefore delivers cost savings to the industry.

Despite the value of metals within the Panton resource, their distribution across a series of thin layers make extraction uneconomic using conventional approaches, according to Minerals Research Institute of WA.

The researchers opted for conventional roasting using hydrogen peroxide as the leaching agent, and sodium chloride to provide chloride ions.

“The results show that increasing the per cent solids of the leach slurry up to 25 per cent didn’t affect the extraction and most of the PGMs were extracted (97 per cent platinum, 90 per cent palladium and 97 per cent gold),” the report stated.

“Furthermore, the precipitation process demonstrated a good separation of PGMs and base metals from other gangue metals like iron/aluminium.”

The Western Australian Government stated that the research delivered a technological advantage to the state’s mining industry and could help companies develop their platinum projects.

“The cost savings delivered by this new method to extract platinum will support the development of resources in Western Australia that couldn’t be previously extracted,” Western Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said.

“The McGowan Government is committed to investing in scientific research to support the mining sector to further unlock mineral potential and create jobs in Western Australia.”

The Panton PGM project is in close proximity to Panoramic’s Savannah nickel-copper-cobalt project. It has a resource of 14.32 million tonnes at 2.19 grams a tonne platinum, 2.39 grams a tonne palladium and 0.31 grams a tonne gold on granted mining leases. The resource consists of high grade platinum and palladium mineralisation within a number of stratiform reefs.