Special Report: As Technology Metals Australia (ASX:TMT) nears the completion of its all-important definitive feasibility study (DFS), it has proven its Gabanintha project can deliver a very high quality vanadium product.

Recent testwork has confirmed that the Western Australian project can produce a 99.36 per cent vanadium pentoxide product.

The confirmation comes after pilot plant scale roasting test work of a bulk sample collected from the North Pit showed high vanadium solubility/recovery rates of up to 90.7 per cent.

The salt roasting process is designed to convert the vanadium contained within the magnetic concentrate into the water-soluble form of sodium metavanadate, enabling water leaching to produce a vanadium rich liquor.

Drums of magnetic concentrate. (Supplied)

Analysis of the samples by an independent Australian laboratory indicate vanadium solubility/recovery rates of between 84.9 per cent and 90.7 per cent, with an average of 88.6 per cent.

Based on this data, a vanadium solubility/recovery rate of 85 per cent has been confirmed for use in the DFS, which is in line with the pre-feasibility study.

Technology Metals said confirmation of the 85 per cent vanadium solubility/recovery rates was a very important step in determining the scalability of the chemical performance of the salt roasting process.

Importantly, the pilot plant scale testwork reduces the scalability risk of the process flow sheet and will support ongoing discussions with potential off-take partners and financiers.

These top results have allowed Technology Metals to now send samples to potential end users and off-take partners.

“The very important pilot scale testwork, a key component of the delivery of a high quality

definitive feasibility study, has confirmed the very high recovery rates for the roasting section of the process circuit,” managing director Ian Prentice said.

“Delivery of the kiln design and operating parameters from kiln experts FLSmidth is the next vital step to be completed.”

Detailed process plant engineering and cost estimation for the DFS is nearing completion, with the engineering design and cost estimate studies for the “roasting” section of the processing circuit being completed by FLSmidth, one of the final packages to be incorporated.

The delivery and verification of these packages in to the overall DFS model will be key determinants of the timeline to complete the DFS.

These final packages will also be key inputs for the revised capital and operating cost estimates to a DFS level of accuracy.

Major buyers already lining up

The high quality of Technology Metals Australia’s vanadium has already attracted one Chinese major to the table.

In May the company revealed it had inked a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with rare metal manufacturer CNMC Ningxia Orient Group Company (CNMNC) — a China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) company, which will pave the way for a binding vanadium supply deal.

CNMNC is a top 10 producer of vanadium alloys in China, producing both vanadium-nitrogen and ferrovanadium alloys for the domestic steel industry.

The Gabanintha project is shaping up to be a large, long-life, low-cost mine.

Resource and reserve update

Other key inputs into the DFS are nearing completion and include mining studies, incorporating the updated Gabanintha resource, the findings from the geotechnical studies and mine scheduling based on detailed geometallurgical data.

Technology Metals is also expecting to include an updated reserve in the DFS thanks to additional data from the diamond drilling completed as part of the resource infill and extension program.

This story was developed in collaboration with Technology Metals Australia, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
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