Currently focused on the development of the Kihabe - Nxuu Zinc/Lead/Silver/Germanium and Vanadium Project in Botswana, Mount Burgess Mining NL (ASX: MTB) is well-known for its previous discoveries of the Red October Gold Deposit in WA and three kimberlites in Namibia.
MTB’s Chairman and a major shareholder, Mr Nigel Forrester has addressed the directors and shareholders highlighting major project developments.
Kihabe – Nxuu Project
Located in Western Ngamiland (Botswana), the Kihabe – Nxuu Project is 100% owned by MTB. The Company’s intention is to initially concentrate on developing the totally oxidised polymetallic Nxuu Deposit, with the following attributes:
- Shallow basin-shaped deposit with a maximum depth of 64 meters;
- Potential low-cost and low-risk operation;
- Potential for onsite metal/mineral recovery processes to be applied;
- Advancing well with the beneficiation within Botswana.
Vanadium Pentoxide Production- MTB’s Unique Stance
The historical and recent drilling has shown that significant Vanadium assay results have been obtained from the Kihabe and Nxuu Deposits, as well as the Gossan Anomaly.
Currently, 85% of the global production of Vanadium Pentoxide (V2O5) is generated as a co-product during steel making, extracted from Titaniferous Magnetite deposits (found in Australia, China, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Sweden and Finland, to name a few) in a strenuous and costly process.
V2O5 is an inorganic compound, known for its high oxidation state, a characteristic that makes it both an amphoteric oxide and an oxidizing agent. It forms a significant compound of vanadium and finds industry use as a catalyst for alloys.
Most of the world’s V2O5 is extracted from magnetite deposits after smelting and extracting the iron from the magnetite. This requires the slag to be heated in large furnaces to anything between 850 to + 1,000oC, which then requires salt roasting to extract the V2O5.
However, MTB has a simple production process of V2O5 from Nxuu Deposit, without requiring to go through the strenuous and costly process for extracting V2O5 from magnetite deposits. Because MTB’s V2O5 is in the OXIDE mineral DESCLOIZITE, it can be collected in a flotation concentrate, then extracted through the much simpler hydrometallurgical process.
To know more about the simple production process of V2O5 from the Nxuu Deposit, READ HERE.
Mineralogical and Metallurgical Test Work
Eyeing on Vanadium’s potential future demand for energy storage in Vanadium Redox Flow batteries, MTB dedicated significant time in 2019 on mineralogical and metallurgical test work on the Nxuu Deposit Vanadium samples. ALS Metallurgy Pty Ltd conducted these tests and inferred the following:
- The Vanadium is hosted in the oxide vanadate DESCLOIZITE, where the mass of Vanadium Pentoxide is 1.785 times the mass of Vanadium;
- 82% of V2O5 equivalent can be recovered on site from DESCLOIZITE through flotation using a Hydroxamate oxide collector for recovery to a concentrate. This can then be followed by simple hydrometallurgical steps to produce V2O5.
Mr Nigel Forrester believes that significant intersections of V2O5 mineralisation occur outside of the known Zinc and Lead domains, which will be integral to the overall mineralised widths within the Nxuu Deposit.
MTB’s Focus and STEINERT Results
The Company stresses on reducing power requirements, and further metallurgical test work was conducted on the Nxuu Deposit by EXXARO and STEINERT Australia Pty Ltd for the same.
EXXARO conducted Ultra Fine Dense Media Separation test work and STEINERT conducted Sensor Sorter test work on ore, after crushing but before milling.
Two test work regimes were conducted by STEINERT on the +4mm size fraction of crushed quartz wacke, the host of mineralisation. The Sensor Sorter test utilises the process of an X-ray transmission sensor to measure the atomic density in conjunction with a 3D laser sensor to assess the particle height to target dense areas of mineralisation. The test demonstrated the following promising results:
- 45% was separated and rejected as being insignificantly mineralised;
- Merely 55% of a higher-grade concentrate was required for milling and downstream treatment.
With milling consuming the maximum power in the treatment process, the Sensor Sorter process is expected to result in significant reduction in:
- power requirements and power costs;
- capital and downstream treatment costs,
- water consumption and the Project’s environmental footprint.
MTB’s Bright Outlook
The Company believes that it will have to rely on generating its own power for the Project and therefore aims to evaluate the power requirements.
Moreover, it plans to conduct bulk test work through STEINERT’S Sensor Sorter process to verify the bench scale test work results and look into the Vertical milling process. This process, if effective, could result in further significant reduction in power requirements.
Mr Forrester believes that vertical milling can require merely 25% of the power required for traditional ball milling.
MTB continues to communicate with the Botswana Power Corporation to upgrade the grid power to Western Ngamiland and assess the commerciality of constructing a link line from Gumare to the Project. It is also in dialogue with companies that provide solar hybrid power solutions.
Post power option verification and commercial advancement, and on completion of ~2,500m of diamond core drilling at the Nxuu Deposit, which is subject to funding, it should then be able to quote a Mineral Resource compliant with the 2012 JORC Code and progress to a Pre-Feasibility Study and Definitive Feasibility Study.
Prospecting Licence PL 43/2016 was renewed in November 2018 for a further two years to 31 December 2020 (with a right to renew to 31 December 2022). The renewal (over the whole 1,000 sq km of the original licence area) allows MTB to process further discoveries outside of the currently known mineralised domains.
Maintaining its strong stance, MTB is only showing Kihabe - Nxuu project capex on its Balance Sheet amounting to $1.52 million. It wrote off $14.8 million of capex in 2013, and till date, none of this resource development expenditure has been recapitalised.
With further loan funding extended by the Board, MTB does seem to be on a growth trajectory.
MTB last traded on 26 November 2019 at $0.003.
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