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Surefire Resources vanadium project passes key hydro review

Updated: Apr 23

Surefire aims to produce vanadium for redox flow batteries from its Victory Bore project in WA. Credit: File

Surefire Resources is another step closer to developing its 100 per cent-owned Victory Bore vanadium play into a significant critical minerals project, with the positive completion of a hydrogeological assessment.

The company is planning an open-pit mine development at its Victory Bore project, about 400km east of the port of Geraldton, with a proposed 4 million tonnes per annum mine rate, in addition to onsite beneficiation and processing.

The hydrogeological assessment, undertaken by industry specialists Rockwater, is part of the highly-detailed work that is part of a prefeasibility study (PFS) for the company’s proposed mine. The assessment was designed to outline the groundwater occurrence, flow rates and any impacts of dewatering and the use of water at its proposed mining operation.

Significantly, it shows no predicted environmental impact from dewatering or water use. There are also no known groundwater-dependant ecosystems that could be impacted, while the impacts of any dewatering are predicted to be localised and are not expected to extend to existing station bores or wells.

The results will be fed into Surefire’s PFS, which is now in-progress. It comes at a key time when global markets are showing an increasing demand for vanadium in both traditional steel and the emerging redox batteries.

Management has confirmed that development and permitting steps are being undertaken as quickly as possible, with updates on that front expected in the coming weeks.

Victory Bore has a sizable vanadium mineral resource of 235 million tonnes grading at about 0.4 per cent vanadium oxide, including 87 million tonnes at similar grades within the higher-confidence measured and indicated categories.

The critical minerals project is also prospective for aluminium oxide — presenting an opportunity for Surefire to pivot into the lucrative high-purity alumina (HPA) market. A highly-specialised product, with less than 100 parts per million total impurities, HPA commands high prices of about $30,000 to $45,000 per tonne.

In addition to its vanadium resource, the project also boasts a maiden total aluminium oxide mineral resource of 38 million tonnes at 23.3 per cent aluminium oxide. That includes 17 million tonnes at 23.1 per cent aluminium oxide in the measured and indicated categories.

In parallel with the PFS, Surefire is conducting a separate study on the potential for the production of HPA from its waste and host rock.

The positive hydrogeological assessment news follows confirmation from Surefire on Tuesday that it had produced 99.99 per cent pure alumina in testwork from waste rock sources at its project. Aluminium oxide grades from the rock were as high as 31.4 per cent.

With that confirmation, the company has shown that it will not need to rely on expensive high alumina-content metals to boost feedstock grades and purity of the end product.

Surefire sure has a lot going on, on both the vanadium and HPA fronts, suggesting there is plenty of immediate newsflow ahead.

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