PERTH ( – A revised definitive feasibility study (DFS) into the Barrambie vanadium/titanium/magnetite project, has confirmed a vanadium production pathway, with owner Neometals now hoping to focus on extracting value from the titanium resource.

The revised DFS estimated that Barrambie, in Western Australia, could produce some 6 337 t/y of ferrovanadium over a mine life of 15 years, based on a mineral resource of 280-million tonnes and an ore reserve of 39.9-million tonnes.

The project is expected to require a capital investment of some A$692-million and will have operating costs of $26.27/kg of vanadium in ferrovanadium, and a pay-back period of just over five years.

The revised DFS compared to the 2009 DFS which estimated a capital cost of A$628.9-million to develop the 3.2-million-tonne-a-year operation, delivering some 7 700 t/y of ferrovanadium over a mine life of 12 years.

The revised DFS estimated a post-tax net present value of A$199-million and an internal rate of return of 15%.

Neometals on Wednesday said that the next step for the project would be to determine how best to extract value from titanium, which represented around 95% of the contained Barrambie resource metal.

The company has started pilot-scale evaluation of conventional hydrometallurgical flowsheets to recover titanium and vanadium from the titanium-rich Eastern Band, with the pilot work to provide data to upgrade the accuracy of a 2015 prefeasiblity study to DFS standards, and to determine the optimal flowsheet to process the ‘whole of deposit’, before starting front-end engineering and design studies.