Venus Metals’ metallurgical testing of beneficiated oxide ores from the Youanmi project in WA, has shown that heated, sulphuric acid leaching produces recoveries near 80% of the contained vanadium pentoxide content, whilst rejecting 40% of the waste materials. Further work is underway to optimise the process flowsheet for the scoping study and Venus is presently updating the Youanmi mineral resource estimate.
ASX listed Venus Metals is looking positive on the vanadium front after metallurgical leach extraction sighter test work of oxidised ore samples from its Youanmi project near Sandstone in WA, returned encouraging recoveries of the valuable battery metal.
The latest results on a 48kg composite sample taken from 5 historical diamond drill cores, showed vanadium pentoxide recoveries of 81.6% of ore materials crushed to less than 1mm size, producing a grade of 0.47% vanadium pentoxide.
For the finer crushed materials below 1mm size but above 0.75mm size, a 79.9% recovery of the head vanadium pentoxide grade was achieved, at an impressive assayed grade of 0.6% vanadium pentoxide.
The leach extraction trials also rejected more than 40% of the mass of the waste materials.
According to the company, this preliminary work shows that the oxide ores are amenable to beneficiation and the outcomes were better than the initial results reported back in September.
The extraction technique involves leaching the crushed composite samples over a 24-hour period using concentrated sulphuric acid heated to 80 degrees Celsius.
According to Venus, the use of multiple acid leaching systems may be capable of enhancing the extraction recoveries even further.
Venus’ metallurgical contractor METS is now completing further studies to optimise the appropriate processing flowsheet to underwrite the scoping study for the Youanmi vanadium project.
This work will involve linking the geological and metallurgical characteristics of the oxidised ores in order to further tweak the ongoing test work.
The metallurgical work is concentrating on the top 30 metre, high grade section of the Youanmi deposit, where the company has recently completed a detailed resource definition drilling program.
Consequently, Venus now has in excess off 100 tonnes of drill sample available for the follow up test work.
Company Managing Director Matt Hogan said: “The METS test work leaching results show that evaluation of our vanadium project is proceeding as planned.”
“Vanadium extractions in excess of 80% is great result. The next phase for the project will be the updated JORC resource following receipt of all assays. This is expected in February.”
“Further test metallurgical test work can be planned once the JORC resource evaluation is completed”.
The current inferred mineral resource at Youanmi sits at 111 million tonnes grading 0.3% vanadium pentoxide, 6.15% titanium dioxide and 20.2% iron.
The Youanmi ores are strongly weathered from surface down to about 30-50m depth, with higher-grade zones being distributed evenly through the resource, which stretch over a continuous zone that is 3.5km long by up to 350m wide.
As a result, the vanadium-rich mineralisation at the project looks to be ideal for a low strip ratio, cheap, bulk open pit mining operation.
The positive metallurgical work received to date seems to be only boosting the appeal of the project for future mining development.