ASX-listed metals and mining company, Mount Burgess Mining NL (ASX:MTB) has a profound exploration history in Western Australia, where it discovered the Red October Gold Deposit and Namibia, where it discovered three kimberlites.
Taking its bandwagon ahead, the Company is currently focused at Botswana, a hub to one of the most profitable vanadium mines in the world. MTB has been developing the Kihabe and Nxuu Base Metals Project in Botswana to unlock the potential of the Zinc/ Lead/ Silver/ Germanium and Vanadium Project.
To know more about developments at the Kihabe-Nxuu Project, PLEASE READ- Mount Burgess Optimistic on Developments at Kihabe-Nxuu Project
Recently, the Company released its December 2019 Quarter results, a period wherein the key activities concerned the Nxuu Deposit. The Company has been successful in progressing with the test works at the Nxuu Deposit post encouraging STEINERT Sensor Sorter test work conducted in the September quarter.
Before understanding the recent results, let us quickly scan through the Nxuu Deposit and progresses made at this lucrative site-
The Nxuu Deposit
A shallow basin-shaped deposit, the Nxuu deposit has a maximum depth of 64 meters. It has a low risk operation potential at low cost and is ideal to achieving beneficiation within Botswana, given the feasibility for onsite metal/mineral recovery processes.
MTB affirms that significant intersections of vanadium mineralisation occurs outside of the known Lead and Zinc domains in the Nxuu deposit. It has been conducting Mineralogical and Metallurgical test works with the help of ALS Laboratories, STEINERT Australia Pty Ltd and EXXARO. These tests have confirmed the below developments-
- The presence of Vanadium at the deposit in the form of an oxide vanadate DESCLOIZITE, where the equivalent mass of Vanadium Pentoxide (V205) is 1.785 times the mass of Vanadium.
- 82 per cent of vanadium equivalent can be recovered on site from DESCLOIZITE via flotation using a Hydroxamate oxide collector for recovery to a concentrate, followed by simple hydrometallurgical procedure to produce V205.
It should be noted that V205 is used to manufacture Vanadium Redox Flow (VRF) batteries that are known to store gigawatts of power over long periods of time with little power loss. 85% of current world production is produced as a co-product during steel making, extracted from Titaniferous Magnetite deposits, mined primarily in South Africa, China, Australia and Russia.
To know more about V205 and its significance, PLEASE READ- Mount Burgess Progressing Well to be a Vanadium developer, Nxuu Deposit Demonstrates Optimistic Results
December 2019 Quarter Results
The previously reported STEINERT Sensor Sorter results validated the elimination of 45% of crushed feed over 4mm to be barren or insignificantly mineralised that resulted in only 55% required to be milled and subject to down-stream processing.
A boon for MTB, this result had guaranteed significant reduction in power requirements, low power costs, reduction in down-stream processing costs, decrease in required water consumption and decline in the environmental footprint.
The Company has now proposed a planned bulk Sensor Sorter and Multi-shaft Vertical Milling test work to determine the project’s ultimate power requirements.
Bulk Sensor Sorter test work
After the September quarter resulting in encouraging initial test work results for a bulk Sensor Sorter test work programme to be conducted by STEINERT, the December quarter was dedicated towards progressing the planned bulk Sensor Sorter test work.
MTB dedicated time in reviewing the availability of representative grade ½ HQ diamond core from the Nxuu Deposit. Around 360 kg of ½ HQ diamond core has been reportedly selected from 10 HQ diamond core holes drilled within the overall mineralised domains.
While STEINERT has provided a quote to conduct this bulk test work, NAGROM has delivered a quote for its associated sample preparation and final analysis. The overall cost of the bulk test work will be approximately $7,000.
Multishaft Vertical Milling test work
In its review for availability of representative grade core to be used for Multishaft Vertical Milling test work, MTB selected 1,200 kg of ½ HQ diamond core from 14 HQ diamond core holes drilled within the overall mineralised domains of the Nxuu Deposit.
Energy and Densification Systems (Pty) Ltd will undertake the procedure on these samples.
According to MTB, given that the Nxuu Deposit ore is so oxidised, there are good chances for the Multi-shaft Vertical milling process to be a successful one.
Its success would be a highly economic milling process and offer improved energy efficiency, reduced capital cost, smaller footprint, low weight and quick installation time and would require no civils for construction.
The power reductions, originally estimated at 20 MW, could be as low as 12 to 15 MW.
Grid Power and Solar/Hybrid Power Alternative
During the December quarter, MTB remained in discussions with the Botswana Power Corporation pertaining to the supply of grid power. It has also been in discussions with solar/hybrid power providers and has even received a proposal which includes excess solar power generation being subject to battery storage.
There is a possibility that post investigation (Sensor Sorter bulk test work success, Multi-shaft Vertical milling process success and ability to curtail Multi-shaft Vertical milling during certain night-time hours), some of these alternatives could be commercial.
The December quarter also affirmed the below pertaining to the potential future contribution of Vanadium/Vanadium Pentoxide to the Project-
- The associated (oxidised) Zn and Pb carbonates can be dissolved in Methane Sulphonic Acid (MSA), along with any calcium, copper, iron in manganese, (if present) with the Vanadium remaining in the undissolved residue for separate dissolution in sulphuric acid
- The dissolved Vanadium can then be extracted into an organic phase with an appropriate organic solvent.
However, the above processes need to be confirmed via a test work programme. If confirmed, the recovery process could be far simpler and far less expensive, relative to the current extraction process of 85 per cent of the world’s V2O5 from magnetite deposits.
MTB successfully raised $79,000 during the quarter via issue of 12 million shares at an issue price 0.25 of a cent ($30,000) and remaining $49,000 by way of an R & D tax incentive claim.
It has the potential to raise further funds by way of share placements through the issue of up to 118 million shares (66 million shares are available under Section 7.1 and 52 million shares under Section 7.1A).
The Company has also received commitments from Directors for loan funding of up to $30,000 if required.
At the end of the December 2019 quarter, MTB had Cash and cash equivalents worth $49k.
The company’s stock last traded at $0.003 on 28 January 2020 and has generated impressive YTD returns of 50%.
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