Neometals’ innovative program of metallurgical test work has recorded a significant breakthrough in the processing of ores from its Barrambie vanadium-titanium project. The company has generated high-quality ilmenite samples from a simple flowsheet utilising gravity separation, low-temperature roasting and a final phase of magnetic separation, clearing the path for a move into production.
Neometals' innovative program of metallurgical test work has recorded a significant breakthrough in the processing of ores from its Barrambie vanadium-titanium project. The company has generated high-quality ilmenite samples from a simple flowsheet utilising gravity separation, low-temperature roasting and a final phase of magnetic separation.
The refined processing circuit produces an ilmenite product grading over 52 per cent titanium, which fortuitously also produces a commercially saleable by-product in the form of a magnetite concentrate that grades up at a healthy 58.7 per cent iron and 1.58 per cent vanadium.
Production of the two concentrate products clears the path for ongoing development studies and Neometals has now produced a one tonne bulk sample for export and testing by the company’s development partner, the Institute of Multipurpose Utilisation of Mineral Resources Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, or “IMUMR”.
Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed said: “These test work results are a breakthrough in simplifying the development concept for Barrambie. Proving that a simple gravity concentrate can be roasted and separated into two high quality concentrates is a significant step forward in realising our goal of developing Barrambie with strong partners. We are attracting strong interest from potential off-take partners and we look forward to continuing to work with IMUMR on advancing the project.”
The Barrambie deposit is located around 80km north of the gold mining centre of Sandstone in the Youanmi Terrane of Western Australia – the project also lies 465km from the port of Geraldton. The deposit is a titanium-vanadium-rich magnetite body which is hosted within a suite of intrusive mafic rocks.
Exploration and development work by Neometals at Barrambie has outlined a massive 280 million tonne resource grading at an impressive 9.18 per cent titanium oxide and 0.44 per cent vanadium pentoxide, making the specialty metal deposit one of the largest of its type in the world.
Test work by Neometals has advanced the Barrambie project through to pilot plant stage, with the ongoing work continuing to refine a potential processing circuit for the titanium-rich ores.
The recent round of testing provided a crucial innovation with the discovery that the gravity concentrates from initial beneficiation could be further processed by utilising low-temperature reduction roasting and magnetic separation. The integration and use of a low-temperature circuit will deliver significant cost savings in the initial manufacturing and construction phase and at an operational level.
Three bulk samples, totalling 20 tonnes of raw ore from the Barrambie East resource were processed through the gravity circuit, with the first-pass concentrate showing a 42 per cent reduction in mass, a 77 per cent recovery of titanium and a 63 per cent recovery of vanadium.
Subsequent reduction of the raw concentrate, via roasting and magnetic separation, produced a high-grade titanium concentrate, grading over 52 per cent titanium oxide and a handy vanadiferous magnetite by-product for sale into the burgeoning iron ore market.
Neometals is now looking at finalising the flowsheet for the processing circuit and pursuing discussions with various parties for contract mining and processing at Barrambie. The company is also in discussion with various potential offtake partners with regard to the purchase of its proposed ilmenite and magnetite products. Bulk samples are now being prepared for shipping to China.
Neometals continues to place a number of irons in the fire as it pursues its battery recycling and vanadium processing ambitions in Europe, however with Barrambie now moving forward in leaps and bounds, the company may look to jump into the ranks of the specialty metals producers again in the year ahead.
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