01/07/2021 - 17:37

Technology Metals advances WA iron-vanadium DFS

01/07/2021 - 17:37

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Technology Metals Australia’s two-step strategy to bring its Yarrabubba magnetite iron ore and vanadium project south of Meekatharra in Western Australia to life ahead of developing its nearby Gabanintha vanadium project, said to be one of the highest-grade undeveloped vanadium deposits in the world, is motoring along. The company has progressed a suite of activities as a definitive feasibility study on Yarrabubba nears completion.

Mine plan for Technology Metals Australia’s proposed Gabanintha vanadium mine south of Meekatharra in WA. Credit: File

Technology Metals Australia’s two-step strategy to bring its Yarrabubba magnetite iron ore and vanadium project south of Meekatharra in Western Australia to life ahead of developing its nearby Gabanintha vanadium project, said to be one of the highest-grade undeveloped vanadium deposits in the world, is motoring along. The company has progressed a suite of activities as a definitive feasibility study on Yarrabubba nears completion.

Management maintains Technology Metals is in pole position to capitalise on surging demand for vanadium used in steel production and Chinese finished steel products.

Global economies recovering from COVID-19 setbacks have seen a renewed appetite for vanadium oxide with the price of the metal in Europe rising from just over US$5 per pound in 2020 to about US$8.75/lb.

A definitive feasibility study or “DFS” on Gabanintha has already returned robust economics with a 16-year mine life projected for ore reserves totalling 29.6 million tonnes at 0.88 per cent vanadium oxide.

Total EBITDA of about A$4 billion is envisaged for the operation with a payback period of just over three years.

Technology Metals initially plans to develop Yarrabubba where it seeks to produce a high purity iron-vanadium concentrate in addition to a titanium by-product.

The company expects to conclude a DFS on Yarrabubba in the fourth quarter and sees the project as complementary to Gabanintha.

Technology Metals’ Managing Director Ian Prentice said:“The Technical Metals team is continuing to make outstanding progress on the Yarrabubba DFS as part of the staged development strategy for delivery of the globally significant, tier 1 Gabanintha. Yarrabubba’s product streams of premium iron ore, with vanadium credits, and titanium by-product are all highly sought and experiencing very positive pricing and strong near to mid- term outlooks, boding well for a very strong economic outcome.”

Yarrabubba hosts a 27.7Mt resource at 38.7 per cent iron and 0.9 per cent vanadium oxide, with maiden reserves of 9.4Mt at 45.3 per cent iron and 0.97 per cent vanadium oxide.

Past laboratory metallurgical testwork has been based on a conventional crushing, milling and beneficiation processing circuit to produce 1.5Mt per annum of high-grade and high-purity iron and vanadium concentrates.

As part of its DFS push, the company has advanced the test work to pilot scale using bulk samples from diamond drilling earlier in the year.

The more advanced works will be aimed at confirming the suitability of the process flowsheet for large-scale operations, whilst also generating high quality iron and vanadium bulk samples for tempting potential customers.

Technology Metals says it is already on the prowl for potential customers with discussions over a long-term offtake agreement for its iron-vanadium concentrate with Chinese industrial titan, Sinosteel, progressing.

Other companies are also said to have approached the WA-focused developer over its iron-vanadium concentrate, whilst discussions with potential Chinese offtake partners for the titanium by-product concentrate are being evaluated.

A resource update to feed into the DFS for the project is also on the cards.

Recently completed infill and extensional drilling in addition to drilling from earlier in the year will look to convert inferred resources into indicated and grow the overall resource base.

Results from the recent drilling are due soon.

Meanwhile, a binding offtake agreement with Chinses outfit CNMC Orient Group Company for vanadium pentoxide from Gabanintha has been extended by 12 months to at least the end of June 2022.

 

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

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