King River Copper is forging ahead with its concept study for the Speewah vanadium project in the Kimberley. The company is investigating an innovative hydrometallurgical process to produce premium high grade vanadium pentoxide for direct sale. The study will incorporate relevant mining, beneficiation and processing costs to optimise a future open pit mining scenario for high grade mineralisation at the project
Market darling King River Copper has provided a market update on the company’s vanadium concept study at its massive Speewah vanadium/titanium/iron project in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The major objective of the study is to identify a base framework to address technical hurdles for completing a new scoping study into the production and marketability of high-value vanadium electrolyte products for use in vanadium flow batteries.
The study is examining the feasibility of generating high-purity vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxide products utilising innovative hydrometallurgical processes, to extract each product from heavy mineral concentrates generated from Speewah.
The main items to be delivered by the study include the finalisation of the process flow sheet to optimise and improve recovery of the projects sought-after metallic oxide products, improving the chemical solvent recycling and the reliable determination of the project’s capital and operating costs.
This work is being completed by Perth-based TSW Analytical, a specialist analytical chemistry outfit, who has already succeeded in producing 99.48% pure vanadium pentoxide and 99.5% pure titanium dioxide products from leach trails of King River’s ore concentrates.
Hydrometallurgical processing of the Speewah ores has two significant benefits for King River. It is far less capital intensive than traditional ore roasting and metallurgical solvent extraction and more importantly, it may enable the company to produce premium high-value metallic oxides for direct sale.
King River has also engaged respected mining consultants, CSA Global, to complete a conceptual mining study, comprising of a preliminary open pit optimisation and mining schedule utilising the existing mineral resource block model for the high-grade Central vanadium deposit at Speewah.
Only samples of the measured and indicated mineral resources for the high-grade zone of the Central deposit are being used in metallurgical test work and technical analysis in the concept study.
This subset of the total resource contains 274 million tonnes grading 0.37% V2O5, 2.0% Ti and 15.0% Fe.
CSA Global will incorporate the relevant mining and beneficiation cost estimates, mining dilution, ore recoveries, hydrometallurgical recoveries, ore processing costs and metal prices into the resource model to optimise a potential future open pit mining scenario for Speewah.
Once all these items have been completed, the company will finalise its scoping study into the preliminary economics of the Speewah vanadium project, in accordance with JORC-compliant standards.
The ultimate goal for King River is to make use of smart processing changes to dramatically reduce the expected capex on the project, which in turn should result in a boosted NPV