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UPDATE - Bushveld Minerals' vanadium scoping study shows robust economics

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---ADDS SHARE MOVE AND BROKER COMMENT---

A scoping study for Bushveld Minerals' (LON:BMN) vanadium project in South Africa has shown it will be one of the world's largest, low-cost primary producers of the metal.

Shares in the mining company rose over 11% on the back of the news.

The independent study used a base case of 1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) run-of-mine which would produce 10,370 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide flakes.

Capital expenditure is low - put at US$261.5 million, while the pre-tax net present value (NPV) comes in at US$561.9 million.

The operating costs are also low - at around US$5.99 per kg or US$ 2.72 per pound of flakes.

From the start of mining the pay-back period is four years and four months, while the life of mine is 30 years, which exploits only 58% of the resource.

The project has a JORC resource of 52 million tonnes of vanadium on the MML layer along a 5.5km strike, for a total resource of 760,000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide.

Excitingly, this resource is only based on one of three high vanadium containing zone and there is potential for further resource upgrades.

Bushveld also revealed today that the study had also helped it to select one of the two processing routes for the project  it had been considering - the salt roast method as it had " the best fit with the company's criteria" including a proven path to near-term production, low capital expenditure and scalability.

Bushveld chief executive Fortune Mojapelo told investors the study was a "significant milestone" in unlocking the project's value and there would now be an "accelerated" pre-feasibility study earmarked to be released next year.

"We are pleased that it (scoping study) has been completed just eight months after the Bushveld Vanadium project was established as a standalone platform.

"The project enjoys robust economics with significant upside opportunities, which will be investigated further during the pre-feasibility study that has already commenced. The salt roast processing flowsheet selected is well known in South Africa and considered commercially favourable. There are at least three operations making use of this process - including Glencore's Rhovan and Evraz's Vametco operations."

He added: "The post-tax numbers did not assume any tax incentives in South Africa that may exist in support of in-country beneficiation. We believe that, given South Africa's intent to promote in-country beneficiation, there could be tax incentives available to the project, which would improve these economics."

Analyst Craig Foggo at RFC Ambrian said the results looked 'sound', highlighting that the NPV/Capex ratio exceeded one times.

"With low operating cost, the project is well placed," said the analyst, who added that because of the nature of the vanadium markets, the broker would expect that off-take agreements, or something similar, would probably be required for debt funding.

Bushveld shares were lifted 11.03% to 4.025p.

Quick facts: Bushveld Minerals Ltd

Price: 19.75 GBX

LSE:BMN
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £227.71 m
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