Neometals Ltd has received some very encouraging metallurgical results for potentially direct shipping ore concentrates from its Barrambie titanium vanadium iron project, located near Meekatharra in W.A. The processed ores produced recoveries exceeding 90% for titanium dioxide and also showed high recoveries for pig iron and vanadium. The results provide encouragement that a simple, conventional processing pathway can be developed for the high grade ores.
Fresh from its success in creating a lithium mine out of its Mt Marion project in the Goldfields, Neometals is off and running again – this time with a gigantic titanium and vanadium play.
The successful exotic metals developer has received some outstanding metallurgical results from its Barrambie titanium vanadium iron project, located southeast of Meekatharra, in the Murchison region of W.A.
The work, completed by a well-credentialled Chinese institute produced metallurgical recoveries exceeding 90% for titanium dioxide and high recoveries for the pig iron and vanadium product streams.
The company says the results provide strong encouragement for a simple, conventional, processing pathway to extract titanium, vanadium and iron products from its ores.
The work underwrites the next stage of pilot-scale metallurgical test work programs for the Barrambie deposit.
Neometals’ Managing Director Chris Reed said: “We are pleased with these initial results which confirm a simple process flowsheet can recover a high‐purity titanium product for potential users of the phase 1 Barrambie DSO operation.”
“Barrambie is a unique tier 1 project that offers a range of development alternatives including the possibility for separate titanium and vanadium operations in due course.”
“The results establish the potential value‐in‐use of DSO for negotiations with potential customers who seek quality feedstocks from low‐risk jurisdictions that are amenable to simple and conventional processing.”
According to Neometals, the Chinese institute used for the test work has extensive experience in the processing and smelting of vanadiferous titanomagnetite ore systems, including work on the Panzhihua and Chendge deposits in China.
The Neometals sample was put through a standard flowsheet process based on grinding, magnetic separation and pelletising, from which a high-grade combined titanium-vanadium mineral concentrate was produced.
The concentrate was then smelted to generate a high-grade titanium slag, complete with pig iron and associated vanadium products.
The slag was cleaned to produce a new product suitable for chloride route pigment production of a high-grade titanium dioxide.
Neometals said that the results of smelting and slag cleaning produced a titanium slag that was potentially suitable as feedstock for titanium dioxide production.
Additionally, the vanadiferous pig iron can potentially be utilised as a feedstock for iron and vanadium pentoxide production.
The company is now undertaking a dual track evaluation of development alternatives for its 100%-owned Barrambie project.
Phase 1 will include the mining and concentration of distinct high-grade zones into a high-value DSO product that will be toll beneficiated and smelted in China.
Phase 2 could potentially utilise the development of a hydrometallurgical processing route on-site to generate a premium value vanadium pentoxide product that is highly sought-after for its use in the emerging battery energy storage sector and electric vehicle markets.
Neometals says that a 4 tonne bulk sample will now be put through extensive further metallurgical and process test work, to be completed by the end of the year.
Interestingly, the company is also in discussions with potential offtake partners in China for the direct shipping concentrate product to be sourced from Barrambie.
Neometals has completed mine planning activities for the proposed DSO operation and is working with mining solutions provider Adaman Resources to finalise a comprehensive cost operating model.
In relation to the proposed Phase 2 development option, the company is updating the CAPEX and OPEX costs for a standalone vanadium operation at the Barrambie site, based off the original 2009 DFS parameters.
Additionally, Neometals is continuing test work and pilot programs related to production of high value titanium dioxide hydrolysate, vanadium pentoxide and iron oxide products utilising the patented “Neomet” hydrometallurgical processing technology in support of the Phase 2 option.