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Critical Minerals Group to wrap numbers around vast vanadium play

Rig-side: Critical Minerals managing director Scott Drelincourt in the field. Credit: File

After achieving an eye-watering 363-million-tonne vanadium resource at its Queensland-based Lindfield project, Critical Minerals has moved to wrap some financials around the operation with the commencement of a scoping study.

Notably, the company recently added aluminium to its vanadium resource base and its scoping study will also look at the possibility of extracting a saleable high-purity alumina (HPA) product from Lindfield.

The project sits in QLD’s Eromanga Basin, some 30km north-east of the town of Julia Creek and about 250km east of Mt. Isa.

Both products in Critical’s wheelhouse – vanadium and HPA – play a role in the feverish global push into clean energy that is almost consuming public markets.

Lindfield’s global resource now stands at a towering 363 million tonnes grading 0.43 per cent vanadium oxide and 4.8 per cent aluminium oxide. A 254-million-tonne portion of the resource already sits in the higher-confidence “indicated” resource status.

The real kicker for me as a geologist is [an] Indicated 104mt @ 0.48% [Vanadium] in the weathered zone – that really boosts our economic confidence to progress this project. I am very pleased to inform our shareholders that we are well advanced on our development timeline at Lindfield Vanadium Project and this Scoping Study has commenced almost a year earlier than we’d anticipated at the time of IPO. I look forward to bringing the results of this Study to shareholders, anticipated in the third quarter this year. Critical Minerals managing director Scott Drelincourt

The company’s scoping study will be led by Wave International and supported by experts from two other firms, Stantec and Measured Group. Among other things, it will examine pit designs for Lindfield, consider mining and tailings management and undertake metallurgical testwork and processing route designs, in addition to power and water management.

Importantly, the scoping study will give the market a first look at the economics of the project that could potentially be mined for many years given its almost biblical-scale vanadium resource.

While lithium is typically used in automotive and light-vehicle batteries, vanadium is more at home powering entire subdivisions or industrial sites. Interestingly, vanadium redox flow battery technology was invented more than two decades ago in Australia by the University of NSW, which promptly patented it – way ahead of its time. The tragedy for UNSW is that its patent has now run out just as green energy – and vanadium – is set to become a thing.

And while vanadium will no doubt continue to find a home in the steelmaking industry, its use as a potential green renewable energy source is revolutionary and has presented significant commercial opportunities for those with plenty of it.

At 363 million tonnes, Critical has just that and its scoping study will no doubt be keenly anticipated by a market that is just starting to emerge from its lithium-infused fog to realise that vanadium is now starting to move from stage right to the main spotlight.

It will be fascinating to watch Lindfield’s potential mine life, which will drive its all-important net present value, evolve given the magnitude of its resource.

Watch this space.

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