Namibia explorer Golden Deeps (ASX: GED) has completed a mining study of its Abenab project in the southwest Africa nation which shows potential for a high-margin vanadium operation.
This would be based on a strategy of a focus on underground mining of the higher-grade portions of the mineral resources.
The mining study shows that operations at Abenab could produce 14,500 tonnes per month of high-grade vanadium ore, or 174,000t a year, at a cost of US$44/t (A$56.75/t).
The Abenab vanadium-lead-zinc project covers a 35km strike length in Otavi Mountain Land, in northeast Namibia.
It contains an inferred resource of 2.80Mt at 0.66% vanadium pentoxide, 2.35% lead and 0.94% zinc.
Vanadium plus lead, zinc and — potentially — copper
However, the study shows that the mineral resource available to mine would be 873,000t at 1.2% vanadium pentoxide (or 1.6% vanadium pentoxide equivalent including lead, zinc and — potentially — copper).
The mining recovery, assuming calculated ore-loss, is estimated to be 724,000t at 1.5% vanadium pentoxide equivalent.
Access to the resource was based on extending the existing mine shaft as well as developing a new decline from the surface, taking into account different production rates according to the ore.
“In addition, further exploration success, delineating additional resources, would increase the mineable resource inventory and extend mine life as well as provide an opportunity for increased mining volumes of tonnes per vertical metre at the shallower level are improved,” the company added.
‘Outstanding’ exploration potential identified
Golden Deeps noted that a previous geological review by Shango Solutions of South Africa highlighted the potential for extensions and repeats of the Abenab high-grade breccia mineralisation down-dip of the mined area and current resource.
The company termed this exploration potential as “outstanding”.
It added that, based on the positive outcomes of the new mining study and initial processing test work, it is re-evaluating and modelling the potential to locate extensions to the high-grade vanadium and base metal sulphide mineralisation near the current resource as well as at depth.
The company is also planning more drilling to further target the resource available.
Abenab is located in a region of what the company describes as “a globally significant” base metals province with historical production from several now closed mines.