ASX-listed minerals developer Technology Metals has dived into the implementation phase of its Murchison Technology Metals project after awarding Danish-based kiln supplier FLSmidth a Notice to Proceed, or ‘NtP’, with front-end engineering and design, or ‘FEED’ services for the key roasting kiln section of its vanadium processing plant.
The duo has maintained a collaborative relationship since the delivery of a definitive feasibility study for the project about four years ago and recently combined to undertake roast-leach test work programs as part of an integration study for the operation.
According to Technology Metals, the data generated from the test programs will be utilised by FLSmidth to progress the FEED Services for the roasting kiln division of its vanadium processing plant.
The company says it expects work related to the FEED study to be wrapped up in around 26 weeks with FLSmidth subsequently jumping into the production of long-lead procurement items and fabrication activities related to the facility’s kiln.
Management argues the NtP marks a tipping point in the project’s delivery – and fast tracks the move to production of what could be one of the world’s most significant vanadium mines.
Importantly, the equipment and technology supplied for the kiln qualifies for financing support through the Danish export credit agency EKF, who have previously backed the business with financing alternatives typically unattainable through a traditional bank loan.
The Murchison Technology Metals project lies 40km south of Meekatharra in Western Australia and houses the Gabanintha and Yarrabubba deposits that collectively deliver a resource of 146.2 million tonnes grading 0.8 percent vanadium pentoxide.
Remarkably, the deposits host an even higher-grade component of 79.8 million tonnes grading 1.1 percent vanadium pentoxide.
Technology Metals is now working on an integration study for the two deposits that should be completed within the next few months. The business believes the results of the program could lift the project’s economics and extend mine life beyond 25 years.
Recently, the company chalked up a slew of technical activities to propel the study forward, including recovery evaluation, mine scheduling, diamond drilling and an ore reserve estimate.
Roast-leach test work, in particular, delivered encouraging results with grades of 96 per cent reached using a preliminary orebody blend.
Following the completion of the facility Technology Metals could produce vanadium electrolyte, a critical component in the creation of vanadium redox flow batteries. The batteries are generally used to store energy acquired through solar and wind-based applications and hold power for utility-grids, commercial properties and industrial facilities.
As the global transition towards cleaner energy solutions gathers pace Technology Metals could find itself at the forefront of the emerging sector with its rapidly-advancing project.
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