Pursuit has all the right ingredients for a top-notch vanadium project
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Special report: Pursuit Minerals is rapidly compiling a portfolio of world-class vanadium projects in Scandinavia, having recently confirmed high-grade assays (test results) at its Airijoki project in northern Sweden.
Pursuit also holds exciting exploration tenements in Finland that have previously generated high-grade drill intercepts and have access to cheap power and infrastructure.
“I think when you look at what is going to happen with vanadium over the next decade, there will be a number of projects that come into production,” managing director Jeremy Read told Stockhead.
“The ones that have good grade in the ground, excellent vanadium grade, access to cheap power, good infrastructure and are ultimately close to markets – those are the factors that are going to determine which projects get into production and which ones do not.
“What we have in Sweden and Finland is access to all of those things.”
Pursuit’s (ASX:PUR) recent analysis of historical drill holes at Airijoki has confirmed extremely encouraging vanadium intersections of substantial thickness – up to 178 metres.
One drill hole delivered results of 178.3m at 1.33 per cent vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) (in magnetite concentrate) from 9m, including 31m at 1.4 per cent V2O5 from 18m and 16m at 2.03 per cent V2O5 from 171.3m.
Another hole 1km away returned a result of 10m at 2.01 per cent V2O5 (in magnetite concentrate) from 77.15m.
Exceptional vanadium grade
Mr Read said the results from the Airijoki project are exceptional in terms of the vanadium grade, the thickness of the mineralisation and its potential strike extent.
“The key thing really is to look at the grade of the magnetite concentrate and if you have something that’s above about 1.5 per cent vanadium pentoxide in a magnetite concentrate, that’s high grade,” Mr Read said.
“If you’re getting up over 2 per cent vanadium pentoxide in magnetite concentrate that’s a globally significant concentrate grade and that is what we are achieving.”
Vanadium processing plants are power intensive, therefore access to cheap power is essential in keeping costs down.
“In comparison to a project in outback Australia, our power is about a third to a quarter of the cost. We have access to very good roads, rail, infrastructure, processing technology and are also operating very close to what will be one of the biggest consumers of vanadium in Germany,” Mr Read explained.
Europe doesn’t currently produce any of its own vanadium – it imports it.
“Germany in particular is really starting to drive substantial amounts of renewable energy into their grid,” Mr Read said.
“Obviously with Germany phasing out nuclear they are really putting a lot of investment into renewables and to keep the power grid stable long duration storage is needed and that is where vanadium redox flow batteries come in.”
Battery demand growing
Pursuit couldn’t have timed its foray into vanadium any better – and it’s right on the doorstep of the energy storage revolution.
Vanadium is the best performing battery metal – more than doubling in the past year and rocketing over 300 per cent since January 2016.
Traditionally the steel industry consumes around 90 per cent of global vanadium, but demand from the renewable energy battery sector is starting to take-off.
Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) have become the preferred solution for renewable long duration energy storage because they are cheaper and have the longest life spans, lasting more than 20 years or up to 25,000 cycles.
Germany and China are leading the take-up of the technology for renewable energy storage.
Germany is looking at building a VRFB that can store enough energy to power Berlin for an hour, which would be a big step forward from the Tesla lithium-ion battery built in Australia which only has the capacity to provide 2 per cent of Adelaide’s power requirements at any time.
60 per cent growth rate
The forecast compound annual growth rate for vanadium to be used in VRFBs is 60 per cent.
Current demand is about 100,000 tonnes per annum, but that is tipped to triple over the next five to six years.
“We’re very confident about the quality of the projects we have, but also where they’re situated,” Mr Read said.
“They have major advantages, with access to the infrastructure available in Finland and Sweden.”
Pursuit already has historic resources at its Koitelainen and Karhujupukka projects in Finland and it is working to convert those into JORC-compliant resources.
JORC refers to the mining industry’s official code for reporting exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves, managed by the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee.
The company is also planning to start drilling at its Airijoki project in early November to further investigate the thick high-grade vanadium mineralisation.
Pursuit’s plan for the next 12 months is to upgrade the resources at the two projects in Finland and define a maiden resource in Sweden.
This special report is brought to you by Pursuit Minerals.
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