Positive Metallurgical Results Received as Drilling Commences at the Richmond Vanadium Project
- Ore pre-concentration and downstream processing testwork continues on samples from the Richmond vanadium project in northwest Queensland
- The project is subject to an earn-in Joint Venture with AXF Vanadium Pty Ltd ("AXF") whereby AXF can earn 75% by spending $6m by March 2021(see Note 1 below)
- Multiple tests utilising gravity, screening and flotation have resulted in concentrate grades averaging 1.6% V2O5 at an overall recovery of 73%, in line with the target grade of >1.5% and > 70% recovery(see Note 2 below)
- The run of mine ore was concentrated into 21% of the original mass and contained a low 7.6% calcium content enabling both an acid digestion or roasting downstream processing pathway to be evaluated(see Note 2 below)
- Further optimisation testwork is ongoing with a further 4t of sample transported to China to generate additional concentrate for downstream processing testwork
- Drilling has commenced at Richmond and Julia Creek with 800 holes planned for a total of 17,500m to an average depth of 30m within a A$1.2 million budget
- Regional drilling will comprise 350 holes for 7,500m testing a number of priority targets in both the Richmond and Julia Creek areas
- Infill drilling at Lilyvale comprises 450 holes for 10,000m to upgrade the current Inferred Mineral Resource of 671Mt at 0.35% V2O5 at a 0.29% cut-off grade(see Note 3 below) to the Measured and Indicated categories for Ore Reserve conversion
- Lilyvale forms part of the greater Richmond project with a Mineral Resource of 2,579Mt grading 0.32% V2O5 at a 0.29% cut-off grade (see Note 3 below) hosted in a soft oxide marine sediment 4m from surface(see Note 4 below)
- Completion of the first phase of test work is scheduled for mid-2019 enabling the commencement of a Preliminary Feasibility Study (see Note 5 below)
- The study will include(see Note 5 below):
o An updated resource model enabling compilation of Ore Reserves
o Preliminary flow sheet design for a pre-concentration circuit and downstream processing plant options
o Estimated production rates, capital and operating costs
o Market analysis for product sales of 98% V2O5 flake and electrolyte for use in vanadium redox flow batteries
o Continued discussions with all stakeholders and potential offtake partners
- 75 acre parcel of land purchased in Richmond by the JV as potential pilot plant site(see Note 5 below)
Commenting on the JV project, Intermin Managing Director Mr Jon Price said:
"The AXF team have done an excellent job to date and the test work results have demonstrated the potential of the project to become a globally relevant producer. With vanadium prices hitting new all-time highs of US$34/lb or over $100,000/ton in Australian dollar terms, we look forward to the release of the drilling results, updated models and the prefeasibility study in due course."
The project is located in northwest Queensland and lies on the Flinders Highway and Great Northern railway, 500km west of the Townsville port and 250km east of Mt Isa (see Figure 1 in link below). The project comprises four main prospects (see Figure 2 in link below) in the Richmond and Julia Creek districts covering an area of 1,520km2 with a total Mineral Resource of 2,579Mt grading 0.32% V2O5 at a 0.29% cut-off grade(see Note 3 below).
As announced to the ASX on 19 September 2017, Intermin completed a formal Joint Venture agreement with AXF over the Richmond project. AXF brings considerable technical expertise to the project and has extensive business relationships throughout Southeast Asia.
Details of the agreement between the parties include:
- An earn-in Joint Venture whereby AXF can earn 25% of the project area by spending A$1m within a one year period and maintaining the project in good standing
- AXF to solely contribute to further expenditure of A$5m on the project to earn a further 50% over a three year period, inclusive of the completion of a Feasibility Study on part or all of the project area
- During the sole funding period, AXF will manage the project with direction from the JV committee comprising representatives from both parties
- Upon AXF satisfying the earn-in terms, each party will contribute to ongoing expenditure in accordance with its respective percentages
AXF has now formally committed to the stage 2 expenditure commitment of A$5m over 3 years to March 2021 inclusive of a Feasibility Study on commercial production.
In late 2017, AXF collected approximately 1.2 tonnes of vanadium samples from the Lilyvale prospect area for despatch to two research laboratories in China:
- Beijing General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (BGRIMM), a leading institute directly under the Chinese central government providing innovative technology, diversified products and process-orientated engineering services in mineral and material industries worldwide. With ISO 9001 accreditation, the institute provides complete solution integrating R&D, engineering and equipment manufacture.
- Hunan Research Institute for Nonferrous Metals (HRINM), established in 1958, is the first intellectual property-intensive research institute in the Hunan Province focussed on R&D, metal mining, process selection, smelting and new alloys development.
The ore at Lilyvale comprises soft oxidised limestone rich clays from surface to 15m depth where the oil has been leached out and the enrichment of vanadium and other metals including molybdenum, nickel and copper has occurred. The Lilyvale area has the highest grade of the four prospects (see Figure 2 in link below), is closest to surface for simple open cut free dig mining and is amenable to pre-concentration at site to provide a higher grade feedstock with lower mass.
Testwork programs were jointly developed using AXF's in-house expertise and the experience of both institutes with both programs supervised by AXF's senior technical staff. Initial testwork completed in 2018 focussed on ore pre-concentration of the run of mine ore by physical means followed by both hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical testwork on the concentrate to produce a final 98% V2O5 flake for use in both the steel and energy storage markets.
The first phase of the testwork involved additional particle size analysis to confirm historic work followed by single stage and 2 stage concentration tests using a combination of screening, gravity and flotation. As announced to the ASX on 8 May 2018, 89% of the contained metal reported to the -43um size fraction and 84% to the -20um size fraction confirming historic work completed by Intermin. In addition, initial concentration test results show that 78% of the vanadium was recovered in to 38% of the original mass at a grade of 1.1% V2O5. This initial work provided a solid basis for further optimisation work to upgrade the run of mine ore by physical separation ahead of downstream processing.
Further optimisation tests have now been completed and included:
- Ore Mineralogy Research
- Crushing and Particle Size Analysis
- Mineral Processing Research
o Magnetic separation test
-- Gravity Separation test
-- Vibration Chute test
-- Spiral Chute test (see Figure 3 in link below)
-- Cyclone test
o Flotation Test (see Figure 3 in link below)
- Separation Condition Test
o Slurry concentration test
o Processing time test
o Temperature test
o pH condition test
o Collector condition test
o Inhibitor condition test
Based on the mineralogy study of the ore and mineral processing research as above, three optimal mineral processes were selected for the concentration of vanadium ore. These three options will be the technical basis for the Preliminary Feasibility Study. Results have now been received for the first of the three options and these are presented in Table 1 below (see link below):
As can be seen from the test results in Table 1, the concentrate was produced into 21% of the original mass at an improved grade of 1.58% with a 72.8% recovery. This reduced mass and improved grade enables a potentially smaller downstream processing plant at significantly reduced capital cost(see Note 5 below).
In addition, the results show a much larger reduction in the calcium content than expected with only 4% reporting to the concentrate fraction. This low calcium content enables both an acid digestion and a roasting downstream processing pathway to be evaluated that can potentially lead to considerably lower operating costs(see Note 5 below).
Further optimisation work continues and results of the further two flowsheet option tests are expected in the March and June quarters 2019. Downstream processing tests have also commenced and a further 4t of samples have been despatched to China to ensure sufficient concentrate for test work completion in mid-2019.
This test work will enable flowsheet design to be completed as part of the Preliminary Feasibility Study planned to commence in 2019(see Note 5 below).
Drilling at the Richmond project has commenced with a total of 17,500m planned within a A$1.2 million budget and is expected to be completed over a 3 month period.
The Lilyvale deposit infill drilling program comprises 450 holes for 10,000m (see Figure 5 in link below) and has been designed to improve data density (see Figure 6 in link below), assess any closed spaced variability and enable the current resource to be upgraded to the Measured and Indicated JORC 2012 category. Upon the completion of the drilling and receipt of the assay data a revised resource model will be completed by independent consultants, following which any requirement for further work will be assessed. The upgraded resource model will then be used at part of the PFS to complete a mining and economic evaluation and estimation of Ore Reserves. Commencement of the drilling is pending finalisation of Conduct and Compensation Agreements with landowners.
The current Mineral Resource at Lilyvale totals 671Mt at 0.35% V2O5 at a 0.29% cut-off grade.
Regional exploration drilling comprising 350 holes for 7,500m will be completed at a number of priority targets with the aim of identifying additional areas of insitu high grade vanadium within the Rothbury, Burwood and Manfred regions. Historic drilling in most areas are on 500m centres with certain areas within the project area showing significant higher grades than the resource average. This areas will be prioritised to improve geological knowledge and data density for additional drilling in 2019.
Next Steps(see Note 5 below)
Pre-concentration and downstream processing test work continues with further results expected in the March and June quarters 2019. On receipt of assay data, updated geological models will be compiled and an updated resource for Lilyvale released.
Both the test work results and the new resource models will enable commencement of a PFS and estimation of Ore Reserves. The PFS may include production rate analysis, flow sheet design, initial estimates of capital and operating costs and product sales analysis.
The JV has purchased a 75 acre parcel of land at Richmond to facilitate the potential requirement for a pilot plant should a decision be made to move forward. The land is located in close proximity to the Flinders Highway, railway siding and the 66Kv power line providing infrastructure and services for the study.
1 As announced to the ASX on 19 September 2017,
2 see JORC Tables on Page 10,
3 as announced to the ASX on 20 March 2018, see also Tables and Competent Persons Statement on Page 9
4 Pending finalisation of Conduct and Compensation Agreements with landowners
5 See Forward Looking and Cautionary statement on Pages 8 and 9.
To view tables and figures, please visit:
About Intermin Resources Limited
Intermin Resources Limited (ASX:IRC) is a gold exploration and mining company focussed on the Kalgoorlie and Menzies areas of Western Australia which are host to some of Australia's richest gold deposits. The Company is developing a mining pipeline of projects to generate cash and self-fund aggressive exploration, mine developments and further acquisitions. The Teal gold mine has been recently completed.
Intermin is aiming to significantly grow its JORC-Compliant Mineral Resources, complete definitive feasibility studies on core high grade open cut and underground projects and build a sustainable development pipeline.
Intermin has a number of joint ventures in place across multiple commodities and regions of Australia providing exposure to Vanadium, Copper, PGE's, Gold and Nickel/Cobalt. Our quality joint venture partners are earning in to our project areas by spending over $20 million over 5 years enabling focus on the gold business while maintaining upside leverage.
Intermin Resources Limited