The Australian Vanadium Project is one of the highest-grade vanadium projects currently being developed in the world. It was awarded Federal Major Project Status by the Australian Government in September 2019 in recognition of its national strategic significance and State Lead Agency Status by the Western Australian Government in April 2020 due to its importance as a battery and critical metal project.
The Australian Vanadium Project consists of a high-grade V-Ti-Fe deposit located in the Murchison Province approximately 43kms south of the mining town of Meekatharra in Western Australia and 740km north-east of Perth.
The Project consists of 11 tenements covering approximately 260 sq km and is held 100% by Australian Vanadium Limited (ASX: AVL).
Mining Lease Application M51/878 is currently awaiting approval and covers about 70% of the Mineral Resource, with the balance of the Inferred Mineral Resource located on E51/843, fully owned by AVL.
AVL Released an Updated Mineral Resource Estimate 4th March 2020
A Maiden Ore Reserve was released on 19th December 2018, based on the PFS results and the Mineral Resource for the Project was updated on 4th March 2020 (see ASX announcement Total Vanadium Resource at The Australian Vanadium Project Rises to 208 Million Tonnes).
The total Mineral Resource is 208.2Mt at 0.74% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) consisting of:
- Measured Mineral Resource of 10.1Mt at 1.14% V2O5,
- Indicated Mineral Resource of 69.6Mt at 0.72% V2O5, and
- Inferred Mineral Resource of 128.5Mt at 0.73% V2O5.
The Mineral Resource includes a distinct massive magnetite high-grade zone of 87.9Mt at 1.06% V2O5 consisting of:
- Measured Mineral Resource of 10.1Mt at 1.14% V2O5,
- Indicated Mineral Resource of 25.1Mt at 1.10% V2O5, and
- Inferred Mineral Resource of 52.7Mt at 1.04% V2O5.
The Mineral Resource includes an estimation of cobalt, nickel and copper:
- Initial Inferred Mineral Resource is 14.3 Mt at 208ppm Co, 666ppm Ni and 217ppm Cu and 0.16% Sulphur*
AVL’s Maiden Ore Reserve was based on the PFS results with 18.24Mt at 1.04% V2O5 comprised of a Proved Reserve of 9.82Mt at 1.07% V2O5 and a Probable Reserve of 8.42Mt at 1.01% V2O5
AVL Released its Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) 19th December 2018
The results of the PFS (see ASX announcement The Australian Vanadium Project Pre-Feasibility Study and Maiden Ore Reserve) indicate a Project with a well defined resource base, robust economics and utilising an industry standard, low-risk method of beneficiation and refining to produce a vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) flake product. Capital and operating cost estimates have been developed to the level of accuracy of ±25% and include mine and processing circuit designs, a detailed financial model and supporting bodies of work. The additional work has identified a reduction in capital costs and confirmed the low, industry comparative, C1* operating costs with further opportunities identified.
The Project is based on a proposed open pit mine; crushing, milling and beneficiation plant (CMB) and refining plant for final conversion and sale of high quality vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) for use in steel, specialty alloys and energy storage markets. The PFS results highlight AVL’s potential to become a new low-cost vanadium producer.
The body of work completed in the PFS will feed into the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS). Due to the level of detail of many study aspects undertaken in the PFS, several areas are now at an advanced stage and work in 2019 will focus on optimisation and further refinement.
*C1 costs are direct costs incurred in mining and processing (labour, power, reagents, maintenance and consumables) including by-product credits.
By completing this PFS on the Australian Vanadium Project we have taken a major step towards bringing our world class Project into production. Announcing a maiden ore reserve is a key milestone and further embeds the Project’s low risk mineral resource and strong economic potential. The PFS includes detail that allows us to understand and design a long-life, low-cost vanadium pentoxide and cobalt concentrate production facility. Given the cyclical nature of the vanadium markets, it’s essential that all technical aspects are well understood and the capital and operating costs minimised. The Australian Vanadium Project’s geology and geometallurgy is emerging as offering a unique opportunity for new vanadium production globally.
– Vincent Algar | Managing Director, Australian Vanadium.
In the table below, NPV and IRR are reported at various V2O5 pricing assumptions.
NPV and IRR are reported at various V2O5 pricing assumptions. Assuming a V2O5 price of US$13/lb, pre-tax NPV is US$912M, with an IRR of 27.2%. Using US$8.67/lb V2O5, the post-tax NPV of US$125M highlights that the Project is robust and offers attractive returns even at conservative pricing assumptions.
Key Financial Outcomes (US$)
|Pricing Year 1-5 |
Pricing Year 6-17
|pre-tax NPV 8%||$230M||$444M||$912M||$2,013M|
|post-tax NPV 8%||$125M||$280M||$616M||$1,410M|
The mineral deposit consists of a basal massive magnetite zone (10m – 15m in drilled thickness), containing greater than 0.8% V2O5, overlain by up to five lower grade mineralised magnetite banded gabbro units between 5 and 30m thick, separated by thin waste zones (<0.3% V2O5).
Vanadium mineralisation is found in the basal massive magnetite horizon, as well as the lower grade banded magnetite gabbro horizons overlying the main high grade unit. (See typical cross section left).
The sequence is overlain in places by a lateritic domain, a transported domain (occasionally mineralised) and a thin barren surface cover domain. The deposit is affected by a number of regional scale faults which break the deposit into a series of kilometre scale blocks. The larger blocks show relatively little sign of internal deformation, with strong consistency in the layering being visible in drilling and over long distances between drillholes.
The Australian Vanadium Project – Mineral Resource Estimate
|Zone||Classification||Mt||V2O5||Fe %||Tio2||Sio2||Al2O3||LOI %|
The Australian Vanadium Project – Mineral Resource estimate by domain and resource classification using a nominal 0.4% V2O5 wireframed cut-off for low grade and nominal 0.7% V2O5 wireframed cut-off for high grade (total numbers may not add up due to rounding).