Emerging vanadium producer Australian Vanadium (ASX: AVL) has confirmed the continuity of a high-grade vanadium zone at its Gabanintha project in Western Australia, with recent infill drilling supporting a resource conversion upgrade from inferred to indicated status.
The company recently completed a reverse circulation (RC) drilling, diamond drilling and geotechnical program at the project, located near Meekatharra in the state’s Murchison province, with results identifying a consistent high-grade zone over 1.2% vanadium pentoxide.
One of the best drilling results included a 17m intersection grading at 1.03% vanadium pentoxide and 61.9% iron oxide from 38m, including 7m at 1.29% vanadium pentoxide from 41m.
Other highlights were 17m at 1.14% vanadium pentoxide and 66.5% iron oxide from 81m, including 10m at 1.28% vanadium pentoxide from 82m; and 12m at 1.12% vanadium pentoxide and 68.5% iron oxide from 47m, including 8m at 1.24% vanadium pentoxide from 48m.
This high-grade vanadium zone is within a massive magnetite layer that forms the basis of the current economic studies at Gabanintha. It has a total resource estimate of 175.5 million tonnes at 0.77% vanadium oxide, comprised of measured, indicated and inferred resources.
According to Australian Vanadium managing director Vincent Algar, the program delivered a raft of significant information to help finalise the project’s pre-feasibility study.
“This includes vital geotechnical information as well as additional confirmation of our mineralisation’s tenor and geometry,” he said.
“It also demonstrates the benefit of having significant strike length under our control, enabling us to quickly add high quality, low risk resources for minimal outlay, to feed the planned operation,” Mr Algar added.
Australian Vanadium will use the results from this latest drilling program to improve the geotechnical parameters of its ongoing pre-feasibility study.
Last month, the company released its initial base case scenario for the Gabanintha project, demonstrating robust fundamentals, competitive costs and the potential for further optimisation.
The scenario is based on a proposed open pit mine, designed as a series of nested pits within an ultimate pit shell, and includes a crushing, milling and beneficiation plant, as well as a refining plant.
The final high-quality vanadium pentoxide product is intended to be sold for use in steel, specialty alloys and developing energy storage markets.
Geological logging and assay results from the RC component of the recent work program will be used to update and upgrade the inferred mineral resource of Fault Block 17, which is currently included in this base case mining schedule.
Australian Vanadium said it is awaiting bid packages from suppliers to refine capital and operating costs for the final pre-feasibility study.
Detailed option analysis to maximise economic returns and reduce these costs will continue throughout the rest of this year, with favourable outcomes enabling the company to advance to a definitive feasibility study.
Further drilling of blocks to the south of the recent drilling program is also planned, the company stated.
By midday, shares in Australian Vanadium had reached $0.041 – up more than 5%.