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Professor Zhang (IMUMR) and Darren Townsend (Neometals Chief Development Officer))

Neometals ships titanium product to China

ASX listed strategic minerals developer, Neometals, appears to have confirmed the technical feasibility of its Barrambie titanium-vanadium deposit located in the Murchison region of WA, following a round of successful metallurgical pilot test work. The test work, aimed at optimising the hydrometallurgical recoveries, produced a high purity “titanium hydrolysate” from the titanium processing phase.

Neometals has now shipped samples of its new titanium bearing concentrate to potential offtake customers in China and elsewhere for evaluation. Meanwhile, the company is producing up to ten tonnes of titanium mineral concentrates to feed the continuing demonstration plant trials in China.

It has now pushed the proverbial “go button” to advance towards the mining phase of its Barrambie project development, receiving approval for a Mining Proposal to construct a one million tonne per annum mining, crushing and screening plant. It has also been granted a five-year extension to obtain Ministerial Approval to mine. 

The Chinese plant trials are being run under a Memorandum of Understanding with leading Chinese metallurgical expert, the Institute of Multipurpose Utilisation of Mineral Resources Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, or “IMUMR”.

The successful titanium pilot is the first key milestone of the MOU.

The titanium hydrolysate concentrate that Neometals has produced is a “point-of-sale” product used by offtake clients to make inert titanium dioxide pigments. These pigments are commonly used in paints, catalytic coatings, plastics, paper, pharmaceuticals and sunscreen, with lesser-known applications in packaging, commercial printing inks, cosmetics, toothpaste and as a food colourant.

Market Industry Reports said the titanium dioxide market was valued at over US$14 billion globally in 2018 with a CAGR of 5.2% projected between 2019 and 2030. China is the world’s leading titanium producing country, accounting for around 31% of global output.

Neometals is also continuing its test work to produce saleable vanadium pentoxide and iron oxide concentrates from Barrambie.

Neometals Managing Director Chris Reed said: “We are confident our flowsheet can produce the highest value‐in‐use for potential customers and recover maximum value from the deposit for Neometals and its partners.”

“Proving an ore can be concentrated and converted to high purity chemicals at good recoveries is the first step in attracting quality offtakers to enable the development of globally significant industrial mineral projects, whether they be lithium or titanium."

During 2018, Neometals tabled a massive global resource of 280.1 million tonnes grading 9.18% titanium dioxide and 0.44% vanadium pentoxide at Barrambie, representing nearly 26Mt of titanium dioxide and 1.23Mt of vanadium pentoxide using ore block cut off grades of 10% and 0.2% respectively

Located around 80 kilometres northwest of Sandstone in WA’s Murchison region, Barrambie is regarded as both one of the world’s highest grade hard rock titanium deposits and host to one of the largest known vanadium deposits.

This isn’t Neometals’ first rodeo either.

The fast moving Perth listed company previously took its Mt Marian lithium project near Coolgardie from concept to fully fledged mine in what seemed like just the blink of an eye.

In the process it pretty much re-wrote the junior explorer text book about how to get a project into production without blowing up your share capital or getting taken over at silly prices.

There is an old saying that you are only as good as your last deal which puts Neometals at the top of its game.

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting ? Contact : matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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