Studies On Rare Minerals Gear Up

AT a time the Namibian government is on full throttle to promote renewable energy and lure investment to the sector, a few foreign mining companies have started working on minerals that could be used in the manufacturing of energy storage batteries.
Last month, London technology metals mining company AfriTin announced that a lithium pilot processing plant is planned at its Uis mine in Namibia for the production of lithium.
Lithium is used in the manufacturing of ceramics as well as renewable energy batteries.
The Market Herald has also announced that Golden Deeps, an Australian company prospecting for minerals, has launched a major development study for its Abenab and Nosib battery metals projects in Namibia.
According to the Australian publication, the study will assess the potential of mining vanadium with copper, lead, zinc and silver ore from the Abenab underground resource and a maiden Nosib open-pit resource to produce gravity concentrate on site.
The high-grade concentrate from the mines will then be processed downstream at a separate facility to produce vanadium products for making vanadium redox flow batteries, as well as copper, lead, zinc and silver by-products.
Copper is used for producing electrical power lines, and vanadium can be used to manufacture rechargeable flow batteries.
These metals, including lithium from Uis, have a potentially big role in the country’s renewable energy sector.
Golden Deeps chief executive officer Jon Dugdale says the company is excited about the study.
“We see this as just the start of our integrated development strategy, that, through establishing mining and processing operations in parallel with an aggressive exploration programme, will grow our resource base and allow us to expand production from a centralised processing operation,” he says.
Golden Deeps has appointed South Africa-based company Bara Consulting to carry out the first stage, which is a scoping study.
According to the Herald, the study will integrate resource estimation with metallurgical test work and initial mining studies to provide mining, infrastructure and processing conceptual design and cost inputs for the next stage.
Stage two will be a pre-feasibility study (PFS) that will generate a fully integrated mining plan to be incorporated with cost information, and infrastructure and processing designs, to produce the PFS cash-flow model.
The PFS will establish the value and viability of developing a high-grade operation, and support a definitive feasibility study and mining lease applications.
The Namibian in February reported that Golden Deeps had returned exceptional copper, vanadium, and lead spot readings on drill core, including up to 16% copper, 3,7% vanadium, and 15,9% lead.
The company said further drilling is in progress, testing for extensions of this shallow, very high-grade copper vanadium-lead zone in an area of sub-cropping copper mineralisation to the north of the currently drilled area.
The mineralised zone has so far been tested over a 100m strike length and remains open to the north-east and south-west at the surface.
“The very successful drilling programme at Nosib continues to intersect very high-grade copper-vanadium-lead mineralisation from the oxide zone that remains open to the north-east, where drilling is continuing,” said Dugdale at the time.