First Vanadium Corp. has reported positive results from a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of its Carlin vanadium project six miles south of Carlin, Nevada. Active mining of the project would continue for 11 years, plus five years of stockpile processing.
Process plant feed is planned at 1 million metric tons per year (mt/y) at an average grade of 0.71% V2O5 and average process recovery rates of 78%, resulting in an average payable production of 11 million lb per year (lb/y) of V2O5 flake. Life-of-mine total payable production is estimated at 180 million lb of V2O5 flake.
Life-of-mine average cash operating cost per payable V2O5 lb is estimated at $5.17/lb V2O5, including $4.81/lb V2O5 over the first 10 years. Preproduction capital requirements are estimated at $535 million. The assumed metal price in the PEA is $10.65/lb V2O5.
The project resources include both oxide and non-oxide materials. The mine design has two objectives: first, to mine the highest grade in the oxides, followed by non-oxides, and second, once the whole deposit is mined, to store tailings in the pit.
A drill-blast load-haul profile has been built into the model at an average cost of $2.30/short ton; however, it may be possible that some of this material can be mined without drilling or blasting. This will be determined in subsequent studies.
The process plant is designed to produce V2O5 as a saleable product from the two distinct material types that make up the resource, oxide and non-oxide shales, using conventional equipment and conventional beneficiation and hydrometallurgical techniques. The run-of-mine oxide feed from the mine would be attrition scrubbed and classified to produce an oxide concentrate. The run-of-mine non-oxide feed would be crushed, ground, attrition scrubbed/classified, and floated to produce a non-oxide concentrate.
Both concentrates would then be subjected to acidulation, pressure oxidation, impurity removal, vanadium solvent extraction, and precipitation as ammonium metavanadate (AMV). Finally, AMV would be calcined to form the V2O5 product. The overall recovery of V2O5 through the process flowsheet for oxide material is estimated at 78.6%. The overall recovery of V2O5 for non-oxide material is estimated at 77.4%.
First Vanadium President and CEO Paul Cowley commented, “The PEA crystalizes potential economics for the company’s vanadium asset and provides for design options and enhancement opportunities…
“With a positive PEA, the Carlin vanadium project becomes an even more important resource of a critical and strategic metal essential to protecting U.S. national interests, particularly as the U.S. looks toward vital future domestic sources of strategic metals, which include vanadium.
“In addition, the benefit of having both vanadium and a separate gold opportunity on the same property located within the world-famous Carlin gold trend is unique, broadens our opportunities, and is another of our many strengths. With our goal to maximize on all our high-quality opportunities to enhance value for our shareholders, it is now time to bring our exceptional gold opportunity to the forefront with the aim to drill-test this summer. This drill program will be led by ex-Newmont Regional Manager and proven mine-finder Dave Mathewson, who has found six gold deposits within three to nine miles of the property.”