A reverse circulation (RC) drilling program will comprise around 53 holes for 4,600 metres, aiming to quantify the extent, grade and continuity of the mineralised zone.
Initial drilling will target depths of up to 120 metres below surface along the trend of the known workings.
The company will also investigate reopening or extending the adjacent historic Abenab and Christiana mines, once the world’s largest known deposits of base metal vanadate ore.
Unlike other vanadium deposits
The Abenab-Christina deposits were discovered in the early 20th century and mined until 1958.
Abenab’s historical production was around 102,000 tonnes of concentrate grading 18% vanadium pentoxide, 13% zinc and 42% lead.
Christiana produced around 74,000 tonnes of concentrate grading 13% vanadium and 72% lead.
The high-grade vanadate mineralogy of the deposits is unlike that of any operating or proposed vanadium mines.
Previous surface and underground channel sampling at Christiana defined a linear zone of near-surface mineralisation over at least 500 metres of strike, up to 70 metres apparent thickness and over 30 metres in vertical extent.
RC and diamond drilling is also proposed at Abenab to infill and extend mineralisation discovered adjacent to the mine area in 2012.
Environmental clearance for Abenab drilling is expected to be granted by the end of August.
Tests confirm effectiveness of gravity separation
Preliminary metallurgical testing of mineralisation sourced from surface stockpiles at Abenab has confirmed that simple coarse grinding and gravity separation is an effective liberation process.
Concentrate grades up to 21% vanadium, 14% zinc and 53% lead have been reported so far, with potential to increase vanadium recovery up to plus-80% through further gravity test work.
Additional test work is planned, using mineralisation from Abenab and Christiana, to assist in treatment process design based on gravity separation.
Samples for this work will be collected concurrently with proposed surveying and drilling programs.