Ferro-Alloy Expects Results Of Expanded Feasibility Study In Last Quarter Of 2022

Ferro-Alloy Resources Ltd (LSE:FAR) has updated on the progress of its expanded feasibility study for the large Balasausqandiq vanadium deposit in southern Kazakhastan.
Ferro-Alloy is currently well advanced in the workstreams necessary to produce a bankable study. Following the investments by Vision Blue Resources during 2021, the decision has been taken to expand the scope of the study to include the first phase of development, known as Phase 1, and a follow-up phase, Phase 2.
Phase 1 envisages the treatment of one million tonnes of ore per year to produce 5,600 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide, and Phase 2 envisages an expansion to four million tonnes per year with production rising to 22,400 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide.
Ferro-Alloy has commissioned SRK Consulting (Kazakhstan) Limited to produce the overall feasibility study, with the metallurgy and process plant being covered by Tetra Tech (NASDAQ:TTEK) Inc.
The results of the feasibility study are expected during the last quarter of 2022.
A considerable body of work has been undertaken in previous studies, including the establishing of JORC reserves at one of the five ore-bodies amounting to 23 million tonnes, and the operation of a test plant at which the proposed process was developed and tested at pilot and commercial scales.
Balasausqandiq is unusual in being a sedimentary deposit comprised of black shales which are treatable at far lower-cost than other ores.
 The former test-plant is currently operating on a commercial basis to produce vanadium, molybdenum and nickel concentrates from bought-in secondary raw-materials.
More drilling will also be undertaken to work towards a wider resource base to provide ore for the phase 2 expansion.
The core-drilling rigs have now arrived on site and first drilling started on 23 November 2021. An initial programme of 6,000 metres will be carried out after which the requirements for the remainder of the programme, likely to be between 2,000 and 4,000 metres, can be re-assessed.
The reverse circulation contract provides for an expected start-date of 1 February 2022. The initial programme is for 9,000 metres. After assessment, a decision will be taken on how much further drilling of up to around 5,000 metres is required. It is currently expected that the RC drilling will be completed towards the end of the first quarter 2022.
Meanwhile, as part of the feasibility study, a comprehensive metallurgical test work program has been implemented at SGS – Canada (Lakefield).
Initial batch testing has been completed and the results were in line with historical data from the Company.
As part of the process of leaching the vanadium, uranium, molybdenum, aluminium, potassium and rare-earth elements are also recovered into solution. Recovery from the leach solution is carried out by a three-stage sorption process in which uranium and molybdenum are recovered in the first, vanadium in the second and rare-earth elements can possibly be recovered in the third.
The aluminium and potassium can be precipitated from the solutions as potassium alum.
Potentially a key by-product, carbon, is contained in the tailings and comprises a form of carbon similar in physical and chemical form to carbon black which is usually made by burning oil or gas.
The company has previously successfully tested two potential uses for this product; the first as a filler for making rubber and the second for smelting to make ferro-silicon.  Two test-programmes have now been started to examine these options in more depth.
“Balasausqandiq benefits from a combination of low capital and operating costs, access to infrastructure, an advantageous location and huge scale,” said Ferro-Alloy Resources chief executive Nick Bridgen.
“World demand for vanadium is growing as more vanadium flow-batteries to store renewable energy are being built and vanadium in its traditional use as an alloy of steel is needed to cut down on CO2 used in steel production. Through its ability to supply large quantities of vanadium at low cost, Balasausqandiq is destined to play an essential part in the reversal of global warming.”