The Richmond Vanadium project lies on the Flinders Highway and Great Northern railway, 500km west of the Townsville port and 250km east of Mt Isa. The project comprises four main prospects in the Richmond and Julia Creek districts covering an area of 1,520km2.

Richmond Vanadium JV

In September 2017, Horizon completed a formal Joint Venture agreement with AXF Resources (renamed to Richmond Vanadium Technology “RVT”) over the Richmond project. RVT brings considerable technical expertise to the project and has extensive business relationships throughout Southeast Asia.

Details of the agreement with Horizon and RVT include:

  • RVT to invest A$430,000 in equity in Horizon at 12 cents per share with 1:2 option with a strike of 17 cents and expiry of 31 August 2018 (completed)
  • An earn-in Joint Venture whereby RVT can earn 25% of the project area by spending A$1 million within a one year period and maintaining the project in good standing (completed)
  • RVT to solely contribute further expenditure of A$5 million on the project area to earn a further 50% over a three year period, inclusive of the completion of a Feasibility Study on part or all of the project area
  • During the sole funding period, RVT will manage the exploration program and tenure with direction from the JV committee comprising representatives from both parties
  • Upon RVT satisfying the earn-in terms, each party will contribute to ongoing expenditure in accordance with its respective percentages

RVT has earned into the first 25% and has notified Horizon of its intent to move to the A$5 million second stage commitment which is currently underway.

The JV (75% HRZ and 25% RVT) owns 100% of five Mineral Exploration Permits (EPM25163, EPM25164, EPM25258, EPM26425 and EPM26426) covering 481 Blocks near Richmond and 100% of the metal rights to Global Oil Shale Plc’s Julia Creek (Burwood) MDL522.

The Richmond JV has a current Mineral Resource Estimate in line with JORC (2012) of:

2,579 Mt at 0.32% V2O5 and 262 g/t MoO3 at a 0.29% V2O5 lower cut-off grade

The scale of the project places it as one of the largest undeveloped vanadium resources in the world, is close to surface and remains open in all directions. Historic metallurgical testwork has demonstrated the ability to pre-concentrate and increase the processed grade of the resource to ~1% V2O5 and testwork is ongoing. The Richmond Mineral Resource is hosted in soft oxidised marine sediments as opposed to many hard rock resources around the world.

Lilyvale Prospect

Lilyvale is located 20 km northwest of the Richmond Township and in close proximity to the Flinders Highway and Great Northern Railway line. The current resource totals 671 Mt grading 0.35% V2O5 and 274 g/t MoO3 and commercially significant copper and nickel mineralisation (Figure 4). The deposit is 10-12 metres thick, up to 5 km wide, over 6 km long and is open in all directions.

The mineralisation commences 5 metres from the surface and, as with all the prospects, occurs in two different facies:

  1. Oxidised coarse limestone rich clay unit from surface to 15 metres depth where the oil has been leached out and enrichment of vanadium and other metals has occurred. Previous test work has shown that over 90% of the contained metal lies in the -38µm size fraction
  2. Fresh fine grained carbonate-clay-oil shale unit containing vanadium, molybdenum, nickel, copper and significant oil content of 65-75 litres of oil per tonne of shale
Image: Lilyvale prospect area drill hole section showing average thickness and metal grades

Initial development work will focus on the upper coquina at Lilyvale as it:

  • Is the highest grade based on the drilling to date with the mineralisation 4-5 metres from surface
  • Can be mined simply by free dig open cut mining at very low strip ratios
  • Is amenable to low cost removal of the coarse fraction via scrubbing, trommelling, screening, cycloning and potentially flotation to produce a high grade intermediate feedstock >1.5% V2O5. Metallurgical testwork is ongoing at two research Laboratories in China to further assess the potential upgrade ratios
  • Has been subject to extensive downstream processing testwork for metal extraction. Is close to road and rail infrastructure
  • Has a potential mine life of over 40 years at 10-15 Mtpa mining rate

A total of 17,500 metres drilling is planned including 10,000 metres to upgrade the current Inferred Mineral Resource of 671 Mt at 0.35% V2O5 at a 0.29% cut-off grade to the Measured and Indicated JORC categories for Ore Reserve conversion.

Based on the mineralogy study of the ore and mineral processing research, three optimal mineral processes were selected for the concentration of vanadium ore. These three options will be the technical basis for the Preliminary Feasibility Study. 

NameYield (mass%)Grade (%)Recovery Rate (%)
CaOV2O5CaOV2O5
Concentration21.87.601.584.2772.84
Tailing78.8245.810.1695.7327.16
Ore100.0037.720.46100.00100.00

Richmond Concentration test result: Option 1

The concentrate was produced into 21% of the original mass at an improved grade of 1.58% with a 72.8% recovery, in line with the target grade of >1.5% and >70% recovery. This reduced mass and improved grade enables a potentially smaller downstream processing plant at significantly reduced capital cost. In addition, the results show a much larger reduction in the calcium content than expected with only 4% reporting to the concentrate fraction. This low calcium content enables both an acid digestion and a roasting downstream processing pathway to be evaluated that can potentially lead to considerably lower operating costs.

Further optimisation work continues and downstream processing test work is also being undertaken in China. This test work will enable flowsheet design to be completed as part of the Preliminary Feasibility Study planned to commence. The study will include:

  • An updated resource model enabling compilation of Ore Reserves
  • Preliminary flow sheet design for a pre-concentration circuit and downstream processing plant options
  • Estimated production rates, capital and operating costs
  • Market analysis for product sales of 98% V2O5 flake and electrolyte for use in vanadium redox flow batteries
  • Continued discussions with all stakeholders and potential offtake partners