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Horizon Minerals has announced positive prefeasibility study results for a proposed $220 million vanadium mine in North West Queensland.

The study was completed for the Richmond – Julia Creek vanadium joint venture project, based on shallow open-pit mining over an initial life of 20 years.

It was focused on the Lilyvale deposit within that project, with a maiden open pit ore reserve of 459.2Mt at 0.49 per cent vanadium pentoxide for 2.25Mt of contained  vanadium pentoxide product.

Ore would be processed on site to produce a vanadium pentoxide concentrate.

Horizon said discussions with potential offtake partners were advanced, with significant interest received.

“Our joint venture partner RVT has done an excellent job demonstrating the quality and viability of this world-class oxide vanadium resource,” Horizon managing director Jon Price said.

“The Lilyvale deposit alone can provide globally significant supply for the next 100 years and easily expand production to meet the increasing demand from both the steel and emerging battery storage markets.

“With this increase in demand in coming years and the reduction in the supply of vanadium from steel slags, we see the vanadium price continuing its steady climb and look forward to advancing the project to DFS (definitive feasibility study) level and commencing commercial production discussions with interested offtake partners.”

The prefeasibility study showed a financially viable project with modest up-front capital costs of $US157.4 million (about $AU220 million), the company said.

At current spot prices, the project had an NPV (net present value) of $US150 million. It had a globally competitive operating cost of $US5.53/lb, Horizon said. 

The Richmond – Julia Creek Vanadium Project is located about 50km north-west of Richmond in North West Queensland.

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

Following successful recent drilling, the updated independent mineral resource estimate for Lilyvale stands at 560 million tonnes, grading 0.48 per cent vanadium pentoxide.

The updated global mineral resource estimate for Richmond – Julia Creek stands at 1.8 billion tonnes grading 0.36 per cent vanadium pentoxide.