Australian Vanadium Ltd's (ASX:AVL) shares are trading about 10.5% higher intra-day after completing metallurgical and resource drilling at the Australian Vanadium Project near Meekatharra in Western Australia.
The completed drill program collected large diameter diamond core test material for pilot scale studies by targeting blends of material types that will be typical of material to be mined from the high-grade massive magnetite layer within the proposed open pit at the project.
Detailed pilot scale test work has now commenced ahead of schedule for the finalisation of the processing flow diagram (PFD) ahead of final engineering design.
The pilot program will test representative amounts of ore to ensure that the process is scaled up correctly for actual mine production.
The large tonnage sample collected by the company will allow for a scaled pilot program and is industry best practice for a project this size.
Managing director Vincent Algar said: “Testing 30 tonnes of our target magnetite blend is necessary for a project like AVL’s.
“The data collected from this pilot program will de-risk the final design and assure investors that the project will achieve production and quality targets.
“Projects of this scale must be designed and built with high confidence in the outcome and this can only be attained by a well-managed pilot program.
“AVL’s world class team has all the experience in vanadium to know what to look for, and we will achieve the best possible process by thorough and efficient evaluation.
“Time is very much of the essence, speed and accuracy are the way things will be done to achieve the goal of bringing this world class asset to production.”
2019 pilot plant drill campaign
Collection of large diameter diamond core (PQ size) as test material for pilot scale studies has been completed.
Diamond core of all material types in the high-grade massive magnetite layer was drilled using downdip and vertical diamond drill holes.
Algar added: “The globally unique substantial thickness of our vanadium titanium magnetite (VTM) deposit has allowed the company to advance collection of material for the pilot study by carefully planned and successfully executed downdip drilling.
Massive magnetite in diamond drill core
“The time and cost savings gained by using this method match our accelerated time line to achieving production in 2021.
“We have learned a significant amount more about our amazing deposit by this well executed drill program.
“The complex, but predictable nature of the material types, weathering and mafic/magnetite ratios are all crucial for the final mine plan.
“One key discovery is the presence of less weathered, highly magnetic material at surface within our designed pit length.
“This finding will have a significant impact on our capex and opex costs, and consequently drive up our project NPV (value).”