A preliminary assessment (PEA) of its Mont Sorcier iron and vanadium project 18 kilometers (km) east of Chibougamau, Quebec. The PEA outlines a drill-blast-haul, open-pit mining operation, followed by magnetic separation to produce approximately 5 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of vanadium-rich iron concentrate. Based on test work to date, this material would be amenable for use as direct blast furnace feed.
Upfront capital costs to develop Mont Sorcier are estimated at C$457.5 million, with a pay back of three years and an after-tax IRR of 33.8%. The project benefits from robust in-place infrastructure, with access to all-season roads and low-cost provincial hydro power. Given the project’s proximity to Chibougamau, no permanent camp will be required for the anticipated permanent workforce.
The project is within 20 km of a rail head servicing a railway that runs approximately 370 km to the port of Saguenay. The railway is currently underutilized and has sufficient capacity to service the requirements of the Mont Sorcier project. The PEA assumed all concentrate will be rail hauled to Saguenay for international shipment to China.
The Mont Sorcier PEA was completed by CSA Global Consultants Canada Ltd. CSA has developed a mine plan that calls for processing of 555 million mt of the current resource base over a 37-year mine life at an average strip ratio of 0.89 to 1.
Mining operations will reach peak material movement of approximately 44 million mt/y. Mining costs are estimated at C$2.29/mt of material moved. SiO2 content will be kept under 2.5% through pit grade-control to maintain above 65% iron in the concentrate.
Metallurgical test work by COREM has confirmed the production of premium, high-grade 65.8% iron concentrate with 0.67% V2O5 content. The PEA calls for crushing and grinding to a P95 of 45 microns to ensure production of premium concentrate grades, followed by three stages of magnetic separation.
Life-of-mine operating costs are estimated at C$52.38/mt of concentrate produced, delivered to the port of Saguenay, and loaded onto a vessel. Additional selling costs related to ocean freight are expected to add C$27.78/mt of concentrate, assuming delivery to China. Transport costs could be reduced significantly should the company find a North American purchaser.
In light of the robust PEA results, Vanadium One is in the process of developing a detailed development plan and budget to determine the requirements to bring Mont Sorcier to a development decision. The company will undertake additional drilling to improve resource confidence levels to support a formal feasibility study, with a total of approximately 12,000 m of drilling planned to complete this program.