Updated Feasibility Study Enhances Mount Peake
The new study assumes open-pit mining followed by production of magnetite concentrate at Mount Peake. Life-of-mine beneficiation feed material is estimated at 81 million metric tons (mt) at an average grade of 0.37% V2O5, 6.87% TiO2, and 26.38% Fe. This includes an ore reserve of about 41.1 million mt, with the remaining material sourced from measured and indicated resources.
Concentrate produced at Mount Peake will be trucked to a rail siding and then railed approximately 1,250 km north to a TIVAN process plant approximately 10 km from Darwin Port. TIVAN is a patented TNG process. After extensive refinement, the process now utilizes a proprietary method of vanadium extraction that avoids complex and capex-intensive chloride balancing and operates with a significantly smaller acid-regeneration circuit. The flowsheet includes feed preparation, leaching, extraction, and acid regeneration. The plant will have an initial design processing capacity to treat 900,000 mt/y of magnetite concentrate.
The updated Mount Peake feasibility study estimates preproduction capital expenditure of A$853 million, including all infrastructure, access/haul roads, mining, rail works, camp, water supply, concentrator, tailing dam, TIVAN process plant, and port handling costs.
A Stage Two expansion is proposed to increase maximum TIVAN plant throughput to 1.8 million mt/y in production year five. The capacity of the concentrator and process plant would also double. Stage 2 capex costs of A$969 million would be paid out of operating revenue.
The TIVAN plant will produce high-purity V2O5, pigment-grade TiO2, and pig iron. The high-purity V2O5 product will be suitable for use in both the ferro-vanadium and the emerging vanadium redox battery market sectors. Associated downstream plants will produce high-grade titanium pigment and pig iron. While these additional plant facilities increase the capital requirement of the Mount Peake project, the higher revenues to be achieved from the higher-value end products provide TNG with the potential for an early payback of three years and an exceptional internal rate of return. In addition, the products have well-understood markets, transparent pricing, and ready demand.
The TIVAN process plant is planned to have an operating life of approximately 40 years, longer than the current planned Mount Peake project life. Drilling results have indicated the potential to find additional ore in the Mount Peake area. This potential for additional long-life revenue streams has not been incorporated into the updated feasibility study.