Tuesday, 21 February 2023
by Berkeley Lovelace
Battery metals exploration company Viking Mines (ASX:VKA) has identified 3 rounds of metallurgical testwork that demonstrate vanadium recoveries of up to 90.2% as part of a review of historical testwork at the Canegrass Battery Minerals Project in Western Australia.
The company says this presents a ‘unique’ opportunity for the project as the true value of the vanadium has not been effectively assessed. Even with a lack of focus, Viking reports the results of the testwork completed demonstrate that ‘high’ vanadium can be achieved into a magnetic concentrate.
Commenting on the historical review, Viking Mines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director Julian Woodcock said: “I am very pleased with the outcome of the historical metallurgical testwork review by METS, Viking’s appointed metallurgical consultants.
The review has proved extremely valuable by confirming that the VTM mineralisation responds as expected, with the vanadium reporting to a magnetic concentrate and reaching grades up to 1.54% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5).
“The review has proved extremely valuable by confirming that the VTM mineralisation responds as expected”
Concentrate V2O5 grades of this tenor are in line with industry peers advancing other VTM deposits in the region and bolster our confidence that, with a focused metallurgical testwork program, a process route can be determined to unlock the significant value of the 1.1 billion pounds V2O5 contained in the Canegrass mineral resource.
With the v2O5 flake price continuing to climb and currently trading at US$10 per pound, the opportunity continues to grow for Viking shareholders to yield significant returns through appreciation of our share price as we advance this substantial battery minerals project.”
In 2008, Maximus Resources (ASX:MXR) commissioned ProMet Engineers to review results from Davis Tube Recovery (DTR) tests completed on 15 samples from 5 RC drillholes across the Canegrass project.
The objective of this testwork was to determine if a magnetite concentrate could be produced for the purpose of direct shipping. Viking reports the strategy adopted by Maximus appears to have been focused on producing iron ore, and not vanadium, as direct shipping of a magnetite concentrate to a blast furnace would likely not receive credits for the vanadium content.
Average results for this testwork included vanadium recoveries of 65.1%, a head grade of 1.03% V2O5, and a concentrate grade of 1.48% V2O5. The company says these results are ‘encouraging’ as they demonstrate that vanadium follows the magnetic iron minerals, which is the primary processing method to produce a vanadium concentrate.
In 2011, Flinders Mines (ASX:FMS) commissioned WorleyParsons to conduct a range of staged testwork on samples collected from 9 RC drillholes from across the project tenure. As with the ProMet testwork, the objective was to produce a magnetite concentrate as a direct shipping product and as such was not optimised for vanadium and unlikely to see any value if shipped to a blast furnace as iron ore.
DTR results achieved by WorleyParsons include V2O5 recoveries of 86.3%, a head grade of 0.43% V2O5, and a concentrate grade of 1.40% V2O5.
Low intensity Magnetic Separation (LIMS) testwork results achieved V2O5 recoveries of 81.8%, a head grade of 0.40% V2O5, and a concentrate grade of 1.39% V2O5.
Viking reports this testwork demonstrates that vanadium can be concentrated and with correct sample selection strategy to effectively test the prospective horizons, ‘significant’ improvements could be expected.
In 2020, Flinders commissioned NAGROM laboratories to undertake a series of Wet High Gradient Magnetic Separation (WHGMS) testwork and mineralogical studies on the concentrates to better understand the metallurgical properties of the mineralisation. As with previous testwork, Viking reports there appears to be limited thought applied to the appropriate selection of samples.
Average results achieved by WHGMS include V2O5 recoveries of 89%, a head grade feed of 0.61% V2O5, and concentrate grade of 1.03% V2O5. Viking says ‘high’ recoveries were obtained by a very coarse grind size and low magnetic field strength. Progressive regrinds also saw concentrate grade increase whilst recovery decreases.
The company says the lack of focus of the 3 stages of historical testwork provides an opportunity for the company to design a metallurgical testwork strategy to effectively assess the processing routes for the Canegrass project.
With the historical metallurgical review completed, Viking reports it is now progressing towards drilling in the June Quarter to test exploration targets, grow the resource with a focus on ‘higher-grade’ as evidenced in historical drilling, and conduct a ‘comprehensive’ metallurgical testwork program.
To achieve these goals, the company will complete a ground magnetic survey, and an exploration target assessment. It will also undertake a heritage survey, and engage with drill contractors to begin drilling in the June quarter.
Viking Mines is a battery metals exploration company focused on its projects in Western Australia and Ghana. These include the Canegrass Battery Minerals Project, and the First Hit Project in Western Australia as well as the Akoase, Tumentu, and Butre Gold projects in Ghana.