Australian Vanadium (ASX: AVL) revealed metallurgical test work at its Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia has confirmed the project’s potential to meet the needs of the growing vanadium battery sector and steel industry.
The test work program is aiming to determine comminution parameters for the Gabanintha ore, as well as the quality and recovery of the concentrate.
Australian Vanadium claims it is focusing on the high-grade vanadium-iron mineralised zones at the project due to the mineralisation’s suitability for traditional roast-leach processing.
According to Australian Vanadium, roast-leach processing is the most common and understood recovery method for vanadium ore.
The recent metallurgical test work was undertaken on 24 diamond drill core composites from Gabanintha.
Magnetic separation was used to recover the magnetic material from waste and this resulted in “exceptional concentrate recovery”, with 92.3% vanadium captured in a 1.42% vanadium concentrate prior to further optimisation.
Meanwhile, transitional magnetic separation and rare earth magnetic separator recovered 89.2% vanadium in a 1.40% vanadium concentrate.
Transitional concentrate grades up to 1.72% vanadium and 1.66% vanadium were achieved during testing, which Australian Vanadium claims indicates “significant upside across the deposit”.
“The definitive work to date in the current program is providing us with great confidence that Gabanintha can produce a significant quantity and quality of vanadium concentrate to feed a conventional vanadium roast-leach process,” Australian Vanadium managing director Vincent Algar said.
“We will continue to optimise the recovery to achieve the simplest possible flowsheet to take to our pre-feasibility study,” Mr Algar added.
Comminution test work was also completed to determine the energy needed to produce a consistent ore for processing.
This study investigated crushing, grinding, density and abrasiveness, with around 6.9KWh/t consistently required to breakdown the material in a mill.
“The results of this round of test work confirms the company’s view that Gabanintha will be able to supply high quality vanadium products to meet the needs of energy storage and steel making customers,” Mr Algar said.
He noted the demand for vanadium had picked up and the company was fast-tracking project development to get its vanadium to market as soon as possible.
Further testing is underway to boost concentrate recoveries and reduce the silica and alumina waste elements.
“The object is for Gabanintha to provide the highest quality processing feed possible from the entire high-grade orebody via the simplest circuit design,” Mr Algar said.
The Gabanintha project is near Meekatharra and hosts a resource estimate of 179.6 million tonnes grading 0.75% vanadium pentoxide, with a high-grade zone of 92.8mt grading 0.96% vanadium pentoxide.
Shares in Australian Vanadium were up more than 4% to A$0.045 in mid-morning trade.