Macmahon Holdings has announced it has finalised its load-and-haul services contract with Talison Lithium for the Greenbushes lithium project.

IGO increases presence in Greenbushes

IGO has entered a farm-in and joint venture (JV) with Venus Metals to progressively acquire up to a 70 per cent interest in the Bridgetown Greenbushes Exploration Project in Western Australia. Read more

Rox Resources happy to say Grace

More high grade gold results have been registered at the Grace deposit within the Youanmi Gold Project near Mt Magnet, Western Australia, owned by Rox Resources in conjunction with joint venture partner Venus Metals Corporation. Read more

Lepidico halts lithium pilot plant operations during ramp up

Lepidico has suspended its lithium pilot plant shortly after launching leach discharge filter operations yesterday.

The temporary suspension on Thursday evening was blamed on the “degradation of the filter cloths”.

Subsequent engagement with the filter original equipment manufacturer (OEM) revealed that nylon, rather than the specified polypropylene filter cloth, had been supplied.

Alternative filtration equipment on-site is being used in the interim to allow pilot plant commissioning on concentrate feed to advance to the point where the next filter downstream is required.

Kalium anticipates pilot plant operations to resume normally within 24 hours of receiving the replacement parts, which was expected to be provided “under a matter of urgency”.

Lepidico’s start of the ramp up for its first operating campaign has also reported first concentrate from its pilot plant leach circuit.

The company is targeting to achieve a continuous operation of 15 kilograms of concentrate feed every hour within two weeks’ time.

Lepidico started wet commissioning of the final pieces of mechanical equipment on June 19 when its generator power came online.

The final lithium carbonate process stage will come on stream, with sulphate of potash fertiliser production scheduled to commence in July.

Lepidico uses a metallurgical process that produces lithium carbonate from non-conventional sources, specifically lithium-rich mica minerals.

The company is conducting a feasibility study for a 5000 tonne a year phase one lithium chemical plant, targeting commercial production for 2021.

Lepidico has also advanced its planned acquisition of Namibia-based lithium development company Desert Lion Energy, with shareholders of the target company approving Lepidico’s acquisition of all Desert Lion’s outstanding shares.

Desert Lion shareholders will receive 5.4 Lepidico shares for each common share of Desert Lion held.

The transaction is expected to complete in mid-July, subject to court and regulatory approvals.

Lepidico’s exploration assets include a farm-in agreement with Venus Metals over the lithium mineral rights at the Youanmi lithium project in Western Australia.

Australian Vanadium locks in funding as metal value strengthens

Australian Vanadium has secured $3 million through a share placement to fund activities at its flagship Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia.

The company reached an agreement with two institutional investors for the placement of 75 million shares at 4 cents each to raise the funds.

Australian Vanadium plans to use the funds to complete a pre-feasibility study at Gabanintha, and for working capital.

Managing director Vincent Algar welcomed the institutional investor interest in the company.

“The placement puts the company in a strong financial position moving forward and attracting institutional investors further confirms the strength of the company’s plans and demonstrates confidence in its management,” the company said in an ASX announcement.

Australian Vanadium is one of many companies with vanadium assets on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) enjoying buoyant market conditions for the metal, the key ingredient used for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.

Vanadium has been a top performing battery metal so far in 2018, continuing the significant rise it experienced last year, with this year’s price increase outdoing the likes of lithium.

Earlier this week, prices for 98 per cent V205 vanadium pentoxide flake were fetching $US15.60/lb in China and $US15.85/lb in Europe. At the start of 2017 vanadium was trading at around $US3.50/lb.

Other ASX-listed companies advancing vanadium projects include King River Copper, Tando Resources, Technology Metals Australia, TNG, Atlantic, Neometals and Venus Metals Corp.

Also today, King River retracted an ASX announcement with a concept study update for its Speewah vanadium project in the East Kimberley of Western Australia.

The April 10 announcement stated that King River “aims to be a producer of 12,000t per annum of high purity vanadium pentoxide, 75,000–90,000t per annum of titanium dioxide and 300,000–400,000t per annum of iron oxide (hematite) in three to four years.”

However, the ASX queried the statement as aspirational and not in full compliance with JORC Code requirements, forcing King River to retract the announcement.

Tando, meanwhile, is a relatively new entrant to the vanadium sector, having secured a deal to acquire a 74 per cent stake in the SPD vanadium project in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa last month.

The SPD project recently excited analysts during a site visit, with its high-grade nature and proximity to existing infrastructure making it a standout amongst vanadium prosects.

Tando is also targeting the emerging market for Redox Flow Batteries, which are recognised for their longer lifespan than most current batteries, for being able to hold charge for up to 12 months, and their scalability.

Vanadium may not yet receive the same level of exposure as lithium or cobalt, but as Algar commented this month, the metal possibly only needs an influence like Elon Musk to achieve this.

Mt Marion delivers first lithium shipment to China

Mineral Resources’ Mt Marion joint venture project in the Western Australian Goldfields, sent its first lithium concentrate shipment to China on Tuesday.

The 15,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate were loaded onto the MV Pacific Venus at the Port of Kwinana, heading to the China’s Zhenjiang port, to be delivered to Ganfeng Lithium.

Mineral Resources and Ganfeng Lithium both own a 43 per cent stake in the Mt Marion project, with Neometals owning the remaining share.

The shipment follows the project’s successful commissioning and ramp up of production, set to produce 400,000tpa at full capacity.

Neometals managing director Chris Reed said the project’s first shipment was a milestone for its company and partners.

Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison said the inaugural shipment from the project “is the outcome of hard work and dedication by the construction and operations teams of MRL (Mineral Resources)”.

“I also congratulate our Mt Marion partners on this important project milestone and thank them for their continued trust and support,” Ellison added.