Technology Metals appoints project development star to lead Gabanintha vanadium charge
Special Report: Technology Metals Australia is bringing in the big guns as it moves closer toward production.
When a company develops a mining operation, it wants the most experienced and successful people in its corner.
Technology Metals Australia (ASX:TMT) is doing just that by appointing storied industry veteran David English to lead the definitive feasibility study (DFS) on the world-class Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia.
Miners undertake up to four different types of studies to determine whether or not a resource can be mined economically – and the DFS one of the most detailed, and important.
Mr English has over 30 years of experience in maintenance, operational and development roles in the mining industry, which includes more than a decade in management and project development roles.
And these are not small mining projects that Mr English has developed, either.
He was involved in the development of Independence Group’s (ASX:IGO) Nova nickel project, progressing the project through pre-feasibility study, definitive feasibility study, construction and commissioning.
This massive project was advanced from a greenfield exploration discovery in 2012 to commercial production in 2017 — just over five years. That’s very quick.
During this time the processing plant was completed a month ahead of schedule, and first nickel and copper concentrates were announced six weeks ahead of schedule.
Prior to his involvement at Nova, Mr English was project manager of construction for Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa copper project.
Construction and development of DeGrussa, north-east of Perth in Western Australia, was completed in 2012 on time and on budget for about $400 million.
It is now one of the Asia-Pacific region’s premier, high-grade copper mines.
Mr English also has crucial vanadium project experience.
He was involved in the process of re-developing the Windimurra vanadium project in Western Australian between 2008 and 2010 as general manager of operations.
His experience and knowledge gained from his time at Windimurra, including environmental approvals and permitting, commissioning and project ramp up, will be invaluable to the progression of the Gabanintha DFS and subsequent development, Technology Metals told investors.
“We are delighted that David has joined the Technology Metals management team, bringing vast project development knowledge and experience to our team as we rapidly progress the high quality DFS on the world class large, long life, low cost Gabanintha Vanadium Project,” managing director Ian Prentice said.
Of the 40 or so ASX listed stocks that offer exposure to vanadium – the hottest metal of 2018 – Technology Metals is one of the closest to production.
With vanadium supply failing to cater for increasing demand — pushing vanadium prices to record highs last year — Technology Metals wants to have the Gabanintha mine up and running by 2021.
It estimates that the Gabanintha operation, near Meekatharra in Western Australia, would generate $3.1 billion of total earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation.
It would only take 2.5 years to pay back its initial construction costs of $380 million.
This is all based on a long term V2O5 price of about $US13/ lb – currently, the vanadium spot price is above $US17/lb and climbing.
And Technology Metals is confident its DFS – due to be completed in mid 2019 — can improve on this already excellent base case pre-feasibility study.