King River drilling to build Speewah vanadium resource

King River Resources has kicked off a drilling program that seeks to define additional vanadium resources for its giant Speewah specialty metals project in WA’s Kimberley region.

The company is drilling 31 holes at the Junction prospect, which is near its existing vanadium resources at the project.

Speewah currently has a massive global resource of 4.7 billion tonnes grading 0.3% vanadium pentoxide, 3.3% titanium dioxide and 14.7% iron.

Management said that any additional resources could expedite development in the future.

Additionally, whilst King River’s decision late last year to focus on sulphuric acid-based ore processing has already slashed projected capital expenditure costs in developing Speewah by more than half to just USD$676m, the company has identified potential to reduce costs even further.

After observing a lower cost per volume of acid produced in other sulphuric acid leach projects being considered elsewhere in the world, the company has tasked Perth-based engineering firm Como Engineers with seeking indicative pricing on alternative sulphuric acid plants potentially suitable for the unique Speewah project.

Other activities initiated by the company in recent weeks include engaging a tailings storage facility expert to develop the most environmentally sustainable strategy for dealing with any waste from the Speewah operation.

About 70% of the mined material is expected to be rejected at the beneficiation stage and may be deposited back into the mined pit void.

King River has also engaged independent professionals to assist with the inclusion of alumina and magnesium into the Speewah resource estimation.

Progress on the pre-feasibility study is ongoing with the company currently formulating the best commercialisation strategy for the development of the project.

Once the pre-feasibility study is complete, the company plans to identify partners that may be interested in jointly funding a definitive feasibility study in exchange for an option to acquire a majority interest in Speewah.

King River has been making substantial progress with the metallurgical test work for Speewah.

Earlier this month, it successfully produced an iron oxide product assaying 67% iron with low contaminants using an iron reduction method on a sulphuric acid leach solution, with test work previously extracting up to 97% vanadium and 62% titanium.

The company also produced an intermediate titanium product assaying 80% titanium dioxide using the hydrolysis on the remaining sulphuric acid leach solution, after iron reduction and precipitation of iron sulphate.

Last month, King River also successfully extracted a 99.99% alumina product from the sulphate leach solutions before the solution had any other metals removed or had been pre-concentrated.

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