Venus Metals Corporation (ASX: VMC) has announced a “major breakthrough” at its Youanmi vanadium oxide project in Western Australia, with proof-of-concept test work revealing the potential for significant and rapid vanadium production.
According to the junior explorer, metallurgical test work at the project has confirmed strong recoveries from simple atmospheric sulphuric acid leach testing of oxide vanadium ores, together with the co-extraction of nickel, copper and cobalt.
Venus Metals said this proof-of-concept of high vanadium recoveries makes bulk mining and acid leach processing an attractive development path for initial scoping study work.
In addition, it gives the company a “potential low-cost entry into significant and rapid vanadium production”.
Venus Metals will now commence a 6,000m reverse circulation (RC) drilling program at Youanmi to support advanced metallurgical testing with the aim of proving up a large measured resource.
Youanmi’s JORC 2012 inferred oxide mineral resource estimate currently stands at 110 million tonnes grading 0.3% vanadium oxide for 333,000t of vanadium oxide.
The RC drill program and advanced metallurgical test work has been estimated to cost around $400,000 and will be funded via a convertible loan agreement made with Venus Metals executive director Barry Fehlberg, also announced this week.
Following this next phase of metallurgical testing, the company is aiming to complete a scoping study treating 5Mtpa oxide ore grading 0.3% vanadium oxide or better.
Venus Metals holds a 90% interest in the Youanmi vanadium oxide project, located in tenement E57/986 in the Murchison region of WA.
The other 10% stake is held by a prospector, who is free carried to a decision to mine, after which the interest will become contributing or revert to a 1.25% net smelter return.
Venus Metals also holds gold and lithium projects in the Youanmi area. In May, the company entered into two option agreements to buy the historical Youanmi gold mine which its gold tenements surround, along with associated infrastructure and the mine village.
Venus Metals shares were sitting 22.58% higher at $0.19 by afternoon trade.