A series of outstanding assays from phase one drilling at the SPD vanadium project in South Africa has put Tando Resources (ASX: TNO) on track to realise its strategy of near-term cash flow from early production.
The latest round of concentrate samples from SPD have generated high-grade vanadium and continue to support the junior’s strategy of fast-tracking the operation by processing the near-to-surface, high-grade zones via simple magnetic separation.
The assays show that this method can produce concentrate grading well over 2% vanadium pentoxide from high-grade samples.
Best magnetic concentrate results were 25 metres at 2.42% vanadium pentoxide from 23m, including 8m at 2.32% vanadium pentoxide (for mass recovery of 41%); 34m at 2.32% vanadium pentoxide from 21m; and 35m at 2.15% vanadium pentoxide from 21m (mass recovery 45%).
Low capital costs
Mass recovery refers to the weight of magnetic material recovered as a percentage of the total sample weight.
It can contribute to low capital costs and a shorter lead time to production.
The higher the mass recovery, the less material is required to be processed to achieve a production target and the less waste needs to be disposed of or stored.
Recovery from SPD is believed to be positive across all mineralised intervals, increasing to well above 40% in the zones grading more than 1% vanadium.
The concentrate samples, which contains low levels of silica and alumina, have been provided to potential offtake partners for review.
Metallurgical testwork is now in progress on wide diameter core samples from Tando’s 2018 drilling program, with the aim of replicating the results on a large process plant scale.
Low and moderate intensity magnetic separation has already been completed on dry and wet samples, and all results will be fed into the project’s scoping study currently underway.
The SPD vanadium project has a current inferred mineral resource of 588 million tonnes at a whole rock grade of 0.78% vanadium pentoxide, including a high grade zone of 87Mt at 1.07% vanadium pentoxide.
This zone is the focus of engineering and metallurgical studies with a view to selective mining and production as a low-cost, early-cash flow operation.
New mineral resource
Phase two infill drilling at SPD was completed in December with a total 83 holes for 6,002m comprising 51 reverse circulation and 32 diamond core holes.
Samples from the diamond core holes are being processed and delivered to the laboratory for analysis, and the results will be used to update the project’s current mineral resource later this year.
Tando said the new resource figures should contain a high proportion of material in the indicated category if assay results from phase two are consistent with adjacent holes.
The company said the increased detail from infill drilling will enable higher-grade massive magnetite layers to be better delineated, increasing the potential for selective mining to meet offtake specifications.
The SPD vanadium project is located in one of the world’s foremost vanadium producing regions and has the potential to be globally significant based on its concentrate tonnage and grade.
Tando is targeting vanadium as a commodity of interest in the energy storage game, and anticipates that forecast increase in battery usage for large-scale energy storage will lead to a significant increase in demand for the product.
The company is particularly interested in vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) technology which is believed to offer a substantially-longer lifespan than most current batteries, making it an attractive option for household or small town energy storage requirements.
China and Japan currently utilise limited VRFB facilities, with development of further facilities believed to be constrained by an absence of supply of “battery grade” vanadium.
At midday, shares in Tando were steady at $0.115.