Special report: Vanadium frontrunner Technology Metals is making significant progress on its Gabanintha feasibility study as it aims to get the flagship project up and running by 2021.

The stage 1 drilling program will help the company identify opportunities to enhance the already strong results of the project’s base case prefeasibility study (PFS).

These include increasing the project resource to extend mine life and assessing the possibility of steeper mining walls to significantly reduce the amount of waste material mined.

Technology Metals (ASX:TMT) also plans to optimise the open pit mine scheduling “to ensure maximum financial returns” with staged open pit development and early access to higher yielding ore.

All holes from stage 1 drilling at Gabanintha’s North pit hit broad zones of high-grade mineralisation at up to 195m depth.

Drilling also confirmed the very shallow oxidation profile, providing early access to high yielding, high grade mineralisation and potential for steeper pit walls.

The company has also acquired the 1.5% net profit interest over the tenements that cover the proposed north pit and project infrastructure.

“The stage 1 drilling data has confirmed our belief in the importance of the North Pit in the overall development of the Gabanintha vanadium project, with the acquisition of the Royalty over this area very positive for the planned development of this globally significant vanadium project,” Technology Metals managing director Ian Prentice said.

A base case pre-feasibility study completed in June estimated TMT’s Gabanintha project, 45km south-east of Meekatharra in WA, to have a production rate of up to 13,000 tonnes V2O5 per annum.

It also estimated a pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 55 per cent and a payback period of just 2.5 years from the start of operations. It’ll cost about $380 million to build.

IRR is a metric used to assess the profitability of a project. The higher the IRR, the more profitable a project will be.

The mine could have an initial 13-year life, based on only 21.6Mt of the projects 119.9Mt global resource, and is expected to generate $3.1 billion of total earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation.


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