VHM continues to de-risk its Goschen rare earths and mineral sands project in Victoria, with the asset bolstered by the emergence of a new deposit called Cannie.
The company announced its maiden resource estimate for Cannie on Tuesday, revealing a project with an inferred resource of 192 million tonnes (Mt) at 3.1 per cent total heavy mineral (THM) grade. This boosts VHM’s total resource inventory by 30 per cent to 820Mt.
Cannie has added 176,000 tonnes of rare earths, 1.4Mt of zircon, 0.9Mt of rutile and 1.4Mt of leucoxene to VHM’s mineral inventory, which now boasts 5.1Mt of total zircon, 2.7Mt of total rutile and 2.9Mt of total leucoxene.
VHM’s total rare earths inventory has increased from 413,000 tonnes to 589,000 tonnes with the addition of Cannie.
The company used 38 drill holes for the Cannie inferred resource estimate, with results pending from a further 104 holes at Cannie.
VHM said it has enough understanding of the Goschen and Cannie projects, as well as another deposit called Nowie, to confirm it is building a new critical minerals province in northern Victoria, which stretches over 55km along the western flank of the Lake Boga granite.
The unique geology of the Lake Boga granite, where the minerals are hosted in sand, lends itself to conventional processing, delivering high-purity products with excellent recoveries and lower costs overall.
VHM managing director Graham Howard explained in more detail.
“The Lake Boga granite formed an island when the Murray Basin had an inland sea,” he told Australian Resources & Investment.
“It basically eroded the rare earths from the island and concentrated the rare earths with zircon and titanium in a series of sand-hosted deposits on the flanks of the granite and that’s why they’re only about 30 metres deep.
“If it was a hard rock rare earths project, typically you would have a drill and blast operation, the rock would be crushed, and then put through a comminution circuit where it is grinded and turned into sand.
“The sand unfortunately has all that gangue minerals around the rare earths. So even though you’ve turned it into sand, you still have this huge energy and capital equation to create the product.
“The beauty about this project is the sea has done all the work, so we remove all that step and the sea has concentrated the rare earths into horizons which can be economically mined using conventional mining.”
The grade profile and tonnage of the Cannie inferred resource has enabled VHM to commence engineering evaluations for a second project south of the flagship Goschen project.
VHM said it remains on track to deliver to its timeline of commencing production in 2025.
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