King River makes inroads into vanadium capex reduction

Date: Jan 21, 2019

King River Resources says that initial positive metallurgical testing results from its heated acid vat leaching test work on ores from its Speewah project support the development of an alternative processing route that could drastically lower capital and operating costs at the giant vanadium project.

Recent work conducted by Nagrom showed that 92% of the vanadium and 61% of titanium content was extracted from heated sulphuric acid vat leaching tests on coarsely crushed lump gabbroic ore materials from the massive Speewah deposit.

Even at ambient room temperatures, the vat leaching test work was still able to extract 84% of the total vanadium content on the same sized, run of mine or “ROM” ore composites used in the heated vat leaching work.

The results are important because the ore materials tested are 30 to 50 times larger than those considered in November’s scoping study update that estimated capital costs for the Speewah project at between $2b and $2.5b.

King River now envisages a smaller start-up operation with the potential for scaling up at a later stage, with the goal of starkly improving the capex costs which will also most likely lead to a better NPV.

The test work is being completed in parallel King River’s ongoing PFS for the Speewah project, where the company is seeking to generate high value vanadium, titanium and iron products at the lowest possible unit cost.

The company’s board has re-prioritized its processing studies for the Speewah ores to a much more flexible, modular, engineered strategy that takes into consideration the advantage of owning such a large vanadium resource that is consistently mineralised, flat lying and outcropping at surface.

The test work and studies underway are re-examining the proposed open pit mining of the large Central vanadium-titanium deposit and the beneficiation of various lump sizes and coarse-grained concentrates from that ore body.

The objective is to undertake considerably less grinding of ore than originally anticipated with the ultimate goal being a dramatic reduction in capex based on the new processing flow sheet.

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