Vanadium demand could almost triple this year and Critical Minerals Group reckons it has a sleeper hit at Lindfield
The outlook is big for vanadium, with forecasts from Argus Media, the global vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) sector could rise to at least 9,100t of vanadium pentoxide (V²O⁵) in 2022 from 3,640t last year.
And the independent providers of energy and commodity price benchmarks are not alone in their predictions, commodity researcher Roskill says vanadium use in batteries is set to grow at an average of 20.7% per year from 2020 to 2029.
Vanadium is a hard, dark-silver metallic element – with properties from ductile transition, and natural resistance to corrosion, through to stability against alkalis, acids and salt water.
Critical Minerals Group managing director Scott Drelincourt told Stockhead the company’s Lindfield vanadium project in northwest Queensland is perfectly placed to ride the wave for the energy transition.
“The world has caught up with the hype, and understands the energy disruption that’s in play today,” he said.
“The outlook for vanadium and vanadium batteries and critical minerals in general is very, very good.
“We’re trying to help decarbonise the world and help transition to a new energy regime.
“The Lindfield project will be focused on producing vanadium which will have a direct application to battery storage technology.”
VRFBs effectively have an unlimited number of charge cycles, they can last up to 30 years – and have greater safety due to the lack of the runaway heat effect found in lithium batteries.
And Drelincourt says demand is likely to grow further as awareness grows of VRFB systems such as China’s giant battery farm in Dalian, which will have a total storage capacity of 200 megawatts with 800 megawatt hours (MWh) once it’s fully operational.
The 295sqkm project includes several drill holes with promising grades along with an existing JORC resource of 210 million tonnes grading 0.39% V²O⁵, which Drelincourt noted is higher than almost all of the company’s peers.
The company plans to kick off drilling in April/May – but that’s just one aspect of its plans for 2022.
“Even though we’ve got a JORC resource that outcrops at surface, the main purpose of drilling is to get bulk material for processing test work,” Drelincourt says.
“But that’ll have a secondary bonus for us being able to upgrade the resource category from Inferred to Indicated – and hopefully higher.
“The metallurgical test work will lead to the development of a flowsheet, and we’ll be running the ore through a pilot plant in 2022 as well.
“Plus, we plan to complete a scoping study,” he added.
So, just a quiet year of drilling, updating the JORC resource, metallurgical testwork, a scoping study, bulk testing and the pilot plant.
The project is just outside Townsville where the Queensland Government is funding and building a vanadium processing facility – which should be up and running in 2023.
“We’ll be looking to run our material through that demonstration facility,” Drelincourt says.
“That’s going to save us a year’s worth of time, and millions of dollars in not having to fund and build a demonstration plant on site.
“It really just shows that vanadium and critical minerals are getting multiple levels of government support, whether it’s federal, state or local, from policy to funding, the support is there now.”
Not to mention the project is also intersected by the Flinders Highway and the heavy gauge Great Northern Railway that goes straight to the port at Townsville.
And keep in mind among its other assets, CMG has the 70sqkm Figtree Creek and 51sqkm Lorena Surrounds copper-gold projects in northwest Queensland near Cloncurry on its books.
Both of which are also located close to advanced copper-gold projects as well as existing infrastructure.
This article was developed in collaboration with Critical Minerals Group, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.