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Australian Vanadium eyes commercial feldspar opportunity in South Africa

The company has identified an opportunity for high-value feldspar products.
map of South Africa
Historical high quality feldspar production

Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX:AVL) has received promising tantalum, lithium and beryllium results from drilling at the Blesberg Project located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

The company’s pegmatite intersections from 38 holes contains average of >50% feldspar.

Importantly, Australian Vanadium has identified an opportunity for niche, high-value feldspar product with accessory mineral credits.

Drilling confirms extension of pegmatite beyond historical mine

The company’s objective was to assess the value of the lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatites at Blesberg, including the volume of ceramic grade feldspar, spodumene, beryl and tantalite.

The company completed 41 holes (3,128 metres) of reverse circulation (RC) drilling.

Highlight tantalum results include:

- 8 metres at 1,532 ppm tantalum including 1 metre at 8,190 ppm tantalum; and
- 5 metres at 414 ppm tantalum including 1 metre at 1,535 ppm tantalum.

Best lithium and beryllium results:

- 2 metres at 10,505 ppm lithium including 1 metre at 20,100 ppm lithium; and
- 2 metres at 1,000 ppm beryllium including 1 metre at 1,160 ppm beryllium.

The drilling results have confirmed the extension of the pegmatite beyond the historical mine.

The company is now aiming to proceed to calculate and report a resource estimate.

Commercial feldspar opportunity

The main products produced from the historical mining at Blesberg were feldspar, beryl, bismuth, tantalite, columbite, spodumene and mica.

Historical feldspar production from the mine was reported to be of very high quality, with the feldspar being pure white and unstained by iron oxide.

Its coarse grain size and low iron content are an attractive feed for glass making and other ceramic uses.

One of feldspar’s key new uses is in the production of solar glass used in solar cells.

The extension of the Blesberg pegmatite under shallow cover is considered significant, making it potentially amenable to low cost open-cut mining which will be further evaluated by the company.

Metallurgical recovery tests to follow

Australian Vanadium is currently focusing on the opportunity presented by the high quality feldspar mineralisation including the by-product extraction of lithium, beryllium and tantalum minerals.

Samples from the drilling and existing excavation are being collected to complete first-pass, low-cost metallurgical recovery tests.

Confirming the recovery of a significant portion of the high quality feldspar is central to the future of the project.

READ: Australian Vanadium to benefit from rising vanadium prices

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