Following the receipt of the Amended Land Use Permit (LUP) and Water License (WL) in May 2020, Vital appointed Orelogy Consulting Pty Ltd (Orelogy) to define a pit design which met the conditions of these approvals whilst maximising the contained rare earths. Specifically, the LUP and WL provided approval for 600,000t of material to be extracted from the pit, based on the design assumptions as highlighted in Table 2. These assumptions were based on geotechnical guidelines considering:
- Geological domains
- Geological logging of core including structure and RQD values
- Structural mapping of the decline
- The shallow nature of the open pit (i.e. 35m deep) and
- The lack of groundwater in recent drill holes.
North T Pit Design assumptions
Pit design for North T Zone at Nechalacho
North T Zone pit cross-section
The pit design detail is sufficient to enable the completion of operational and management plans, environmental plans and Run of Mine (ROM) design and further development of the mining and crushing services contract, to be finalised in accordance with the defined project development milestones. This contract will extract all materials and crush all ore materials within a single campaign (May 2021 – October 2021) and therefore is classified as near-term production, with all production not extending past the current year and forthcoming year.