Wednesday 19th December 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘vanadium’

92 Resources adds B.C. vanadium project to Quebec lithium package

November 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 20, 2018

Expanding its portfolio of energy metals, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY moves into a vanadium exploration region in eastern British Columbia. The 3,735-hectare Silver Sands property sits directly east of Ethos Gold’s (TSXV:ECC) Pine Pass project, where a recent trenching program brought results including 0.48% V2O5 over 130 metres, part of a cumulative, non-continuous extent averaging 0.43% V2O5 over 218 metres. Ethos reports approximately 20 kilometres of subcrop strike distance on the property.

92 Resources adds B.C. vanadium project to Quebec lithium package

Silver Sands hosts similar features, 92 states. The company interprets the property’s rock types as “an adjacent thrust sheet, of analogous or identical lithologies” to those at Pine Pass, with both properties hosting “regionally mapped early Triassic-aged Spray River Group rocks (containing the Toad River and Grayling formations), which have been known to host vanadium-bearing horizons associated with phosphatic shales.

“Specifically, the project is host to the Lemoray phosphate prospect, a phosphatic horizon which has been historically noted in the academic literature, but its relation to vanadium mineralization has not yet been tested.”

92 hopes to begin initial field work once snow melts, says Neil McCallum of Dahrouge Geological Consulting.

92 president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux said the acquisition suits the company’s strategic plans. “With a focus on future energy metals such as lithium and frac sand, we have now positioned the company with a key vanadium asset in a mine-friendly jurisdiction. We will now evaluate and put together our winter exploration plans that should contain our Phase I drill program at the Corvette-FCI lithium project in Quebec.”

An option signed in September with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK gives 92 a 75% earn-in on the 10,000-hectare FCI claims adjacent to the flagship Corvette project. Corvette channel samples released that month averaged 1.35% Li2O, along with tantalum averaging 109 ppm Ta2O5.

Vanadium prices now approach an all-time high, having jumped over 550% since September 2016, Lamoureux added. Chinese steel accounts for most demand but vanadium-redox flow batteries offer additional future potential.

Pine Pass regional infrastructure includes Highway 97, the Canadian National Railway, transmission lines and natural gas pipelines.

92 gets Silver Sands by paying staking costs of $15,000, while the vendor keeps a 2% NSR.

In addition to Silver Sands and Corvette, the company holds three other Quebec lithium projects, Pontax, Eastmain and Lac du Beryl, as well as the Golden frac sand project in southern B.C.

Read more about 92 Resources.

Overwhelming majority puts Quebec in new hands, New Brunswick still deadlocked

October 1st, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 1, 2018

Overwhelming majority puts Quebec government in new hands

CAQ incoming premier Francois Legault argued against unacculturated immigrants,
made popular funding promises and vowed to cut taxes. (Photo: Coalition Avenir Québec)

 

Updated Quebec results (with 2014 figures in parentheses)

  • Coalition Avenir Québec: 74 seats, 37.4% of the popular vote (21 seats, 23%)
  • Quebec Liberal Party: 32 seats, 24.8% (68 seats, 41.5%)
  • Québec Solidaire: 10 seats, 16.1% (3 seats, 7.6%)
  • Parti Québécois: 9 seats, 17% (28 seats, 25.4%)
  • Others: 0 seats, 4.6% (5 seats, 2.4%)

 

A seven-year-old party jumped from third place to government status as the Coalition Avenir Québec won the October 1 provincial election. Leading in a majority of seats half an hour after polls closed, the CAQ pushed the incumbent Liberals to second place, leaving the former official opposition Parti Québécois struggling to stay above fourth spot. Easily winning his riding of L’Assomption was incoming premier Francois Legault, a CAQ co-founder who previously created Air Transat and served as a PQ government minister. His CAQ has attracted disaffected Liberals as well as Péquistes.

PQ leader Jean-Francois Lisee lost his seat to a Québec Solidaire challenger.

Overwhelming majority puts Quebec government in new hands

Mining issues held little prominence as debate focused heavily on immigration but sidelined independence. Spending promises flowed freely with health care, education and child care giveaways coinciding with CAQ promises to cut taxes.

But just one week before the campaign’s official start date, the Liberal government announced $185 million of provincial money for the privately held BlackRock Metals’ iron ore-vanadium-titanium open pit development in the northern riding of Ungava. The money consisted of $100 million in loans and an $85-million investment, part of a total package of $1.3 billion attracted to the project. The Liberals also promised $63 million to build energy infrastructure in the Chicoutimi riding that would host BlackRock’s secondary processing facility.

Ungava’s Liberal incumbent placed third while the CAQ narrowly beat the PQ in a very tight three-way contest. In Chicoutimi, the CAQ won a strong victory over the PQ incumbent.

Last May Premier Philippe Couillard joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce $60 million in federal funding for an Alcoa NYSE:AA/Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO aluminum smelter to be built in the overlapping federal riding of Chicoutimi-Le Fjord. Three days later Trudeau called a by-election, only to see a Conservative defeat his Liberal incumbent.

The Quebec government invests heavily in projects ranging from junior exploration to operating mines through the Ressources Québec subsidiary of Investissement Québec. In August Legault said he would cut bureaucracy at Investissement Québec.

Quebec’s March budget posted a $1.3-billion surplus, but the province receives equalization payments that came to $11.8 billion this year and will rise to $13.3 billion in 2019. Currently the entire amount comes from the western provinces. Legault opposed the Energy East pipeline proposal from Alberta to New Brunswick.

Pundits might wonder to what extent the CAQ’s success depended on its proposal to expel unacculturated immigrants. But any criticism of la province spéciale will have to be muted, even if the plan calls for unwanted foreigners to be packed off to Anglo Canada.

The PQ’s demotion hardly spells the end of separatism now that the party shares the independence vote with QS and possibly the CAQ, which has equivocated on the subject.

As for last week’s New Brunswick election, results remain in limbo. With 22 seats, the Conservatives edged out the incumbent Liberals by a single riding. Speculation focuses on either party making a deal with the People’s Alliance or the Greens, which won three seats each.

The Green result triples its N.B. legislative standing, continuing the party’s progress in Canada. Last June the Ontario riding of Guelph elected that province’s first Green. Canada now has eight Greens elected provincially (three in N.B., three in B.C., and one each in Ontario and Prince Edward Island), along with one elected federally in B.C. In B.C.’s legislature, the party holds the balance of power under an agreement with the New Democratic Party minority government.

Can’t live without them

March 23rd, 2018

The U.S. Critical Materials Institute develops new technologies for crucial commodities

by Greg Klein

A rare earths supply chain outside China? It exists in the United States and Alex King has proof on his desk in the form of neodymium-iron-boron magnets, an all-American achievement from mine to finished product. But the Critical Materials Institute director says it’s up to manufacturers to take this pilot project to an industry-wide scale. Meanwhile the CMI looks back on its first five years of successful research while preparing future projects to help supply the stuff of modern life.

The U.S. Critical Materials Institute develops new technologies and strategies for crucial commodities

Alex King: “There’s a lot of steps in rebuilding that supply chain.
Our role as researchers is to demonstrate it can be done.
We’ve done that.” (Photo: Colorado School of Mines)

The CMI’s genesis came in the wake of crisis. China’s 2010 ban on rare earths exports to Japan abruptly destroyed non-Chinese supply chains. As other countries began developing their own deposits, China changed tactics to flood the market with relatively cheap output.

Since then the country has held the rest of the world dependent, producing upwards of 90% of global production for these metals considered essential to energy, defence and the overall economy.

That scenario prompted U.S. Congress to create the CMI in 2013, as one of four Department of Energy innovation hubs. Involving four national laboratories, seven universities, about a dozen corporations and roughly 350 researchers, the interdisciplinary group gets US$25 million a year and “a considerable amount of freedom” to pursue its mandate, King says.

The CMI channels all that into four areas. One is to develop technologies that help make new mines viable. The second, “in direct conflict with the first,” is to find alternative materials. Efficient use of commodities comprises the third focus, through improvements in manufacturing, recycling and re-use.

“Those three areas are supported by a fourth, which is a kind of cross-cutting research focus extending across a wide range of areas including quantum physics, chemistry, environmental impact studies and, last but certainly not least, economics—what’s the economic impact of the work we do, what’s its potential, where are the economically most impactful areas for our researchers to address,” King relates.

With 30 to 35 individual projects underway at any time, CMI successes include the Nd-Fe-B batteries. They began with ore from Mountain Pass, the California mine whose 2015 shutdown set back Western rare earths aspirations.

The U.S. Critical Materials Institute develops new technologies and strategies for crucial commodities

Nevertheless “that ore was separated into individual rare earth oxides in a pilot scale facility in Idaho National Lab,” explains King. “The separated rare earth oxides were reduced to master alloys at a company called Infinium in the Boston area. The master alloys were brought to the Ames Lab here at Iowa State University and fabricated into magnets. So all the skills are here in the U.S. We know how to do it. I have the magnets on my desk as proof.”

But, he asks, “can we do that on an industrial scale? That depends on companies picking up and taking ownership of some of these processes.”

In part, that would require the manufacturers who use the magnets to leave Asia. “Whether it’s an electric motor, a hard disk drive, the speakers in your phone or whatever, all that’s done in Asia,” King points out. “And that means it is most advantageous to make the magnets in Asia.”

America does have existing potential domestic demand, however. The U.S. remains a world leader in manufacturing loudspeakers and is a significant builder of industrial motors. Those two sectors might welcome a reliable rare earths supply chain.

“There’s a lot of steps in rebuilding that supply chain. Our role as researchers is to demonstrate it can be done. We’ve done that.”

Among other accomplishments over its first five years, the CMI found alternatives to both europium and terbium in efficient lighting, developed a number of improvements in the viability of rare earths mining and created much more efficient RE separation.

“We also developed a new use for cerium, which is an over-produced rare earth that is a burden on mining,” King says. “We have an aluminum-cerium alloy that is now in production and has actually entered the commercial marketplace and is being sold. Generating use for cerium should generate additional cash flow for some of the traditional forms of rare earths mining.”

Getting back to magnets, “we also invented a way of making them that is much more efficient, greatly reduces sensitive materials like neodymium and dysprosium, and makes electric devices like motors and generators much more efficient.”

All these materials have multiple uses. It’s not like they don’t have interest in the Pentagon and other places.—Alex King

Future projects will focus less on rare earths but more on lithium. The CMI will also tackle several others from the draft list of 35 critical minerals the U.S. released in February: cobalt, manganese, gallium, indium, tellurium, platinum group metals, vanadium and graphite. “These are the ones where we feel we can make the most impact.”

While the emphasis remains on energy minerals, “all these materials have multiple uses. It’s not like they don’t have interest in the Pentagon and other places.”

But the list is hardly permanent, while the challenges will continue. “We’ve learned a huge amount over the last five years about how the market responds when a material becomes critical,” he recalls. “And that knowledge is incredibly valuable because we anticipate there will be increasing incidences of materials going critical. Technology’s moving so fast and demand is shifting so fast that supply will have a hard time keeping up. That will cause short-term supply shortfalls or even excesses. What we need to do is capture the wisdom that has been won in the rare earths crisis and recovery, and be ready to apply that as other materials go critical in the future.”

Alex King speaks at Argus Specialty Metals Week, held in Henderson, Nevada, from April 16 to 18. For a 15% discount on registration, enter code RARE2018.

King’s Bay Resources reports initial drill results from Labrador nickel-cobalt project

January 16th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 16, 2018

Although collared 150 metres apart, the first two holes on King’s Bay Resources’ (TSXV:KBG) Lynx Lake property both showed nickel-cobalt values above background levels over wide intervals.

King’s Bay Resources reports initial drill results from Labrador nickel-cobalt project

Lynx Lake has the Trans-Labrador Highway
bisecting the property, as well as adjacent power lines.

Hole LL-17-01 brought 0.058% nickel and 0.013% cobalt over 115.2 metres. LL-17-02 returned 0.057% nickel and 0.014% cobalt over 110.8 metres (not true widths). The thickness of the intervals and distance between the holes suggest “potential for a more localized zone of economic mineralization in the area,” the company stated. Assays for gold, platinum and palladium are expected later this month.

The initial drill campaign tested a small part of an approximately 24,200-hectare property. Under focus was the project’s West Pit, where airborne VTEM found a shallow anomaly of high resistivity measuring about 400 metres in diameter and 50 to 300 metres in depth. Historic, non-43-101 grab sample assays from the area graded up to 1.03% copper, 0.566% cobalt, 0.1% nickel, 5 g/t silver, 0.36% chromium, 0.39% molybdenum and 0.23% vanadium.

Other historic, non-43-101 grab samples from the property’s east side showed up to 1.39% copper, 0.94% cobalt, 0.21% nickel and 6.5 g/t silver.

King’s Bay now plans geostatistical and structural analysis to identify more drill targets. A field crew returns later this year.

Meanwhile a 6% copper grade highlighted last month’s results from the company’s Trump Island project in northern Newfoundland. Four of 15 outcrop samples surpassed 1% copper and also showed cobalt assays up to 0.12%.

In September King’s Bay offered a $250,000 private placement that followed financings totalling $402,000 that closed the previous month.

Critical attention

December 21st, 2017

The U.S. embarks on a national strategy of greater self-reliance for critical minerals

by Greg Klein

A geopolitical absurdity on par with some aspects of Dr. Strangelove and Catch 22 can’t be reduced simply through an executive order from the U.S. president. But an executive order from the U.S. president doesn’t hurt. On December 20 Donald Trump called for a “federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” The move came one day after the U.S. Geological Survey released the first comprehensive update on the subject since 1973, taking a thorough look—nearly 900-pages thorough—at commodities vital to our neighbour’s, and ultimately the West’s, well-being.

U.S. president Trump calls for a national strategy to reduce foreign dependence on critical minerals

The U.S. 5th Security Forces Squadron takes part in a
September exercise at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.
(Photo: Senior Airman J.T. Armstrong/U.S. Air Force)

The study, Critical Mineral Resources of the United States, details 23 commodities deemed crucial due to their possibility of supply disruption with serious consequences. Many of them come primarily from China. Others originate in unstable countries or countries with a dangerous near-monopoly. For several minerals, the U.S. imports its entire supply.

They’re necessary for medicine, clean energy, transportation and electronics but maybe most worrisome, for national security. That last point prompted comments from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, whose jurisdiction includes the USGS. He formerly spent 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer.

“I commend the team of scientists at USGS for the extensive work put into the report, but the findings are shocking,” he stated. “The fact that previous administrations allowed the United States to become reliant on foreign nations, including our competitors and adversaries, for minerals that are so strategically important to our security and economy is deeply troubling. As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for what the military needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.”

Trump acknowledged a number of domestic roadblocks to production “despite the presence of significant deposits of some of these minerals across the United States.” Among the challenges, he lists “a lack of comprehensive, machine-readable data concerning topographical, geological and geophysical surveys; permitting delays; and the potential for protracted litigation regarding permits that are issued.”

[Trump’s order also calls for] options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.

Trump ordered a national strategy to be outlined within six months. Topics will include recycling and reprocessing critical minerals, finding alternatives, making improved geoscientific data available to the private sector, providing greater land access to potential resources, streamlining reviews and, not to leave out America’s friends, “options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.”

Apart from economic benefits, such measures would “enhance the technological superiority and readiness of our armed forces, which are among the nation’s most significant consumers of critical minerals.”

In fact the USGS report finds several significant uses for most of the periodic table’s 92 naturally occurring elements. A single computer chip requires well over half of the table. Industrialization, technological progress and rising standards of living have helped bring about an all-time high in minerals demand that’s expected to keep increasing, according to the study.

“For instance, in the 1970s rare earth elements had few uses outside of some specialty fields, and were produced mostly in the United States. Today, rare earth elements are integral to nearly all high-end electronics and are produced almost entirely in China.”

The USGS tracks 88 minerals regularly but also works with the country’s Defense Logistics Agency on a watch list of about 160 minerals crucial to national security. This week’s USGS study deems the critical 23 as follows:

  • antimony
  • barite
  • beryllium
  • cobalt
  • fluorite or fluorspar
  • gallium
  • germanium
  • graphite
  • hafnium
  • indium
  • lithium
  • manganese
  • niobium
  • platinum group elements
  • rare earth elements
  • rhenium
  • selenium
  • tantalum
  • tellurium
  • tin
  • titanium
  • vanadium
  • zirconium

A January 2017 USGS report listed 20 minerals for which the U.S. imports 100% of its supply. Several of the above critical minerals were included: fluorspar, gallium, graphite, indium, manganese, niobium, rare earths, tantalum and vanadium.

This comprehensive work follows related USGS reports released in April, including a breakdown of smartphone ingredients to illustrate the range of countries and often precarious supply chains that supply those materials. That report quoted Larry Meinert of the USGS saying, “With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever.”

As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for what the military needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.—Ryan Zinke,
U.S. Secretary of the Interior

David S. Abraham has been a prominent advocate of a rare minerals strategy for Western countries. But in an e-mail to the Washington Post, the author of The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age warned that Trump’s action could trigger a partisan battle. He told the Post that Republicans tend to use the issue to loosen mining restrictions while Democrats focus on “building up human capacity to develop supply chains rather than the resources themselves.”

Excessive and redundant permitting procedures came under criticism in a Hill op-ed published a few days earlier. Jeff Green, a Washington D.C.-based defence lobbyist and advocate of increased American self-reliance for critical commodities, argued that streamlining would comprise “a positive first step toward strengthening our economy and our military for years to come.”

In a bill presented to U.S. Congress last March, Rep. Duncan Hunter proposed incentives for developing domestic resources and supply chains for critical minerals. His METALS Act (Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security) has been in committee since.

Speaking to ResourceClips.com at the time, Abraham doubted the success of Hunter’s bill, while Green spoke of “a totally different dynamic” in the current administration, showing willingness to “invest in America to protect our national security and grow our manufacturing base.”

Update: Read about Jeff Green’s response to the U.S. national strategy.

“Shocking” USGS report details 23 minerals critical to America’s economy and security

December 19th, 2017

This story has been expanded and moved here.

Double discovery

November 18th, 2017

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

by Greg Klein

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

The Southern High Plains of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma
might someday boost U.S. domestic uranium supply.
(Photo: Public domain)

 

The dream of discovery must motivate many a geologist. Through skill, effort and luck they hope to eventually find something precious, useful or otherwise valuable—something well known yet found in a previously unknown location. But a group of geo-boffins from the U.S. Geological Survey not only identified a type of uranium deposit previously unknown to their country, they discovered a new mineral.

It’s finchite, “a new uranium mineral species,” as a press release described it last week. The discovery actually dates to 2015, says Brad Van Gosen, the USGS scientist who did the discovering.

While surveying a Texas cotton ranch Van Gosen collected samples of what he and his colleagues thought was carnotite, “a pretty common yellow, near-surface uranium mineral.” Back in the lab, he put it under a scanning electron microscope, which kept showing strontium with the uranium and vanadium, he recalls. To a geologist, it was unusual—very unusual. A eureka moment was looming.

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

First to recognize the new mineral finchite, USGS scientist
Brad Van Gosen examines rock layers in Texas.
(Photo: Susan Hall/USGS, public domain)

“We looked it up and there’d been no strontium-uranium mineral ever reported before. So [team leader Susan Hall] worked with a crystallography/mineralogy lab that specializes in micro-analysis up at Notre Dame and they concluded, ‘By gosh you’re right.’” Further study continued before sending the evidence to the International Mineralogical Association. “They’re the high council and they blessed it as a new mineral.” Finchite’s moniker honours the late Warren Finch, a USGS uranium expert.

Another major finding was that the uranium was hosted in calcrete rock formations, a style of deposit known elsewhere but reported for the first time in the U.S.

Some previously secret info led to the twin epiphanies. Hall, as leader of a project that’s reassessing national uranium resources, gained privy to some unpublished 1970s and ’80s data from the former Kerr-McGee company. Included were estimates for two deposits, Sulphur Springs Draw and Buffalo Draw, with marginal grades of 0.04% and 0.05% U3O8 respectively. Together they held an estimated 2.6 million pounds U3O8.

(Of course data from historic sources and the U.S. government agency falls outside the framework of NI 43-101 regulations.)

The newly transpired, near-surface deposits led Hall and her group to the Southern High Plains spanning parts of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. It was there that they recognized calcrete, its first known manifestation in the U.S.

The USGS reports new American uranium potential and a new uranium “species”

Surface showings of yellow finchite might have previously
been mistaken for sulphur, says Van Gosen.
(Photo: Susan Hall/USGS, public domain)

The stuff’s associated with uranium in other countries. Among major calcrete-style deposits listed by the World Nuclear Association are Yeelirrie in Western Australia, along with Trekkopje and Langer Heinrich in Namibia. Yeelirrie is a potential open pit held by a Cameco Corp TSX:CCO subsidiary and averaging 0.16% U3O8. Trekkopje, a potential open pit majority-held by AREVA Resources, averages 0.01%. Langer Heinrich, an open pit mine operated on behalf of Paladin Energy, the majority owner now under administrative control, averages 0.052%.

According to the USGS, grades for potential Southern High Plains deposits range from 0.012% to 0.067%, with a median 0.034% U3O8. Gross tonnage estimates range from 200,000 to 52 million tonnes, with a median 8.4 million tonnes. Together, the region’s calcrete-style potential comes to 39.9 million pounds U3O8.

But that’s a regional assessment, not a resource estimate, reflecting how USGS methodology contrasts with that of exploration companies. The agency uses a three-part approach, explains Mark Mihalasky, who co-ordinated the assessment. The procedure first delineates areas that would allow the occurrence of a particular kind of deposit. Using additional geoscientific evidence, the agency estimates how many deposits might be awaiting discovery. How much those potential deposits hold can be estimated through comparisons with similar known deposits around the world.

Mineral assessment and mineral exploration are two different things…. It’s not a ‘drill here’ assessment.—Mark Mihalasky

“Mineral assessment and mineral exploration are two different things,” Mihalasky emphasizes. “The purpose of our assessment is to help land planners, decision-makers and people in the region get an idea of what could be there, based upon probability. It’s not a ‘drill here’ assessment.

“This whole region is a relatively newly recognized area of potential and while we’re not saying this is a new uranium province we are saying there’s something here that hasn’t been found before in the United States and this might be worth looking into in greater detail if you’re an exploration company.”

Already one company from Australia has been asking “lots of questions,” says Van Gosen. Although most uranium mining in the American west uses in-situ recovery, the shallow depth and soft host rock of the Southern High Plains could present open pit opportunities “assuming uranium prices and other factors are favourable.”

Any positive price assumption will have to wait, however. One week earlier Cameco announced the impending suspension of its high-grade McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. The company said that long-term contracts had shielded it from uranium’s post-Fukushima plunge of over 70%, but those contracts are now expiring. Cameco had previously suspended its Rabbit Lake mine and reduced production at its American operations.

But while production faces cutbacks, controversy over American dependence on foreign uranium flared up again last month with renewed questions about the sale of Uranium One to Russia’s state-owned Rosatom. The formerly TSX-listed Uranium One holds American resources that could potentially produce up to 1,400 tonnes of uranium annually, according to the WNA. But last year the company’s sole U.S. operation, the Willow Creek ISR mine, produced just 23 tonnes of the country’s total output of 1,126 tonnes.

As the world’s largest consumer of uranium for energy, the U.S. relies on nukes for about 19% of the country’s electricity, according to USGS numbers. Only 11% of last year’s uranium purchases came from domestic sources.

Update: The full USGS report is now available here.

USGS reports new domestic uranium potential and new uranium “species”

November 14th, 2017

This story has been expanded and moved here.

Infographic: Vanadium, the energy storage metal

October 5th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | October 5, 2017

The world is moving to a renewable energy economy.

Solar use is growing at exponential rates and countries like the UK, France and India are planning to ban gas-powered vehicles in the coming years. Even the world’s largest auto market in China is under duress from mounting pollution and the country has ambitious plans to build up world-class renewable capacity while ditching gas-powered vehicles.

The energy storage question

As the world shifts to renewables, one question remains up in the air: how will we store all this energy?

This infographic comes to us from VanadiumCorp TSXV:VRB and it highlights vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs)—which are a breakthrough that some experts say may be the future of grid-scale energy storage.

 

Infographic: Vanadium, the energy storage metal

 

Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) are distinctive in the battery world.

They work by taking advantage of the natural properties of vanadium, a metal with four different oxidation states. But rather than using the metal in a solid state, vanadium electrolyte (a liquid solution) is used for both half cells and the configuration is divided by a proton exchange membrane. Typically, massive tanks filled with vanadium electrolyte are connected, pumping the solution through at high volumes to charge or discharge.

The benefits of VRFBs

This unique setup gives VRFBs a few interesting advantages for something like grid-scale energy storage:

  • Extremely scalable

  • Can rapidly release large amounts of energy

  • Vanadium electrolyte is reusable and recyclable, with a battery lifespan of over 25 years

  • No cross-contamination of metals, since only one metal (vanadium) is used

  • Cycle life is theoretically unlimited

  • Can maintain ready state for long periods of time

  • Can be charged and discharged at same time

  • Non-flammable

As a result, VRFBs can be used in a variety of energy storage applications such as peak-shaving, load levelling, microgrids, wind and solar, off-grid power supplies and uninterruptible power supplies.

Vanadium outlook

VRFBs are getting more attention from utility companies and large battery projects have already been announced.

The most notable vanadium-flow battery is probably a 200 MW system being built on the Dalian peninsula in China, which will serve seven million residents. Costing $500 million, it’ll be used to peak-shave approximately 8% of Dalian’s expected load by 2020. This battery system will be the world’s largest and it will single-handedly triple China’s grid-connected battery storage capacity.

According to the Chinese firm Azure International, the market projection for VRFB demand (by MW) in the top 10 countries will grow at an 80% CAGR from 2013 to 2020, ultimately culminating in more than 7,000 MW of vanadium-flow capacity needed in 2020.

This demand could become even more substantial if the price of vanadium electrolyte were to be reduced—it makes up about 30% to 50% of the cost of each battery alone.

(Interested in more content on the green revolution? Visual Capitalist has launched a funding campaign for its first book through Kickstarter.)

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Kapuskasing expands Newfoundland copper project, plans September drilling

August 23rd, 2017

by Greg Klein | August 23, 2017

Announced in May as an LOI but now ratified, Kapuskasing Gold’s (TSXV:KAP) 100% option adds the Sterling property and its former mines to the company’s Lady Pond project near the north coast of Newfoundland. The 700-hectare addition brings Lady Pond to 2,450 hectares with exploration and mining dating to the late 19th century. The standouts include the former Sterling mine, the Twin Pond prospect about 1.5 kilometres northeast and, three more kilometres northeast, the Lady Pond past-producer.

Sterling comes with an historic, non-43-101 1960s estimate of a million tonnes averaging 1% copper that’s open in all directions. Some historic, non-43-101 intercepts showed:

  • 5.5% copper over 4.42 metres, starting at 38.1 metres in downhole depth
Kapuskasing expands Newfoundland copper project, plans September drilling

  • 2.32% over 6.1 metres, starting at 106.68 metres

  • 1.45% over 4.57 metres, starting at 50.29 metres

Of 32 holes sunk on Twin Pond, some historic, non-43-101 highlights showed:

  • 4.2% copper over 3.35 metres, starting at 82.3 metres

  • 2.16% over 3.05 metres, starting at 33.53 metres

  • 3.2% over 3.05 metres, starting at 70.14 metres

Again with the historic, non-43-101 caveat, a Lady Pond intercept assayed 2.61% copper over 8.1 metres, with no downhole depth provided.

Having finished a preliminary 3D model for Sterling and Twin Pond, Kapuskasing stated it found significant gaps in drilling between high-grade intersections. Further review of historic data will precede drilling planned to begin next month. The company also plans an induced polarization survey between Sterling and Twin Pond.

With logging road and ATV access, the Lady Pond project borders the town of Springdale. Rambler Mining and Metals TSXV:RAB operates a base metals mill at Baie Verte, 94 kilometres by road from Springdale. Rambler also holds the historic Little Deer and Whalesback copper deposits contiguously west of Lady Pond.

Subject to TSXV approval, Kapuskasing gets a 100% interest in Sterling for $25,000, 1.8 million shares and $250,000 in spending over four years. A 3% NSR applies, of which Kapuskasing may buy two-thirds for $2 million.

The property expansion reflects an acquisitive phase as Kapuskasing expands its Newfoundland and Labrador portfolio. In May the company signed an LOI on the former Daniel’s Harbour zinc mine on the island’s north. Lady Pond was one of eight April acquisitions, with other properties showing potential for copper, cobalt and vanadium. Daniel’s Harbour and Lady Pond comprise the portfolio’s dual flagships.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Kapuskasing Gold president/CEO Jon Armes.