PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Neometals has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with titanium slag producer Jiuxing Titanium Materials over the Barrambie titanium/vanadium project, in Western Australia.
The project has previously been granted a mining proposal for a 1.2-million-tonne-a-year operation and Ministerial approval for the construction of a 3.2-million-tonne-a-year processing plant.
Previous feasibility work had found that Barrambie could produce some 6 337 t/y of ferrovanadium over a mine life of 15 years, based on a mineral resource of 280-million tonnes and an ore reserve of 39.9-million tonnes.
Under the terms of the MoU with Jiuxing, Neometals will supply a mixed gravity concentrate or separate ilmenite and iron vanadium concentrate to the offtaker. The company will mine a bulk sample from Barrambie and deliver some 100 t of mixed concentrate to Jiuxing for commercial-scale batch smelting in the December quarter.
Neometals will also downstream-process mixed concentrates to produce separate ilmenite and iron-vanadium concentrates to advance potential customer relationships for the balance of planned production.
Following satisfactory testing, the parties will negotiate the formal offtake for the supply of 800 000 t/y of mixed gravity concentrate or 500 000 t/y of ilmenite and 275 000 t/y of iron-vanadium concentrate, on a take-or-pay basis for a five-year period, from first production.
Neometals said on Friday that a binding offtake agreement would likely be inked by the first quarter of 2022.
“This MoU is an exciting milestone for Neometals and the Barrambie project. It validates our long-held belief in the shift by the Chinese titanium pigment industry to the more environmentally friendly chloride processes, requisite step-change in demand for chloride-grade titanium slag and the ability of Barrambie to help meet these supply needs," said Neometals MD Chris Reed.
“In parallel, we continue to advance our early contractor engagement process to ensure Barrambie can be expeditiously brought into production.”