All mining will be undertaken from surface via conventional open pit mining methods. Three open pits have been designed within the low impact inclusion zone located between the Shakwaneng and Magagamahubedu rivers (Figure 1). Pit 1 is the northern most pit and contains an estimated 54.45Mt of ore at an average grade of 0.72% V2O5. Pit 2 is situated south of Pit 1 and contains an estimated 26.23Mt of ore at an average grade of 0.69% V2O5. Pit 3 is the southern most pit and contains an estimated 2.83Mt of ore at an average grade of 0.73% V2O5. Mining will commence in Pit 2, followed by Pit 1 and finally Pit 3.
Figure 1 Open Pit Mine Design
The Steelpoortdrift (SPD) Project processing pathway comprises the open pit mining of titaniferous vanadium ore, primary treatment of the ore through an onsite concentrator (using magnetic separation), and secondary treatment of concentrate through a Salt Roast Leach (SRL) plant to produce a >98% V2O5 flake. The onsite concentrator and SRL have been designed using established technology which currently in use within the Bushveld regional and internationally.
As shown in Figure 1 below, there are two main sites for the Steelpoortdrift Project consisting of the mine site and concentrator (located within the “Mine Site”, see below) and the SRL Site in the Steelpoortdrift Industrial Park, which is 15km away (23km by road). Under the DFS, the transport of concentrate to the SRL site will be completed by trucks, however the Company is currently investigating the potential to use a rope conveyor to lower ESG metrics, reduce disruption to local communities and lower operating costs.
Figure 2 Location of Mine Site and SRL Site
The concentrator plant is based on a proven flowsheet, consisting of a two-stage crushing circuit, ball milling, wet magnetic separation, dewatering, and re-grind magnetic separation areas, and will be constructed at the mine site. The concentrator plant will receive run of mine (ROM) ore at a feed rate of 208tph to produce a concentrate of 2.08-2.16% V2O5.
Figure 3 Proposed Concentrator Plant
The SRL plant will treat concentrate to produce a vanadium flake are >98% V2O5. The plant will comprise kiln roasting, leaching, desilication, AMV precipitation, flash drying and V2O5 flake production. Evaporation and crystallisation to recover Na2SO4 crystals for recirculation to the kiln has also been included.
Figure 4 Proposed SRL Plant