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New Energy Minerals' scoping study reveals exceptional economics for Caula Vanadium Graphite Project

The company considers the results sufficient to warrant the continued fast-tracked development of the project.

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Caula is within 200 kilometres of the port of Pemba

New Energy Minerals Ltd (ASX:NXE) has demonstrated the viability of an open pit vanadium and graphite mining operation with a completed scoping study at its 80%-owned Caula project in Mozambique.

The study was undertaken by mining consultant group Bara International and examined all facets of geology, mining, processing and supporting infrastructure, including a consultant site visit in June.

Results indicate the potential to generate substantial financial returns through a two-phase development schedule with life-of-mine based on the large JORC measured resource and a strip ratio of 1:1.

The company aims to implement phase I production in the second half of next year as well as the concurrent completion of definitive feasibility studies and development activities for phase II.

READ: New Energy Minerals' rebrand reflects focus on vanadium and graphite

New Energy managing director Bernard Olivier said the results of the study clearly show the potential financial benefits of the unique Caula project.

"With its low 1:1 strip ratio, large high-grade JORC measured resource and simple, fully-integrated process flowsheet design using flotation and magnetic separation to extract graphite and vanadium concentrates, this project is truly remarkable.

"We are currently busy with metallurgical test work with the aim of producing 98% vanadium pentoxide which we believe will improve the project's potential even further.

"We are currently in off-take and associated project finance discussions and ... given the current level of financing interest for our phased development approach with a peak funding requirement for both phases of US$77.5 million for a pre-tax net present value and internal rate of return of US$673 million and 78% respectively, that the project finance for phase I and phase II can be secured."

READ: New Energy Minerals granted trading halt ahead of scoping study release

The scoping study outlines a phase I graphite concentrate production of 10,000-15,000 tonnes a year and 14,000-18,000 tonnes a year of 1.7% vanadium concentrate.

Phase II will see graphite production up to 120,000 tonnes per year at 97.5% total graphitic carbon (TGC) and 204,200 tonnes per year of 1.7% vanadium concentrate.

Economic outcomes are based on a graphite basket price assumption of US$1,103.50 a tonne and a vanadium price assumption of US$40,785 per tonne of 98% vanadium pentoxide.

Operating cost per tonne processed is US$50.87 and revenue per tonne US$135.52.

Minimum 26-year mine life

The operation's total life of mine is 26 years based on the current JORC resource which is expected to increase after the completion of a recent 4,000-metre drilling program.

New Energy is also undertaking additional metallurgical test work on the optimal beneficiation process for vanadium and graphite concentrates to refine flowsheet processes and improve concentrate grades.

Geotechnical and rheological test work and studies are underway to support the current pit design and tailings deposition methods.

Caula's implementation schedule

 

READ: New Energy Minerals produces high-grade vanadium concentrate from Caula ore

Caula consists of two exploration licences totalling more than 16,790 hectares and is along strike from the Balama Graphite Project owned by Syrah Resources Ltd (ASX:SYR).

New Energy announced in July Caula's maiden vanadium JORC measured mineral resource of 22 million tonnes at 0.37% vanadium pentoxide for 81,600 tonnes of contained vanadium.

The project's upgraded graphite JORC measured mineral resource is 21.9 million tonnes at 13.4% TGC for a total of 2.93 million tonnes of contained graphite.

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