Australian Vanadium (ASX: AVL) has boosted the vanadium grade within its latest resource at its flagship Gabanintha project in Western Australia, with the high-grade component now grading 1% vanadium.
The updated resource now sits at 175.5 million tonnes at 0.77%, with a higher-grade section of 93.6Mt at 1% vanadium.
Of that higher-grade zone, 10.1Mt has been classified as measured with a vanadium grade of 1.11%, with 4.9Mt at 1.09% vanadium in the indicated category and 78.6Mt at 0.98% identified as inferred.
“This important revision to the Gabanintha resource further de-risks the foundations on which we can build an outstanding Australian project, “ Australian Vanadium managing director Vince Algar said.
“We have developed a unique understanding of the deposit, and our very strong vanadium team will enable us to utilise the knowledge as we advance the project,” he said.
As part of the resource update, 0.8Mt of the resource has been diverted to the higher-grade zone resource, while the overall resource has been cut by 5Mt to eliminate the lower grade material.
Cobalt, nickel, copper component
In addition to boosting the vanadium grade in the Gabanintha resource, the estimate has been updated to include the cobalt, nickel and copper mineralisation that’s been identified at the project.
A maiden inferred resource at Gabanintha for these minerals is 12.5Mt at 206 parts per million cobalt (0.02%), 659ppm nickel (0.066%) and 222ppm copper (0.022%).
The estimate follows on from bench scale trials which produced sulphide flotation concentrates with up to 6.3% base metals. Broken down the base metals sulphide concentrate contained up to 2.02% cobalt, 2.58% nickel and 1.70% copper.
Australian Vanadium said the metallurgical test work indicated the base metals could be economically recovered from the project, with Mr Alga saying including the base metals in the resource “added confidence” in the project.
Although, Australian Vanadium will potentially receive revenue from the cobalt concentrate, Bryah Resources (ASX: BYH) retains the rights to the nickel and copper mineralisation.
A base-case pre-feasibility study is underway at Gabanintha and nearing completion. The company’s strategy is to firm up a de-risked, low-cost operation at Gabanintha to ensure the optimal mining and processing methods are pursued.
Additionally, Australian Vanadium believes there is potential to de-risk the project further by upgrading the inferred resources to measured and indicated categories through targeted drilling along the 11km of vanadium strike.
“Our timing in respect to supplying the rising vanadium market looks to be ideal,” Mr Algar noted.
“We will develop the metallurgical and economic aspects of the project in our pre-feasibility study, looking to include the needs of potential steel industry offtake and that of the rapidly emerging vanadium redox flow battery industry,” he added.