An updated scoping study for King River Copper’s Speewah vanadium-titanium-iron project has revealed its massive capital cost range of AU$2 billion to AU$2.5 billion.
Speewah, located 110 kilometres southwest of Kununurra in Western Australia, is comprised of 3 deposits: Central, Buckman and Red Hill. Its measured, indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate across the 3 deposits consists of 4.7 billion tonnes at 0.3 percent vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), 2 percent titanium and 14.7 percent iron, reported at a 0.23 percent V2O5 cut-off grade.
According to the company, the base case for the scoping study showed that the project’s business case could be improved by reducing capital costs, enhancing project efficiency through trialing different processing methods, producing higher value, higher purity products and incorporating recent improvements in the V2O5 sale price.
While one of the scoping study highlights indicated a positive business case with healthy cash flow margin, upfront capital cost estimates for the project came in between AU$2 billion and AU$2.5 billion. According to King River, the estimate is based on preliminary engineering evaluation and scaling from industry benchmarks.
However, the study also reports that mining costs are expected to be lower than average Western Australian open pit mining costs due to the low stripping ratio and a “relatively favourable” orebody orientation.
Going forward, the company’s next step for Speewah is a prefeasibility study, which is estimated to start in January 2019 after current heap leach analysis is finished. King River is currently aiming for Speewah to reach full production by July 2023.
King River’s share price took a heavy hit on the ASX, closing 39.3 percent lower at AU$0.034 per stock on Friday (November 2).
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.