Technology Metals Australia Ltd (ASX:TMT) (FRA:TN6) has 'project defining' pilot-scale test-work underway at the Yarrabubba Iron-Vanadium Project in Western Australia in support of a definitive feasibility study (DFS).
Recent metallurgical test work results, which have been described by the company as ‘excellent’, confirmed the opportunity to generate a high-grade iron ore-vanadium (>63% Fe, >1.6% V2O5) product.
In its latest project update, TMT highlighted that reverse circulation (RC) drilling to infill and extend the Yarrabubba resource had been completed, with all samples expected to be received in the laboratory by the end of the week.
The company is progressing a DFS under its strategy to progress the standalone high-grade, high purity Yarrabubba Iron Ore Project to provide an opportunity to implement the cost-effective staged development of the Tier 1 high-grade, low-cost, large-scale, long-life Gabanintha Vanadium Project (GVP).
At the GVP, the environmental review document (ERD) approvals are advancing well, following construction feedback from the environmental protection authority (EPA).
Making "outstanding progress”
TMT’s managing director Ian Prentice said: “The TMT team is continuing to make outstanding progress on the Yarrabubba DFS as part of the staged development strategy for delivery of the globally significant, tier 1 GVP.
“Yarrabubba’s product streams of premium iron ore, with vanadium credits, and titanium by-product are all highly sought and experiencing very positive pricing and strong near to midterm outlooks, boding well for a very strong economic outcome”.
Pilot-scale metallurgical test-work
Metallurgical test-work has now progressed to the 'project defining' pilot-scale stage, utilising bulk samples generated from the diamond drilling campaign completed in early 2021.
Initial stages of this program involve a comprehensive program of Davis Tube Recovery (DTR) test work throughout the Yarrabubba orebody - with the results from this work (mass recoveries, Fe grades and recoveries, V2O5 grades and recoveries) to inform an updated resource model as well as assist in variability assessment and selection of final representative bulk samples for pilot-scale processing.
The pilot-scale test-work will be based on three representative 1 to 2-tonne composite samples from the north, central and south portions of the Yarrabubba orebody.
This program is designed to confirm that the process flowsheet is fit for purpose at larger scale as well as generate bulk samples of high grade, high purity iron (+vanadium) concentrate for final stages of customer engagement.
The DFS in support of the Yarrabubba development is progressing well, with test-work at the pilot stage, all drilling completed in support of the mineral resource and reserve upgrade completed, environmental studies proceeding in line with schedule and customer engagement making good progress.
Workstreams being performed by third parties, such as laboratories, are experiencing some delays due to extreme levels of activity across the mining and exploration industry and COVID-19 restrictions.
These third-party delays are starting to have an impact on data flow and have resulted in the timing of some of the DFS workstreams being impacted.
Irrespective of these impacts the company remains focused on the delivery of the Yarrabubba DFS during the fourth quarter of 2021.
Technology Metals is progressing engagement with a broad range of counterparties in regard to product offtake, project development and funding, and technical collaboration.
Yarrabubba represents a breakthrough for the company, providing two product streams – the high-grade, high purity iron (+vanadium) concentrate and the titanium by-product – and delivering the potential for a low risk, lower entry cost project that is complementary to, and expected to reduce funding and implementation risk for Gabanintha.
Engagement with Sinosteel is progressing with regard to the potential for long term offtake of the high-grade, high purity iron (+vanadium) concentrate and discussions have also been held with other potential end-users that have approached the company with a high level of interest.
TMT is continuing opportunities with potential end-users of the YIP1 titanium byproduct, as assessed by TZMI, a global, independent consulting and publishing company with extensive experience in the mineral sands, titanium dioxide and coatings industries.
TZMI’s assessment of the YIP1 ilmenite product indicates that China would be the preferential market for the product, with a range of potential end-users demonstrating a high level of interest in the product.