TNG Limited could lower mining costs at Mount Peake in the Northern Territory by initially focussing on two higher grade vanadium pits.

TNG Limited’s front-end engineering and design, or “FEED”, optimisation work has flagged the potential to reduce mining costs and costs associated with waste haulage of tailings at the flagship Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron mine in the Northern Territory.

This cost reduction was outlined in a revised mine schedule that forecast the potential to lower ore mining and processing rates while delivering the same targeted magnetite concentrate quality and volume by focussing on two higher-grade vanadium pits during the first 10 years of mining.

Management said the ongoing FEED work would verify the potential operational and financial impact of the revised mine schedule, including the impact of reductions in ore mining and processing rates on plant equipment sizing.

FEED work has also verified the company’s belief that it can produce a high-value iron oxide product grading over 64% iron with low impurities, as one of three product streams from Mount Peake.

The final product route, including a decision on the production of fines or pellets versus the potential benefits of producing pig-iron, will be confirmed during the FEED study in consultation with the company’s off-take partners.

Additionally, the beneficiation plant flowsheet has been finalised by Como Engineers with a focus on sustainability and automation.

The plant will use proven technologies to ensure magnetite concentrate production and quality targets are achieved to deliver a consistent feedstock to the company’s processing plant located in Darwin.

TNG has also started a short diamond drilling program at Mount Peake to deliver samples for pre-development engineering and optimisation work under the FEED study.

Data from this program will consolidate the mine schedule and ensure that the beneficiation plant can withstand variability in the ore delivered.

Equipment selection test work is currently progressing in Germany using a consignment of magnetite concentrate delivered in July.

Managing Director Paul Burton said: “We are delighted that the optimisation work completed so far has demonstrated the potential benefits of a project focussed on higher-grade vanadium zones within the resource over the first 10 years.”

“The proposed revised mine schedule may represent a technically and logistically simpler and more streamlined mining operation, potentially making the project simpler to finance.”

“We are also very pleased with the confirmation of TNG’s premium iron ore product strategy as it will enable the company to capitalise on the recent growing focus on premium quality magnetite concentrate driven by the Chinese steel industry.”

Mount Peake is located about 235 kilometres north of Alice Springs.

Mount Peake has an ore reserve of 41.1 million tonnes grading 0.42% vanadium pentoxide, 7.99% titanium dioxide and 28% iron.

Ore from the project will be processed using the company’s proprietary TIVAN process to produce 243,000 tonnes of high-purity vanadium pentoxide, 3.5 million tonnes of titanium dioxide pigment and 10.6 million tonnes of high-grade iron oxide during the initial 19-year mine life.

TIVAN is a method for treating ore without the need for expensive, energy-intensive roasting.

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