Canada’s VanadiumCorp Resource (TSX-V: VRB) published on Thursday the results of a mineral resource estimate on its Lac Doré vanadium property in Quebec, Canada, which shows the asset is one of the world’s most significant sources of the metal.
Total Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources for the Lac Doré project are estimated at 214.93 million tonnes (Mt) of mineralized material contained in the main zone.
This means the project has the potential to produce 52.97 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate grading 1.3% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), 62% iron (Fe) and 8.7% titanium dioxide (TiO2).
The project also hosts 86.91 Mt grading 0.4% V2O5, 28.0% Fe, 7.6% TiO2 and 25.9% magnetite concentrate in the Inferred category which are estimated to contain 22.55 Mt of magnetite concentrate grading 1.2% V2O5, 62% Fe and 9.2% TiO2.
“The results of the mineral resource estimate for our Lac Doré vanadium project have exceeded our expectations,” President and CEO Adriaan Bakker said in the statement. “We can state Lac Doré is one of the largest undeveloped deposits of vanadiferous magnetite in the world, with an excess of 1.4 billion pounds of vanadium pentoxide contained in magnetite concentrate.”
Lac Doré was a crown asset for over 50 years. It is located 27 km east-southeast from the city of Chibougamau, in Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory, northern Québec.
Vanadium, traditionally used to harden steel, is also employed in the renewable energies sector.
First discovered in 1801 by a professor of mineralogy in Mexico City, the metal — whose symbol V is based on the Norse goddess Vanadis — has some rare qualities that give it the ability to make materials stronger, lighter, more efficient and more powerful.
Adding small percentages of it to steel and aluminum creates ultra-high-strength, super-light and resilient alloys.
Henry Ford was the first to use vanadium on an industrial scale, in the 1908 Model T car chassis. But it is only recently that automakers have begun adding it to car bodies to make them lighter and stronger.
Demand for the metal is slated to jump as new Chinese rebar standards are requiring more vanadium. Vanadium Flow Batteries (VRFBs) are also becoming increasingly popular in commercial energy storage.
Analysts at Roskill believe the short-term outlook for vanadium will be largely determined by ongoing impacts of the covid-19 pandemic.
The experts’ view is that the Chinese steel industry will be relatively insulated from the impacts of the pandemic as infrastructure spending offsets lower steel exports, both directly and indirectly.
“As a result, vanadium demand should be sustained by Chinese consumption,” they say, adding that a drop in steel production will negatively impact demand for vanadium.
Over the longer term, vanadium demand is positive with all major end-uses (steel, non-ferrous alloys, chemicals, and batteries) expected to drive growth.
Roskill expects vanadium demand for Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) markets to hit 31,000 tonnes by 2025, amounting to a 3,100% increase in a decade.
Shares in VanadiumCorp Resource jumped 44% in early trading in Toronto on the news and were still trading 22% higher at 0.055 Canadian cents by 10:09 am ET.
The Vancouver-based mining and technology company has a market capitalization of C$16.5 million.