A primary vanadium platform means having one of largest high-grade primary vanadium resource base and the largest primary vanadium production in the world.
Low cost means targeting the lowest cost position on the vanadium production cash cost curve, leveraging the high in-situ and in-magnetite V205 grades and the open-cast mining proposition of Bushveld Minerals’ deposits as well as access to low-cost brownfield processing infrastructure. The Company’s vanadium assets are either positioned in the first quartile or show the potential for first or second quartile cost positioning. Vametco, the Company’s flagship asset is one of the lowest cost primary producers while enjoying some of the highest grades. The Company’s strategy is for the assets to be in a position of generating cash in every phase of the commodity cycle.
A vertically integrated primary vanadium platform means development of downstream operations beyond production of end-use vanadium products to also include development and deployment of vanadium applications in the energy storage market, where Bushveld intends to manufacture vanadium electrolyte and to assemble large-scale VRFBs.
Bushveld Minerals’ large high-grade resource base and processing facilities comprise:
1. Vametco (Integrated mine and processing facility)
Vametco is a primary low-cost vanadium mining and processing operation, using the salt roast beneficiation process, with a 186 Mt JORC-compliant resource (100% basis), including 48.4 Mt in reserves (100% basis), with in-magnetite vanadium grades averaging 1.98% V2O5. The Vametco mine is an opencast mine along a strike of approximately 3.5 kilometres. Vametco produces Vanadium-Carbonitride (“VCN”), called NitrovanTM used in micro alloy production, and it is expected to commence Ferrovanadium production at the Vanchem processing facility.
Vametco is expected to produce 3,000 mtV to 3,200 mtV in 2020. After completing the 3rd Phase of its expansion project, Vametco will achieve production rate of 4,200 mtVp.a.
Brits includes prospecting rights and a mining right under application on farms adjacent to Vametco. The mineralisation is outcropping and a continuation of the Vametco deposit. Brits Maiden Mineral resource estimate contains 66.8Mt resource (100% basis) of 1.58% V2O5 in magnetite. A Competent Person’s report was published in January 2020. Brits has the potential to supply additional feed tonnage for the Vametco plant, and if required, concentrate feed for Vanchem.
3. Vanchem (Processing facility)
Vanchem is a primary low-cost vanadium processing facility. It uses the salt roast beneficiation process and is currently producing about 80 mtV per month (approximately 960 mtVp.a.) using a single kiln. Steady state production of more than 4,200 mtVp.a. from all three kilns will be achieved when a five-year refurbishment programme is completed. The total capital required for this refurbishment is in the order of US$45 million. The plant has three roasting kilns, beneficiation plants, a vanadium chemical facility, an electric smelting ferrovanadium converter and an alumino-thermic smelting facility. Vanchem is capable of producing various vanadium oxides, ferrovanadium and vanadium chemicals.
Mokopane is one of the world’s largest primary vanadium resources, with a 298 Mt JORC-compliant resource (100% basis) including 28.5 Mt in reserves (100% basis) and a weighted average grade of 1.41% V2O5 in-situ and 1.75% V2O5 in magnetite. Mokopane is intended to become a primary source of feedstock for Vanchem. The Mokopane-Vanchem model will create a fully integrated business in a shorter timeline and with reduced costs. Other options include supplying ore to other primary or secondary producers worldwide. The long-term plan remains to develop Mokopane into a standalone integrated mine and processing plant.