Bench-scale tests on Gabanintha fresh high-grade massive magnetite have resulted in the recoveries from non-magnetic stream.
Sulphide concentrates produced from flotation contain 3.8 to 6.3% base metals, including 1.54 to 2.02% cobalt, 1.36 to 2.58% nickel and 0.82 to 1.70% copper.
A sulphide recovery circuit will now be evaluated as part of the pre-feasibility study (PFS) processing flowsheet for the project in Western Australia.
Shares are up almost 10% to 4.5 cents.
Managing director Vincent Algar said: “Since we initially identified this opportunity, we have been interested in its implications for the project.
“Adding a high-value battery focused metal to the product suite at Gabanintha could potentially prove an important revenue stream.
“This would further enable AVL’s Gabanintha project to be on the lowest end of the vanadium cost curve.”
The company previously reported significant cobalt assays from drilling in fresh rock containing vanadium in magnetite.
Cobalt pricing is at all-time highs due to its position as a strategic battery metal.
Cobalt demand is increasing
Increasing demand for cobalt, as well as demand from consumers for ethically sourced cobalt, has contributed to a price rise to over US$90,500 per tonne.
AVL is preparing a mineral resource update at Gabanintha, which will include sulphur and base metals.
This will allow these components to be included in the pit-optimisation and PFS studies, which are underway.
Further optimisation tests
Further flotation optimisation tests will be undertaken on the bulk composite reserve and future drilling is being designed to target sufficient sample mass.
Microscope image of sulphide concentrate containing 4% cobalt, nickel and copper combined.
This work will allow the company to optimise a sulphide recovery flowsheet, improve concentrate quality and determine an overall base metal recovery.
The company plans to engage with potential Australian and offshore buyers to discuss indicative terms for the sale of a sulphide concentrate.
All-time high cobalt prices and recovery parameters indicated by the work, add support for additional drilling to expand the vanadium resource and better define the sulphide by-product potential.
Potential to increase revenue
Sale of a by-product cobalt, nickel and copper sulphide concentrate has potential to increase revenue at Gabanintha.