Emerging producer Australian Vanadium (ASX: AVL) will conduct a metallurgical and resource drilling program to collect large-diameter diamond core as test material for pilot scale studies at its flagship Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia.
Approximately 30 tonnes of oxide, transitional and fresh samples will be collected from a high-grade massive magnetite layer within the proposed open pit at Gabanintha, located 40 kilometres south of Meekatharra.
They will be used to run a robust pilot plant testwork program for the project’s crushing, milling and beneficiation (CMB) circuit.
Concentrate products from the CMB program will then be used in salt-roast leach and hydrometallurgical tests to produce samples of refined vanadium pentoxide.
The results will be used to refine the outcomes of a pre-feasibility study released last month, which indicated a world-class project with a well-defined resource base and robust economics, utilising an industry-standard, low-risk method of beneficiation and refining to produce a vanadium pentoxide flake product.
The company hopes they will also contribute to an update the current mineral resource estimate of 183.6 million tonnes grading 0.76% vanadium pentoxide.
A distinct high-grade zone within the resource totals 96.7Mt at 1% vanadium pentoxide.
“The material [we collect] for this program is essential to confirming the performance of the circuit we have already defined at pre-feasibility stage,” said managing director Vincent Algar.
“It is essential we move from bench scale tests to larger scale tests using anticipated blends of ore which will be mined prior to completing detailed design of the plant.”
Resource drilling will intersect the Gabanintha mineralisation and provide key geo-metallurgical information and data on pit wall angles, plus free-dig boundaries in the waste rock.
Innovative procedures will be utilised to reduce costs and drilling time, and maximise tonnage and information per hole.
Geotechnical structures, for example, will be measured using downhole Televiewer technology to identify areas not previously intersected by orthogonal-to-deposit resource drillholes.
Detailed analysis of the samples will be conducted using new spectral and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core-scanning techniques by the company’s contracted laboratory services.
Earlier this month, Australian Vanadium said it was in well-positioned to advance Gabanintha after a capital raising exercise boosted its cash reserves to $9.68 million.
In early morning trade, shares in Australian Vanadium were steady at $0.026.