Junior mine developer Vanadium Resources Limited (ASX:VR8) has brought on a world-leading expert to act as lead consultant to complete a scoping study towards the production at the company’s world class Steelpoortdrift vanadium project in South Africa.
Leslie John Ford has over 40 years of experience constructing, developing and producing vanadium projects and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts in the rare chemical element.
Mr Ford began his career at Highveld Steel and Vanadium’s Vanchem plant that used material from the same geological setting to that of Steelpoortdrift at its operations in Witbank in South Africa to produce steel and a suite of vanadium products.
Later in his career he was responsible, respectively as technical director and as managing director, for the development and construction of producing vanadium mines for Largo Resources in Brazil and for Vantech (formerly Xstrata, now Glencore). He was also intimately involved with the redesign of the Windimurra Vanadium plant in Australia and of Glencore’s Vantech operations in South Africa.
Upon a successful completion of the scoping study Mr Ford is also to consult for VR8 in relation to the various studies required to develop Steelpoortdrift’s Titano-Vanadium Magnetite resource up to and including the production of V2O5.
For the scoping study Mr Ford will complete the process design and costing using data from forthcoming metallurgical test work over concentrate from the 2019 reserve drilling programme at Steelpoortdrift and the reserve calculation by the company’s mining technical advisors. He will also provide the metrics to allow VR8 to complete the scoping study’s financial modelling.
The company told shareholders it expects that the test work for the scoping study will confirm that recoveries similar to its industry peers in the Bushveld Complex can be achieved.
The Steelpoortdrift mining project is the world’s largest vanadium deposit and second highest grade resource with an indicated and inferred JORC resource of 612 Mt @ 0.78% V2O5 in situ, incl. 167 Mt @ 1.07% V2O5 with an in-magnetite grade of c. 2.2% V2O5.