Vametco is an integrated mining and processing plant located 8 km northeast of Brits in the North West Province of South Africa. The operation owns the new order mining rights for vanadium and other associated minerals over Portion 1 of the farm Uitvalgrond 431 JQ and Portion 1 of the farm Krokodilkraal 426 JQ in Brits. Vametco operates an open pit mine supplying ore to a vanadium processing plant located on the same properties. Vametco employs a total of 472 employees and contractors.
Vametco’s open pit mine is approximately 3.54 km long, extending in a west-east direction. The ore body is well-defined, continuous and dips in a north-northeast direction at approximately 19 to 20 degrees. The mine is based on a JORC compliant resource of 186.7 Mt, including 48.4 Mt reserves with in-magnetite vanadium grades averaging 2.02 % V2O5. Bushveld Minerals is targeting to grow production to a sustainable level of 4,200mtVp.a. in the medium term.
Vametco’s processing plant receives ore from the co-located Vametco mine. Vametco employs the standard salt roast and leach process to produce a VCN product called Nitrovan™. The process involves the following stages:
- Step 1: Crushing, milling and magnetic separation to produce a magnetite concentrate with average grades of approximately 2% V2O5 in magnetite
- Step 2: Salt-roasting the concentrate, where the concentrate is roasted with sodium salts in a kiln at approximately 1,150oC to form a water-soluble sodium vanadates material;
- Step 3: Leaching and purification, with dissolution of roasted vanadium concentrate in water, purification and precipitation of vanadium through the addition of ammonium sulphate followed by drying and then processing in a reducing environment to produce an MVO product; and
- Step 4: Nitrovan™ production: the MVO is briquetted and fed into a shaft induction furnace in a nitrogen atmosphere to produce Nitrovan™, a trademark vanadium product used in the steel industry.
- Vametco is expected to commence production of ferrovanadium at the Vanchem processing facility.