Surefire Resources Locks Eyes On Strategic Battery Metal Vanadium Amid WA Project Development, Shares Jump

Surefire has committed to diamond drilling at the project, which will support geotechnical studies, pit design and metallurgical test-work down the line.

Surefire Resources NL (ASX:SRN)  will advance one of the largest vanadium pentoxide resources in WA as part of its mission to bring a critical battery metal to market in line with the global ambition for a cleaner and greener future.

The ASX-lister is pushing ahead with plans to develop its wholly-owned Victory Bore/Unally Hill vanadium asset, which hosts a 237-million-tonne inferred resource, grading 0.43% vanadium pentoxide, 24.9% iron and 5.9% titanium dioxide.

“The vanadium market is fast evolving as a critical element of the mass commercialisation of large-scale battery solutions in the fast-tracked renewables energy sector,” the company stated today.

“With demand pressures increasing from specialty metals producers and [other factors]  pushing vanadium prices higher, Surefire’s vanadium outlook is very positive.”

This focus has induced a strong response from investors with shares up 20% to $0.024.

What’s on the cards?

So far, Surefire has committed to diamond drilling at Victory Bore/Unally Hill, which will support geotechnical studies, pit design and metallurgical test-work down the line.

Planning is underway for the diamond drilling program, and Surefire will update the market as more information comes to hand.

Meanwhile, the company is already looking further afield and updating its economic parameters so it can focus on planning for a pre-feasibility study (PFS).

Pre-eminent consulting firm MinRizon Projects will update the asset’s capital and operating cost estimates before Surefire proceeds with the PFS.

Finally, Surefire has also struck up a conversation with some potential partners that could help make Victory Bore / Unally Hill’s vanadium dream a reality.

It’s all about vanadium

As the green energy revolution comes to the fore, battery metals like vanadium are taking the spotlight.

While this element has previously found its home in the steelmaking market, interest in vanadium is growing as a power storage vehicle.

Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs), for example, use a liquid vanadium electrolyte to store electrical charge.

While VRFBs are, at present, more expensive up-front than lithium-ion batteries, they can work out cheaper on a full-cycle use over 20 years and 35,000 charge/discharge cycles.

What’s more, VRFBs don’t degrade over time, can discharge 100% of their stored power and the vanadium electrolyte is fully recyclable.

Research firm Corporate Connect published a vanadium paper in November 2021, considering whether vanadium could emulate lithium’s rise to fame.

“The rise and then recent slowdown in China’s steelmaking have seen vanadium prices double since last year and retrace around 25%,” the report explained.

“New demand for high-grade vanadium is also starting to tighten the vanadium market. China has announced over 1,500 megawatt-hours of VRFB projects, which amount to more than 8,200 tonnes of vanadium.

“This equates to around 7% of the world’s vanadium demand, and roughly 30% of high-grade vanadium supply. In aggregate, similar plans are being finalised in Europe, Japan, Brazil and South Africa over the next couple of years.

“Clearly, there is need for more high-grade vanadium production that also meets sustainability credentials to assist the energy transition to lower emissions.”