The mineral resource for the Steelpoortdrift vanadium project in South Africa continues to compare highly favourably to other vanadium deposits globally. This is according to ASX-listed Vanadium Resources who recently announced an updated mineral resource for the project.
South Africa – According to Vanadium Resources, Steelpoortdrift is the largest global undeveloped mineral resource, as well as the largest high grade resource. The new mineral resource includes the upgrade of a significant proportion to measured and indicated categories as a result of the company’s 2019 infill drilling and the resultant improved geological model for the deposit.
The resource continues to include a substantial high grade, near surface component which has been newly estimated at 188 million tonnes at an in situ grade of 1.23% V2O5, a 175% increase from the April 2019 estimate. Of this high grade resource measured and indicated material comprises 59%, being 110 million tonnes at an in situ grade of 1.23% V2O5.
Longer life of mine anticipated
The size of the mineral resource is anticipated to result in a long life of mine for the project, which will be confirmed once the mining studies currently underway have been completed.
A sizeable portion of this high grade resource – 68 Mt at 1.37% – V2O5 is hosted in a discrete, massive magnetite unit at the base of the lower magnetite zone. The majority of this high grade resource is anticipated to be able to be mined by open pit methods given that 127 million tonnes at an in situ grade of 1.20% V2O5 occurs within 100 m of surface. Pit optimisations and open pit schedules are being designed currently to confirm this and for input into the current Scoping Study into downstream production of V2O5 from the Steelpoortdrift vanadium project.
Significant global resource
Measured and indicated material now makes up 57% of the global mineral resource, corresponding to 376 million tonnes at an in situ grade of 0.78% V2O5 within the global mineral resource of 662 million tonnes at an in situ grade of 0.77% V2O5.
Mineralisation is hosted in massive, vanadium bearing, titanomagnetite layers easily mappable within the project area and along strike within the well-studied Bushveld Complex. Vanadium mineralisation in the Bushveld Complex is amongst the highest grade mineralisation found globally meaning that the Steelpoortdrift Vanadium Project continues to compare favourably to other global vanadium projects.
Vanadium Resources is currently progressing its Scoping Study into downstream V2O5 production. Due to restrictions on industry currently in place in South Africa the progress of metallurgical testwork for use in the Scoping Study has been slowed and as a result the Scoping Study is now expected to be completed during Q3 2020.