ASX-listed Battery Minerals has reported highly favourable results from preliminary metallurgical test work at its Montepuez graphite project. The testwork was aimed at assessing the potential for vanadium to be extracted from the tailings which will be produced at Montepuez.
This preliminary work has allowed Battery Minerals to classify the vanadium content of its graphite deposits at Montepuez as an inferred mineral resource, providing the company with the confidence to continue working to determine the economic potential of producing a Vanadium Pentoxide by-product from the project’s plant tailings stream.
While a commercial study of the viability has not yet been completed, preliminary testwork indicates potential to beneficiate the tailings from Montepuez to produce a vanadium concentrate. “The addition of a vanadium mineral resource and the potential for a V2O5 by-product is highly promising given the current positive outlook for the vanadium market. There is strong current demand from traditional sectors of the market and positive signs for the energy storage sector,” Battery Minerals MD Jeremy Sinclair said.
“The Company will continue studies to understand how value from the vanadium might be extracted while remaining focussed on the primary objective of developing the graphite operations.”
The Montepuez Graphite Project is located within the Xixano Complex and traverses the tectonic contacts between the Nairoto, Xixano and Montepuez Complexes. The Xixano Complex includes a variety of metasupracrustal rocks enveloping predominantly mafic igneous rocks and granulites that form the core of a regional north-northeast to south-southwest trending synform. Graphite-bearing mica schist and gneiss are found in the Xixano Complex.
The V2O5 Mineral Resource was classified as inferred mineral resource based on data quality, sample spacing, and lode continuity and was based on 200 m section spacing and 50 m hole spacing on section. On the basis that V2O5 would be produced as a by-product of graphite production, the inferred V2O5 mineral resource is reported above a 4.3% TGC cut-off grade, which is the ore reserve cut-off grade; within the ore reserve pit design for fresh material only.
Montepuez will be mined using open pit techniques. Test work has been conducted to demonstrate that V2O5 can be extracted as a by-product of graphite processing at the project. Tailings from the graphite plant would undergo a secondary process that involves further grinding to liberate vanadium minerals (predominantly roscoelite) and a two stage magnetic separation process with stage 1 removing high iron gangue and stage 2 recovering the vanadium to the magnetic fraction.
The vanadium rich magnetic fraction recovered from the magnetic recovery circuit contains approximately 75% of the vanadium in the graphite plant tailings. This material, upgraded to approximately 1.3% V2O5, would form the feed to a standard roast and leach process to recover the vanadium content as a V2O5 product.
Subject to completing project financing, Battery Minerals intends to commence graphite flake concentrate production Montepuez at a rate of 50,000tpa and an average flake concentrate grade of 96% TGC.
Source: Mining Review Africa