A new competitor is entering the battery metals arena with Gladiator Resources (ASX:GLA) signing a binding agreement to acquire the Highgate vanadium project in Queensland’s renowned Mt Isa minerals province from Vecco Group.

Highgate covers an area of about 220sqkm about 60km northwest of Julia Creek and close to the large scale Debella and Arizona vanadium projects.

There is access to roads, an airport and rail facilities, while power and water is readily available.

Previous exploration includes a wide-spaced drilling program that Gladiator says provides reasonable stratigraphic definition of the host formation across the project.

Modelling of the drillhole dataset has identified an exploration target of between 2 billion and 2.5 billion tonnes at grades of 0.26 per cent to 0.5 per cent vanadium pentoxide (V2O5).

There is also potential for a high-purity alumina byproduct, Gladiator says.

Gladiator plans to drill 15 to 17 holes to further define the project’s vanadium, molybdenum, aluminium and other battery metals potential.

This will allow the company to update the geological model and possibly define a resource, undertake metallurgical testing, and commence initial studies.

Meanwhile, Black Rock Mining (ASX:BKT) has executed a non-binding cooperation framework agreement with Chinese infrastructure contractor China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG).

Under the agreement, the two companies will work to formalise an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the module one process plant and non-process infrastructure for the Mahenge graphite project in Tanzania.

Key terms include a staged approach to the development of a final contract price and a deferred performance payment structure that would result in about $US24m ($35m) of the estimated $US116m module one development being deferred until after the plant is built.

Black Rock has an existing agreement with Yantai Jinyuan for the design and supply of plant machinery and specific elements of non-process infrastructure.

In other ASX battery metals news today:

Sabre Resources’ (ASX:SBR) sampling work of waste dumps and tailings around the historical open pit at the Utisab prospect in Namibia has recovered maximum results of 0.77 per cent V2O5 from the tailings and 0.5 per cent V2O5 from the waste dumps. Additional work is also planned at the historic Baltika and Lucas Post mines.

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