Viking begins Canegrass sighter roasting testwork 

Viking Mines (ASX:VKA) has begun sighter roasting testwork to determine the key parameters and reagents to be used ahead of producing a greater than 99% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) flake product. 

The $10.25 million market capitalisation company says this work has begun after posting today (6 March 2024) ‘excellent’ results for low intensity magnetic separation (LIMS) testwork. 

Testwork is being conducted on bulk concentrate produced as part of stage two metallurgical testwork at the Canegrass Battery Minerals Project in Western Australia. 

LIMS separation uses laboratory scale techniques using the same technical methods which would be employed at an operating mine and is used as an indication of what can be achieved. 

Some 16 sighter roasting tests using various combinations of roasting time are being completed, with temperature and reagents to determine optimum roasting conditions for the Canegrass ore.

Viking says leach sighter roasting products use water to dissolve liberated vanadium into solution and assay. Once optimum roasting conditions are determined, the company will undertake bulk roasting testwork on a larger sample to produce sufficient product for purification testwork.

The company will also investigate options to improve the iron (Fe) concentrate grade to 62%, as well as assess options to separate the titanium dioxide (TiO2) into a separate concentrate for options for a separate product.

Results, returned from samples gathered from the Fold Nose deposit so far demonstrate a ‘high quality’ concentrate grading 1.43% V2O5, 59% Fe, and 11.7% TiO2. 

According to Viking, maintaining iron above 58% is a key achievement, as it demonstrates that the ‘significant’ value of contained iron in the Canegrass project has the potential to be realised as a saleable magnetite concentrate. 

Results also demonstrate total recovery of V2O5 is ‘excellent’ at 93% from ore feed and iron at 83.7%. A high mass recovery was also achieved at 53.2%. 

Importantly, both silica and alumina combined are 3.8%, which sits ‘comfortably’ below the threshold target of 4% for roasting, the next step required to produce V2O5 flake. 

Further testwork is planned to determine if sulphide concentrate of nickel, copper, and cobalt can be produced from this material.  

Managing Director and CEO Julian Woodcock says the company is honing in on the next key step of producing V2O5 flake from the concentrate, which will demonstrate a pathway to unlocking the value of Canegrass’ ‘substantial’ resource.

“The quality of the concentrate delivers on our expectations with high recoveries of the primary commodities, high mass pull and low silica and alumina required to proceed with roasting. 

We have maintained the high vanadium recoveries seen in the sighter Davis Tube Recovery (“DTR”) testwork with 93% and significantly reduced the silica and alumina content which is critical for the project to proceed on a conventional processing pathway.

We will also continue to investigate options to further enhance the value of the Project such as producing a sulphide concentrate from the tail to realise value of the significant copper, nickel, and cobalt credits, separating the iron and titanium to produce a premium magnetite concentrate and ilmenite (titanium) concentrate and finally targeting a high purity greater than 99% V2O5 flake product which attracts a premium for use in the electrolyte, aerospace, and defence industries.”

Stage two testwork began in December 2023. 

The Canegrass Project sits in the Murchison region of Western Australia, about 620km northeast of Perth. It benefits from 95km-square of exploration tenements. 

Viking Mines, through its wholly owned subsidiary Viking Critical Minerals, entered into a farm-in arrangement with Red Hawk Mining (ASX:RHK) on 28 November 2022 to acquire an equity interest in the project. 

Through the terms of the farm-in, Viking can acquire up to 99% of the project through completion of 4 stages via a combination of exploration expenditure of $4 million and staged payments totalling $1.25 million over 54 months. 

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Viking Mines
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.