Largo Resources (CVE:LGO) has started a pre-feasibility study on the potential to produce salable platinum concentrates at its Maracas Menchen mine in Brazil as the company makes an effort to monetize by-products from the site.
As part of the current vanadium production process at the mine, which started commercial operations this past summer, run-of-mine platinum contained in the non-magnetic material is magnetically separated during the beneficiation process and stockpiled in tailings.
Largo said it has begun preliminary investigations into the potential production of platinum concentrate as a by-product, with initial findings suggesting there is potential to produce platinum as well as vanadium pentoxide.
The pre-feasibility study is being completed by South Africa-based firm DRA Taggart, and the company expects to announce the results in the New Year, it said.
The company is also currently making progress with exploration at its new Capivara prospect just north of Maracas, where it has confirmed high grade chromite and platinum group metal showings.
In the meantime, Largo is working to steadily ramp up vanadium production at its Maracas Menchen mine, which boasts the highest grade vanadium deposit yet discovered.
The mine is targeting to reach phase 1 maximum capacity of 9,600 tonnes per year within 12 months from start-up, sometime around July 2015. Once Largo reaches its phase 1 target -- at which point it expects to make up 7 percent of the global vanadium market -- expansion will certainly be on the horizon, with phase 2 capacity of about 14,600 tonnes targeted for 2016-2017.
As of last week, the company had shipped a total of 1.6 million pounds of vanadium pentoxide from the project since shipments began on September 2.
Aside from renewable energy, vanadium is also essential for the production of steel, with many aircraft and automotive manufacturers addressing demand for lighter and tougher materials, which contribute to reduced fuel consumption and emissions.