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A ‘highly successful’ infill drilling program has lifted the mineral resource estimate for the Richmond – Julia Creek vanadium project.

A pre-feasibility study centred on commercial evaluation and ore reserve generation from the updated mineral resource is expected to be released in the September quarter.

The project is a joint venture between Horizon Minerals and Richmond
Vanadium Technology, with RVT earning up to 75 per cent by spending $6 million to March 2021 inclusive of a feasibility study.

Horizon said today the updated global mineral resource estimate for Richmond – Julia Creek stood at 1.8 billion tonnes grading 0.36 per cent vanadium pentoxide (V205).

That includes the Lilyvale deposit within the project area, which has a 560 million tonne resources grading 0.48 per cent V205 for 2.6 million tonnes V205 at a 0.30 per cent V205 lower grade cut-off.

Horizon said the Lilyvale mineralisation sat within a shallow band of oxide marine sediments to 15m depth- enabling cost-effective, low-impact mining.

“Infill drilling at Lilyvale has demonstrated the improved scale and quality of the resource that can be readily upgraded on site for conventional downstream processing,” Horizon managing director Jon Price said.

“Lilyvale alone can provide globally significant electrolyte and flake product to meet the increasing demand for both the steel and emerging energy storage markets.

“We look forward to the completion of the commercial evaluation as part of the feasibility study.”

Downstream pilot plant testing using roasting and acid leaching techniques has produced commercial grade vanadium pentoxide with acceptable recoveries.

Work has now advanced to simulated production tests.

“While not a distraction from our core gold business, we see considerable value creation for shareholders from our exposure to the project,” Mr price said.

“The current vanadium price is artificially depressed in our view and RVT will commence offtake discussions with both the steel industry and the emerging energy storage space.

“The vanadium REDOX battery technology is advancing rapidly and surety of supply is a key consideration.”