Neometals has joined forces with a Chinese research organisation to advance development of its Barrambie titanium-vanadium project in Western Australia, using a similar approach that it took at the Mt Marion lithium project.
The company has struck a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Institute of Multipurpose Utilisation of Mineral Resources Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (IMUMR).
Neometals stated the MOU had the potential to reduce its development costs considerably.
The two organisations are on a pathway towards a 50:50 JV. Neometals will own a 50 per cent interest in the JV’s right to mine a fixed quantity of ore at Barrambie, the beneficiation plant and in the integrated chemical business in China, via a subsidiary company.
IMUMR also has a Chinese national mandate that includes development of upstream supply chains for industries of strategic relevance to China.
“China is the largest producer of titanium and vanadium chemical products in the world, with applications spanning titanium pigment, aerospace alloys and energy storage applications,” Neometals managing director Chris Reed said.
“Neometals successfully developed its Mt Marion lithium project by building inherent value and then fast-tracking development with strong partners. We intend to adopt a consistent development approach at Barrambie, albeit retaining a more material joint venture (JV) interest in the operating integrated project.”
IMUMR has previously conducted pyrometallurgical testwork for Neometals on bulk-ore samples from Barrambie, and is “intimately familiar” with the orebody.
The research organisation also has deep relations with China’s titanium and vanadium chemical processing industry.
Neometals expects the testwork and engineering studies to take around 18 months, leading to the JV’s final investment decision consideration around mid-2021.