Australian Vanadium is carrying out testwork at its 100 per cent-owned Gabanintha vanadium project near Meekatharra in Western Australia in order to determine potential recovery rates and quality of vanadium concentrate and progress to pre-feasibility study (PFS).
The project contains a massive zone of high-grade magnetite, with an average thickness of 20m extending over 11km of strike.
Optimisation tests on nine transitional samples via a process of wet, intensity, magnetic separation (WLIMS) have resulted in average concentrate grades of 87.8 per cent vanadium in a 1.79 per cent vanadium pentoxide (V2O5 ) concentrate, with combined concentrates held an average mass yield of 67 per cent.
The metallurgical testwork utilised 24 massive-titaniferous magnetite samples selected from within 10 diamond drill holes with a 173m depth range from 14m to 187m, representing a significant slice of the current resource area.
The project’s current high-grade measured, indicated and inferred levels currently stand at 10.2 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.06 per cent V2O5, 4.8Mt at 1.04 per cent V2O5 and 77.8Mt at 0.94 per cent V2O5, respectively.
Vincent Algar, managing director of Australian Vanadium, commented that Gabinintha was “rapidly taking its place as a new deposit highly comparable to the few existing global vanadium mining operations”.
“Key factors such as the high concentrate mass yield, high vanadium recovery and excellent magnetic concentrate quality with very low deleterious elements silica and alumina, allow that comparison.”
Testwork will continue while Australian Vanadium plans towards high-quality V2O5 production for battery and steel market products; the company plans to carry out a test program of roast-leach pilot testing and high-purity V2O5 recovery as part of its PFS.
“The optimisation of concentrate quality has significant economic implications for the more cost intensive downstream recovery processes for vanadium,” said Algar. “Water, reagents, heat and electrical energy consumption are influenced by the vanadium grade and impurities within the concentrate.”
According to Algar, the magnetic concentrate results achieved during testing were comparable to operating conventional vanadium roast-leach processes that target recovery of high purity vanadium pentoxide (above 99.8 per cent), most commonly utilised for vanadium battery and steel markets.