MONTE CARLO (Metal-Pages) 10-Nov-09. Canadian mining company, Uranium Star Corporation could produce up to 35,000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide per annum at its Green Giant Vanadium project in Madagascar, according to Julie Lee Harrs President and COO of the company.
Speaking at the Metal Bulletin’s International Ferro Alloys conference in Monte Carlo Harrs said that initial drilling had outlined an 18 km trend of vanadium mineralisation hosted in a graphite rich sediment. The company aims to conduct further drilling work to define 200 million tonnes of vanadium mineralisation and to invest $450 million in the project over the next five years to bring the project to production.
The nature of the deposit is that it lends itself to open pit mining followed by beneficiation by crushing, grinding, leaching and precipitation rather than roasting. Harrs estimates that operating costs would be equivalent to approximately $ 2.50-3.00/lb which Harrs believes will make them the lowest cost producer outside of China.
The company plans to process 8.8 million tonnes of ore per year and with a recovery rate of 80% and an initial average grade of 0.5%, meaning that they could produce up to 35,000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide per annum. Harrs said that world production of vanadium in 2008 was approximately 60,000 tonnes, China accounting for 20,000 tonnes, South Africa 23,000 tonnes, Russia 16,000 tonnes and others the balance. “We can potentially vary the amount of material that we produce in order to bring some stability to what has, over the past few years, been a very volatile market,” Harrs said.
Clearly if Uranium Star plans an annual production of 35,000 tonnes, which would increase market supply by 58%, then they will need to find new outlets for their material or to be more competitive than the others. Harrs believes the former to be the case and the vanadium market will grow strongly over the next few years with more vanadium required to feed that demand. “We expect growth in consumption from the steel sector, traditionally the largest consumer of vanadium, to remain steady but the use of vanadium in batteries will soar driven by strong demand from the green energy sector.” Harrs said.
Uranium Star expect vanadium to be in the vanguard of new battery technology with lithium vanadium phosphate fluoride batteries (LVPF) batteries offering a safer and longer lasting alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries. They are expected to find applications in both domestic use and in hybrid electric vehicles. The Subaru G4e Concept electric vehicle uses a high-capacity vanadium battery, capable of storing two or three times more energy than other lithium-ion batteries of the same approximate weight.
Separately vanadium redox batteries are already in use for large power storage applications such as helping power generators cope with large surges in demand and helping to average out the power supplied from highly variable generation sources such as wind, solar power or wave power.
Vanadium pentoxide is currently quoted at $ 6.70-7.40/lb V2O5
The company plans to change its name to Energizer Resources Inc. at the end of December.
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