The ongoing tests demonstrate that Gabanintha’s unique high vanadium grade, coarse-grained, massive titaniferous magnetite, allows magnetic upgrading at relatively coarse grind size.
These features support a low-energy beneficiation process, which forms part of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the Western Australian project that is underway.
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Managing director Vincent Algar said: “It is significant that Gabanintha is rapidly taking its place as a new deposit highly comparable to the few existing global vanadium mining operations.
“Key factors such as the high concentrate mass yield, high vanadium recovery and excellent magnetic concentrate quality with very low deleterious elements silica and alumina, allow that comparison.
“In addition, the coarse grind size and associated low comminution energy demand, all add to the high potential for a lower capital, and low operating cost beneficiation plant to feed downstream vanadium processing.”
The aim of the test work is to determine comminution parameters for Gabanintha’s high-grade vanadium material, as well as determining the potential recovery and quality of concentrate.
Ongoing tests are being carried out on 24 large diameter diamond core samples with a focus on geometallurgical characterisation, flowsheet development and further optimisation of concentrate yield and quality.
An electrolyte pilot plant used in the test work.
AVL’s comminution and beneficiation test program is being conducted on multiple diamond core samples.
Focus on concentrate recovery
The major focus is on the recovery of a vanadium concentrate from the high-grade zone of massive titaniferous magnetite.
This zone grades 1.06% vanadium pentoxide in the measured and indicated resource categories, averages over 20 metres in thickness, extends over 11 kilometres of strike and is open at depth.
Optimising beneficiation process
Algar said: "Our aim is to continue to develop our geometallurgical understanding of the Gabanintha mineralisation and optimise a beneficiation process to support a simple, low-cost flowsheet to take to our PFS.
“AVL now has a very strong technical team in place, with experience in vanadium production, VRFBs and in the production of electrolyte.”
Optimisation of concentrate quality has significant economic implications for the more cost-intensive downstream recovery processes for vanadium.
Primary PFS focus
The primary focus of the PFS is delivery of high specification products suitable for battery and steel markets.
Key aspects being completed in parallel with the remaining tests include environmental studies, native title negotiations, mining lease grant, process flowsheet development and preliminary mine modelling.