The story about the Richmond Vanadium project (page 2) is another exciting mineral find for North West Queensland.
Vanadium is a little known but important traditional part of the steel industry because it provides unrivalled hardness and strength when alloyed with other metals.
But it has found an exciting new use thanks to the growth of renewable energies.
The vanadium redox battery (VRB) is a type of rechargeable flow battery that employs vanadium ions in different oxidation states to store chemical potential energy.
The battery exploits the ability of vanadium to exist in solution in four different oxidation states, and uses this property to make a battery that has just one electroactive element instead of two which makes it useful for grid energy storage, such as being attached to power plants or electrical grids. The need for VRBs is expected to grow significantly to meet renewable power demands of China as it moves away from coal while supply of vanadium remains tight.
China also contributes over half the vanadium production though stricter environment regulation on Chinese mills has seen a dramatic decline of production while energy markets could stimulate demand another 30% by 2020.
Enter the Richmond Vanadium Project.
The projects lies on four main prospects in the Richmond and Julia Creek district covering an area of 1520 sq km. Its scale places it as one of the largest undeveloped vanadium resources in the world.
Initial development will concentrate on the Lilyvale prospect, 20km north of Richmond which has a resource of 671 Mt grading 0.35% vanadium pentoxide.
It has the highest grade based on drilling to date with the mineralisation less than 5m from the surface and can be mined simply free dig open cut mining at very low strip ratios. Like all four of the prospects Lilyvale is close to good road and rail links to port and has a potential mine life of 40 years at 10-15 Mtpa mining rate.
Australia’s stable political climate (don’t laugh, despite our comedy governments that holds true of our institutions), and surety of demand will make Richmond an attractive investment opportunity in the coming years – Derek Barry