Ongoing drilling at Australian Vanadium’s (ASX: AVL) flagship Gabanintha project in Western Australia is progressing ahead of schedule, with the company collecting multiple diamond core samples for pilot scale studies.
As part of the program, numerous samples of all material types within Gabanintha’s proposed open pit have been extracted for detailed pilot test work.
The samples will be evaluated using the processing flow diagram to ensure the proposed processing method is scaled up correctly for actual mine production.
“The substantial thickness of the deposit has allowed the company to advance collection of material for the pilot study by carefully planned and executed down-dip drilling,” Australian Vanadium managing director Vincent Algar explained.
“The time and cost savings gained by using this method match our accelerated time-line to 2021 production.”
“Drilling is progressing exceptionally well, recovering high quality magnetite and proceeding ahead of schedule,” Mr Algar added.
To-date, Australian Vanadium has delivered 9 tonnes of drill core for analysis, with more expected throughout the remainder of February and March.
Once the drilling campaign has been completed, Australian Vanadium will have unearthed 30t of oxide, transitional and fresh core samples, which will feed into a “robust” pilot program using a crushing, milling and beneficiation circuit.
When the samples have been fed through the crushing, milling and beneficiation circuit, the company will use the concentrated material in salt-roast leach and hydrometallurgical tests to generate refined vanadium pentoxide samples.
Data generated from the test work will be used to refine the pre-feasibility study results.
Additionally, drill core and assay results will be used to calculate a revised mineral resource estimate, with drilling also targeting mineralised extensions to the south and below the current pit design.
Australian Vanadium published its pre-feasibility study for Gabanintha in December last year, with the study revealing healthy margins and a “world class” project.
A maiden reserve was released as part of the study which totalled 18.24 million tonnes grading 1.04% vanadium pentoxide.
The pre-feasibility study estimated a 900,000t per annum operation was possible at Gabanintha that would generate 1.40% vanadium pentoxide magnetite concentrate with an average 60% yield.
Additionally, the study evaluated the potential for a refinery at the project that would produce about 22.5 million pounds of vanadium pentoxide flake annually for 17 years.
As the current pilot study advances, Australian Vanadium hopes to complete it along with a definitive feasibility study this year and then proceed to front end engineering design and construction in 2020, with commissioning targeted for 2021.