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Critical Minerals homes in on Lindfield vanadium

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Critical Minerals Group’s Lindfield project could provide vanadium for steel alloys like those used at The Beijing National Stadium known as the “Birds Nest”.
Camera IconCritical Minerals Group’s Lindfield project could provide vanadium for steel alloys like those used at The Beijing National Stadium known as the “Birds Nest”. Credit: File.

Critical Minerals Group has become more laser-focused in on its 100 per cent-owned Lindfield vanadium project in north-west Queensland after agreeing to shed 75 per cent of its share in two non-core assets.

Critical today revealed that its wholly-owned subsidiary CMG 1 has executed a non-binding term sheet with True North Copper, where the latter may acquire a 75 per cent interest in the Figtree Creek and Lorena Surrounds projects in Queensland. To gain that interest, True North must spend $750,000 on farm-in activities in a three-year period, with the details to be agreed upon by the two companies in due course.

As part of the deal, Critical and True North intend to form a joint venture (JV) to explore tenements within both Figtree Creek and Lorena Surrounds. True North will manage the work and Critical will reserve a 3 per cent net smelter royalty in respect to any production.

But the main focus for Critical is on Lindfield, which has been the source of a solid news flow of late. It underlines the project’s viability as a 4-million-tonne per annum vanadium mine with a molybdenum trioxide by-product and an upside of potentially producing high-purity alumina (HPA).

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Lindfield has an inferred mineral resource of 363 million tonnes at 0.43 per cent vanadium pentoxide and 4.8 per cent aluminium oxide and includes an indicated resource of 254 million tonnes at 0.44 per cent vanadium pentoxide and 4.75 per cent aluminium oxide.

We are pleased to announce our plans to work with True North Copper, a strategic partner well equipped to maximise the value of our non-core assets. As previously communicated, our primary focus at CMG is the Lindfield Vanadium Project in Queensland. Recent Scoping Studies have substantiated its strong financial viability, positioning it as a compelling mining project.

Critical Minerals Group chief executive officer Scott Winter.

The Lindfield project is near the town of Julia Creek, about 655km west of Townsville and 255km east of the mining town of Mt Isa. The project is intersected by the main infrastructure corridor of the Flinders Highway and the Great Northern Railway line and all essential services and facilities. The port of Abbot Point lies about 650km east of the project area, providing a pathway to international markets.

Earlier this month, the company released results of a scoping study for the Lindfield project, quoting a viable mine life of more than 15 years, a net present value of $510 million and a post-tax internal rate of return of 17 per cent. The study estimated direct capital costs at about $400 million to enable production of about 10,500 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide and 550 tonnes of molybdenum.

Management says the Lindfield deposit offers a shallow, higher-grade patch of 138 million tonnes grading 0.46 per cent vanadium pentoxide within the first 10m, making the ore amenable to shallow, open-pit mining.

The HPA potential of the deposit was also highlighted last month when the company signed an agreement with mineral processing technology company Lava Blue to assess the potential of a potential standalone HPA plant with a nominal production capacity of 4000 tonnes per year.

Critical says testwork completed using Lava Blue technology suggests the Lindfield ore could produce 4N HPA – which is 99.99 per cent pure alumina ­– with even more upgrading possible with minor optimisation.

Queensland has some of the richest vanadium deposits in the world, which is handy due to the metal’s role in creating batteries that can store large amounts of energy for a long time and it can also assist the State in hitting its ambitious target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

In rocks, vanadium exists in various types of minerals and requires processing to be refined into its metallic form. It can then be used in high-strength steel alloys for construction, giving buildings resistance to shock and vibration.

It can be found in Birds Nest stadium in Beijing, Wembley Stadium in London, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Freedom Tower in New York City. It also plays a role in batteries with the vanadium redox flow battery type relying heavily on the metal.

The batteries can store energy for long periods of time, be re-used and have a long lifespan of more than 20 years. They can be attached to an existing energy grid or used to store energy off-grid and are perfect for storing solar and wind energy.

In 2021, the Queensland Government committed $10 million towards a vanadium common user facility in Townsville for an industrial pilot and demonstration facility for mineral processing.

With renewed focus on Lindfield and still with a finger in the pie at Figtree Creek and Lorena Surrounds, Critical has made its intentions clear to commit to Queensland’s clean energy future.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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