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P-Q Iron Ore and Titanium Project

Project Summary

The Bushveld P-Q Iron and Titanium Project (”P-Q Project”) is a multi-commodity project located 45km north-northwest of Mokopane town in Limpopo province, South Africa. The project hosts a JORC-compliant 939Mt vanadiferous titano-magnetite deposit (the P-Q VTM deposit) contained in a layered ore body of average 45m thickness, along a strike of ~8km and dipping at 18-22° to the west.

The resource, with average grades of 33%Fe, 11%TiO2 and 0.19%V2O5, can be beneficiated by simple magnetic separation to produce a concentrate grading 55% Fe, 19.5% TiO2, 0.33% V2O5, with >85% recoveries. It also consists of high-grade zones of up to 20m with average grades of 40% Fe, 15% TiO2 which can be upgraded to 50% Fe 18.5% TiO2 with dense-media separation on a 6mm grind fraction. A key attraction of the deposit is the high TiO2 grade of its concentrate, which creates scope for economic extraction of TiO2 from a high TiO2 grading slag after smelting. Test-work and modelling work conducted on the ore showed scope for a >50% TiO2 slag.

A scoping study completed in April 2013, premised on a 5 Mtpa ROM operation to produce 2.2 Mtpa concentrate grading 55% Fe, 19.5% TiO2, 0.33% V2O5, demonstrated robust economics on the back of a US$126m capex spend.

Immediately overlying the iron ore and titanium resource is a distinct JORC-compliant 442Mt apatite resource grading an average 3.6% P2O5, upgradeable to a 37% P2O5 concentrate with 53% recoveries. A scoping study on the phosphate resource is in progress.


Project Location

The P-Q Iron and Titanium Project is based on prospecting licence 95PR, covering six farms with a total area of ~11,937 hectares. Geologically, the project is located in the central portion of the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex. The identified strike of the P-Q mineralisation extends for more than 12km, and also includes the eastern portions of prospecting licence 2205PR (located to the south of licence 95PR and 74%-owned by Bushveld Minerals), which covers the area being prospected as part of the company's Mokopane Tin Project.

PQ Project location


Geology and Resource

The P-Q Iron and Titanium Project comprises a 939Mt JORC-compliant Ti-magnetite resource, which occurs in the Upper Zone of the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex. The P-Q Zone occurs near the top of the Upper Zone, and consists of six individual stratigraphic layers with variable (disseminated to massive) Ti-magnetite enrichment, and a leucogabbronorite parting with a low Ti-magnetite content. The subdivision of the P-Q Zone is shown in the figure below. The Q2 and PMAG layers are generally more massive, whilst the Q1, Q3 and PFWDISS layers contain more disseminated magnetite.

 

Stratigraphic units

Figure – Stratigraphic units in the P-Q Zone

The P-Q Zone was intersected in 28 boreholes. Shallow and deep strike sections along the P-Q Zone show the lateral continuity of each unit over >5 km, and down dip to >400 m depth. The entire P-Q Zone, including the P and Q Layers has an average true width of approximately 50 m (after correction for a dip of 22°).

 

Strike and Cross

Figure – Strike and cross sections through the P-Q Zone, showing the lateral and down-dip continuity of the stratigraphic units. Upper diagram: Shallow strike section; Middle diagram: Deeper strike section; Lower diagram: Cross section. Note that thicknesses are shown relative to the hanging wall marker (HWM) of the P-Q Zone.

The company announced in January and March, 2014, its discovery of consistent phosphate intersections for a zone above the P-Q Deposit's iron ore layer. Significantly, this phosphate zone, while overlying it, is distinct from and does not interfere with the P-Q Deposit mineralisation. This discovery saw phosphate added to the iron, titanium and vanadium already under economic evaluation at the project. Bushveld followed up its initial discovery with further assaying of drilling results which confirmed the continuity and robustness of the phosphate zone (reported 19 March 2014). The Company also completed more detailed metallurgical testwork (reported 12 February 2014 and 7 May 2014) which confirmed the scope to produce a premium 37.9% P2O5 concentrate with >50% recoveries. The JORC Mineral Resource is based on the prospecting right 95 PR.


Mineral Resource

Combined MML Indicated Mineral Resources

Table – Combined Inferred and Indicated mineral resources for the P-Q Zone

A summary of the phosphate tonnage and grade estimates per farm is presented below:

summary of the phosphate

Table – Total Inferred mineral resources for the Phosphate Zone


Metallurgy

As the P-Q Zone hosts Ti-magnetite resources with an exceptionally high TiO2 content, the focus of the metallurgical characterisation work was to develop a process flow diagram that extracted this titanium, in addition to iron and vanadium. Two areas of focus were considered: extractive metallurgy and pyro-metallurgy. Extractive metallurgy centred on pre-concentration using dense-media separation and the alternatives of magnetic and low-intensity magnetic separation. Pyro-metallurgical testing of the concentrate examined pre-reduction potential of fine and coarse particles as well as fluxed and unfluxed smelting. Unfluxed smelting was essayed to target a high- TiO2 slag. The results of these tests indicate that slags containing in excess of 60% TiO2 can be produced from the current concentrates, while still retaining desirable handling properties. This grade could be further improved by using higher-grade feed, which could be achieved through optimization of previous beneficiation steps.

The company also completed more detailed metallurgical test work on the phosphate zone overlying the P-Q deposit (reported 12 February 2014 and 7 May 2014) which confirmed the scope to produce a premium 37.9% P2O5 concentrate with >50% recoveries. The JORC-compliant Mineral Resource is based on the prospecting right 95 PR.


Infrastructure

The P-Q Iron & Titanium Project is well serviced with bulk commodity infrastructure available.

Vanadium location infrastructure



Project Economics

A scoping study for the P-Q Iron and Titanium Project was completed in April 2013 and demonstrated robust economics. The scoping study was premised on a concentrate product to be sold to steel mills with capabilities for extracting the iron and titanium. These are typically electric arc/DC furnace operations or blast furnace and electric arc furnace operations. The scoping study was undertaken on the P-Q Zone only and covered only 12% of the then total JORC resource of 718Mt. The resource has since been upgraded with the addition of 220Mt along-strike extensions to the south for a total resource of 939Mt


Project Development Path

The P-Q project’s key attributes are a combination of a high titanium in magnetite grade, a robust high-grade zone of more than 15m in thickness and an overlying apatite, phosphate zone. The company’s development approach for the project is one that seeks to realise value from as many of the constituent commodities as possible – targeting titanium, iron and phosphate. This includes:

  • Completing a scoping study to determine the economics associated with the phosphate resource

  • Developing processing flow sheet options with modest capex requirements