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Surefire eyes high-purity alumina potential in WA

Updated: Apr 23

Surefire Resources is looking to make an impact on the battery sector. Credit: File

Dual-metals explorer Surefire Resources is positioning closer to having an impact in the world’s burgeoning battery market after stamping a maiden aluminium oxide resource at its Victory Bore project in Western Australia’s Mid West region.

The resource – estimated to contain up to 38 million tonnes of aluminium-hosted ore at a grade of 23.3 per cent – will underpin a pre-feasibility study for the company’s wholly-owned critical minerals project.

The estimate was calculated on the back of a 5189m reverse-circulation (RC) drilling campaign that detected continuous high-grade aluminium oxide mineralisation at surface. Surefire says its highest-confidence measured and indicated categories combine for 17 million tonnes grading 23.1 per cent aluminium oxide, suggesting nearly 4 million tonnes of aluminium oxide.

Management believes it is now looking at a downstream figure of about 8 million tonnes of aluminium oxide.

The maiden resource will be used to underpin a pre-feasibility study for Victory Bore, which is due to be completed in November. Surefire will use it to try and verify the economic case for its goal of becoming a feedstock provider in the high-purity alumina (HPA) supply chain.

The company is currently engaged with third-party laboratories, which are providing testwork information on its aluminium oxide to optimise downstream yielding of “4N HPA” – with a purity of 99.99 per cent – from its Victory Bore feedstock. Diamond drilling samples were used to provide feedstock for the testwork.

HPA is classified as a critical mineral by Geoscience Australia and is used in the aerospace sector, lithium-ion batteries, and in the assembly of high-performance electronics. It is most often extracted as a by-product from metal refining.

Aluminium oxide mineralisation at Victory Bore is interspersed between two high-grade lodes of Surefire’s other metal pursuit, vanadium – which is typically used in steelmaking and increasingly in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, much like HPA.

The company boasts a total vanadium resource of 234.8 million tonnes at 0.39 per cent at Victory Bore, with 16.8 million tonnes at 0.42 per cent listed in the measured category. Victory Bore is 400km from the WA regional city of Geraldton and 35km from the town of Sandstone in the State’s lucrative Mid West region.

With two eye-catching deposits for two different types of critical minerals – both used in a red-hot EV battery market which BloombergNEF and Macquarie Bank expect to grow further – it’s not hard to see why all eyes are on Surefire’s upcoming PFS.

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