Discoverer of the Red October Gold Deposit in Western Australia and three kimberlites in Namibia, base metals explorer and developer Mount Burgess Mining NL (ASX: MTB) is currently focussed on developing the Kihabe and Nxuu Zinc/Lead/Silver/Germanium and Vanadium deposits in Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, which is believed to be a hub to one of the most profitable vanadium mines in the world.
The Kihabe – Nxuu Project
MTB’s project portfolio includes the Kihabe-Nxuu Base Metals Project, which is situated on the border with Namibia, in Western Ngamiland (Botswana). MTB aspires to unlock the potential of the Zinc/ Lead/ Silver/ Germanium and Vanadium Project. It owns 100% of the Prospecting License PL 43/2016, which is valid until 31 December 2020, with the option to seek an extension until 31 December 2022.
Let us look at the key developments in Botswana this year, and understand the progress that MTB has successfully made with this project prospect:
April 2019: CMMD approached MTB and UFDMS test work was conducted
- Chemical, Materials and Metallurgical Department (CMMD) of the Botswana University of Science and Technology approached the company with a proposal to conduct research for the purpose of maximising selective beneficiation within Botswana for the recovery of Vanadium Pentoxide, Zinc, Lead, Silver and Germanium from the Kihabe – Nxuu project in Western Ngamiland, Botswana.
- MTB welcomed the proposal and notified about its plan to conduct further test work, which would attract positive engagement from any aspiring post graduate students and if successful should further contribute to the economy of Botswana.
- UFDMS (Ultra-fine Dense Media Separation) test work was conducted on the Nxuu deposit, with the purpose of determining whether barren gangue Quartz Wacke, (which is the host rock of mineralisation) could be separated from mineralised Quartz Wacke after crushing but prior to milling. Three size ranges of samples were selected (-300µm + 75µm, -1mm + 300µm and +1mm) for UFDMS laboratory scouting testwork in the form of Heavy Liquid Separation (HLS).
- The test work depicted that greater than 88% recoveries were achieved for Pb and V whereas the Zn, Ge, Ag showed little response to the HLS at a SG of 2.6.
- As per the company, if the further planned test works showed non-responsiveness of Zn, Ge and Ag to UFDMS, then the most likely process route would consist of a UFDMS concentration step, allowing for the Pb and V sinks (UFDMS Product) to go through to a recovery circuit. This in turn would then enable the Zn, Ge, Ag floats (UFDMS Tails) to go through to a separate recovery circuit.
May 2019: Sighter Test Work conducted by STEINERT AUSTRALIA
- Post the UFDMS test work, MTB notified about a trial Sighter Test Work for ore sorting at the Nxuu Deposit, to be conducted by STEINERT AUSTRALIA on ten samples, with the purpose of separating mineralised host quartz wacke from barren quartz wacke.
- Each sample was expected to be screened in order to conduct test work on the + 10mm size fraction, separately scanned through a Fines Combination Sensor Sorter, a Colour 3D Laser Camera and X-ray Transmission Sensors, taking measurements of mineralised particles.
June 2019: Botswana Resources Conference and Project Power Proposal
- MTB notified that the focus for the Project was centred on maximising beneficiation within Botswana, and the renewed license title for a further 2 years to 31 December 2022 was a great boost.
- As per the company, Vanadium is an extremely crucial element as Vanadium Redox Flow (VRF) batteries for EVs, manufactured from Vanadium Pentoxide, are capable of storing gigawatts of power over long periods of time with little power loss along with providing a long life span with little deterioration when subject to significant variation in high/low power storage capacity.
- Mineralogical test work conducted on Vanadium samples concluded that the host oxide vanadate is DESCLOIZITE, wherein DESCLOIZITE Vanadium (V) is hosted in Vanadium Pentoxide (V2O5), a marketable product.
- With over 80.4% recoveries of V2O5, mineralised zones in the Nxuu Deposit would add significant dimension to overall recoverable Zn, Pb, Ag, Ge, V mineralised zones.
- MTB met with Botswana Power Corporation’s GM for Transmission and Distribution and was advised that Botswana’s power line upgrades would be completed by the end of the year which could then enable the Company to reliably access 20MW of grid power from the upgraded Toteng/Shakawe line in Western Ngamiland. Regarding the same, MTB submitted the requisite three power link line proposals to the BPC.
July 2019: Preliminary Sensor Sorter test work conducted by STEINERT
- MTB reported to receive encouraging results from preliminary Sensor Sorter test work conducted by STEINERT Australia on 10 samples ( + 10mm size fraction) from the Nxuu Deposit, which involved the use of an x-ray transmission sensor to measure atomic density, together with a 3D laser sensor to determine mineral particle sizes in order to target densely mineralised domains in the samples.
- The results showed that of the total mass of all 10 samples subjected to this test work, an average of 49% of the sample mass was rejected as barren or insignificantly mineralised Quartz Wacke, leaving 51% of mineralised Quartz Wacke available for milling and processing.
August 2019: Additional Sensor Sorter test work
- Backed by the encouraging preliminary test results, additional Sensor Sorter test work was conducted on a composite of the size fraction ( 4 millimetre to – 10 millimetre) separated post crushing from the +10 millimetre size fraction test work.
- The test work results showed that of the combined mass of the size fractions of + 10mm and + 4mm to -10mm from a composite of all ten samples subjected to the test work, an average of 45% of the sample mass was rejected as barren or insignificantly mineralised Quartz Wacke (the host rock of mineralisation), thereby reducing milling and downstream treatment processes while leaving 55% of mineralised Quartz Wacke available for processing and milling. The company further expects reduction in water consumption, environmental footprint, capital and treatment costs along with upgrade in pre-concentrated mental grade levels.
Simple Hydrometallurgical Production Process of V2O5
Mount Burgess aims at further pursuing the sighter test work program that represents a significant early beneficiation step with the potential to have a significant positive impact on project economics. The company intends to test the higher average grades of Silver, Lead and Zinc, while expecting the Ore Sorter to deliver further enhancement in the recoveries and pre-concentrate grades.
MTB last traded on ASX at A$0.001 with the market capitalisation of A$520.13 million as on 6 September 2019.
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