Integrated primary vanadium producer and energy storage solutions provider Bushveld Minerals reports that prefeasibility and feasibility studies undertaken to assess the optimal path for increasing production at its Vametco and Vanchem operations to 8 000 t/y will require capital expenditure (capex) of about R2.3-billion.
The studies were undertaken by METC South Africa and MSA Group and were aimed at determining the next phase of the company's growth plans beyond the production run rate of between 5 000 t/y to 5 400 t/y Bushveld expects to achieve by the end of this year.
The studies have determined that a four-stage expansion would be optimal, as it would “substantially reduce” Bushveld's upfront capital requirements and allow for incremental production to be attained from each stage in order to generate additional cash flows, which can be leveraged for the next stage.
“The studies put us in a position to rapidly respond to growing vanadium demand.
“Growth in demand for vanadium is supported by rising intensity of use within high-strength, low-alloy steel, as well as the significant upside potential for vanadium redox flow batteries given the increasing requirement for energy storage applications for renewable energy sources,” Bushveld CEO Fortune Mojapelo comments.
Stage 1 of the proposed expansion will involve the installation of a semi-autogenous mill at Vametco to establish a permanent and reliable supply of feedstock for both plants in advance of further capacity expansion.
Additional ore, when required, will be supplied through the development of Bushveld’s Mokopane and Brits mines or from third-party ore.
Stage 2 will involve the refurbishment of Kiln 2 at Vanchem to increase the operation’s production to between 3 600 t/y and 3 700 t/y and the group’s production to between 6 000 t/y and 6 500 t/y.
Stage 3 will entail the refurbishment of Kiln 1 at Vanchem to increase the operation’s production to between 4 600 t/y and 4 700 t/y and group production to between 7 000 t/y and 7 500 t/y.
The final stage will result in Bushveld increasing kiln capacity at Vametco to 3 400 t/y, which will increase group production to between 7 600 t/y and 8 000 t/y.
Bushveld expects the increased volumes and operational efficiencies to result in an at least 20% reduction in costs at the Vametco and Vanchem operations.