Technology Metals Up As Test-work Confirms High-value Titanium By-product From Yarrabubba Iron-vanadium Project

Tests on non-magnetic tails from two large samples of fresh massive magnetite composites have confirmed a quality Yarrabubba Ilmenite Product with low levels of a range of deleterious elements.

Technology Metals Australia Ltd - Technology Metals Australia test work confirms titanium by-product from Yarrabubba Iron-Vanadium Project
Gravity Separation Table with the dark, heavy material concentrated to the left containing titanium feed.

Technology Metals Australia Ltd (ASX:TMT) (FRA:TN6) is trading higher after industry experts confirmed the scope to generate additional revenue by way of a high-value titanium by-product from the Yarrabubba Iron-Vanadium Project in Western Australia.

The company is encouraged by the results of test-work on the tails stream of the magnetic concentrate which generated a Yarrabubba Ilmenite (titanium) Product (YIP1).

Two large sample masses of fresh massive magnetite composites from the Yarrabubba Iron-Vanadium Project were tested.

Independent assessment

Simple gravity separation followed by magnetic separation (WHIMS) confirmed the opportunity to produce a titanium by-product containing 46 to 47% (YIP1) titanium dioxide.

Assessment by independent titanium industry leading consultants TZMI confirms YIP1 as an attractive blend feedstock for sulphate pigment producers due to its low levels of generally common deleterious elements, including very low iron oxide.

The YIP1 revenue is expected to contribute positively to the Yarrabubba DFS outcome, adding to the iron–vanadium revenue stream.

Shares have been as much as 11% higher to 41 cents intra-day with TMT’s market capitalisation sitting at approximately $55.6 million.

“Unique by-product opportunity”

TMT managing director Ian Prentice said: “Confirmation of the ability to produce an attractive titanium by-product at Yarrabubba, as confirmed by industry leading consultants TZMI, in a period of high demand further underscores the unique opportunity we have with the range of products anticipated to be generated from Yarrabubba.

“The titanium by-product produced from the tails stream indicates that this should be a very low cost and potentially very profitable product.”

Optimising product and flowsheet

Test-work is continuing to optimise the Yarrabubba titanium by-product and refine the flowsheet for the titanium separation circuit.

The non-magnetic tails stream contains elevated base metals, cobalt, copper and nickel.

Sighter flotation test-work has been completed on a range of composite 2 cleaner table gravity concentrates, indicating the potential to remove between 57.5 and 97.7% of the sulphur from these concentrates without significant titanium dioxide loss (0.2 to 0.8%).

The titanium-rich tails stream from the flotation circuit has been put through WHIMS to produce a final coarse titanium product – with assays pending.

Yarrabubba metallurgical test-work flowsheet and mass balance.

YIP1 ilmenite product pricing

TZMI determined that the YIP1 ilmenite product has a titanium content typical of hard rock ilmenite deposits and falls within the typical range of commercial sulphate ilmenite for sulphate pigment manufacture.

It indicated that the iron oxide, phosphorus pentoxide, silicon dioxide and uranium+thorium contents are generally well below comparable products and would be considered favourably by some customers, particularly the very low iron oxide.

TZMI noted the elevated chromium oxide and vanadium oxide content, which somewhat offset the low levels of other impurities, indicating that YIP1 would be suitable as a blending feedstock for sulphate pigment manufacture, complementing ilmenite feedstock with elevated iron oxide.

Most sulphate pigment producers do not rely on a single feedstock product, instead taking in a blend of feedstocks, which provides an opportunity for YIP1 to be an attractive blend feedstock due its low levels of generally common deleterious elements.

On this basis TZMI estimates that YIP1 will achieve a price of US$140 to US$180/tonne FOB (real 2020 dollars) in the medium term, taking into consideration the elevated chromium oxide and vanadium oxide content that may be present, offset by the very low iron oxide.

TZMI believes that the saleability of the YIP1 product will not be an issue for indicative volumes of 150,000 to 250,000 tonnes per annum, with global consumption of sulphate ilmenite into the sulphate pigment market in 2020 estimated at 3.6 million titanium dioxide units (or around 7.5 million tonnes).

Chinese target market

The assessment of the YIP1 ilmenite product completed by TZMI indicates that China would be the preferential market for the product given its large scale of sulphate pigment production, with sulphate ilmenite demand for sulphate pigment end-use estimated at 2.9 million titanium dioxide units in 2020.

Target customers are the large pigment producers along the Chinese eastern seaboard who currently use a blend of domestic Chinese ilmenite and imported ilmenite feedstock.

The YIP1 ilmenite product is considered an ideal blend feedstock for some of these pigment producers and representative samples of the Yarrabubba titanium by-product will be provided to a range of prospective customers (when available) to facilitate the commencement of discussions regarding product offtake.