Surefire Clears Runway Towards Mining WA Vanadium Deposit

Surefire Resources is one step closer to obtaining a mining licence at its Victory Bore vanadium project in WA’s Mid West with a baseline environmental study revealing no early hurdles in the approvals process.
The important approvals clearance comes after the company engaged the services of local Onshore Environmental Consultants to conduct a detailed flora and vegetation survey and desktop vertebrate fauna assessment over its tenure in the heart of the Murchison bioregion.
A total of eight vegetation types from six broad floristic formations were mapped over the study area. Encouragingly, no threatened species were identified, providing a much needed stepping stone towards permitting and approval for mining at the Victory Bore deposit.
Surefire is sitting on one of Australia’s biggest undeveloped deposits of vanadium with a mineral resource of 321 million tonnes averaging 0.39 per cent vanadium pentoxide housed in the Victory Bore and Unaly Hill deposits.
Additionally, the company has etched out a JORC-compliant exploration target within the vicinity of 682 million tonnes to 1.19 billion tonnes at 0.2 per cent to 0.43 per cent vanadium pentoxide – numbers which would lob the deposit firmly into world-class status.
Recent petrographic studies commissioned by Surefire confirmed the company’s Victory Bore magnetite deposit could provide clean vanadium concentrate with relatively low titanium and deleterious elements.
Management has previously said the resource’s excellent metallurgical properties, plus the economic benefits from bulk mining and preconcentration beneficiation, would put the project at the “low end” of the cost curve.
Vanadium has traditionally been used in high-strength, low-alloy steel, however the current hype surrounding the metal is due to its central role in creating the vanadium redox flow batteries that are suited to large, grid-scale energy storage solutions.
Guidehouse Insights predicts demand for vanadium batteries, backed by the global surge towards net zero, will grow 800 per cent to US$7.76 billion (AU$11.6 billion) by 2031.
Adding to the list of critical metals at Victory Bore, early sample results announced last month from waste rock surrounding Surefire’s high-grade vanadium deposit have returned grades of up to 31 per cent aluminium oxide.
The discovery immediately prompted the company to appoint Queensland-based consultancy Lava Blue to start purification testwork on samples of its aluminium-rich material. It has sparked new hopes of being able to produce a high-purity alumina (HPA) product of almost perfect purity.
Demand for HPA is gaining momentum globally as the product is an essential ingredient in light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The adoption of LEDs as a lighting alternative is being fuelled by a global ban on the manufacturing of compact fluorescent light bulbs, which is being slated for November this year.
HPA is also being used more regularly within ceramic-coated separators in lithium-ion batteries, driving further demand on the back of the surging electric vehicle market.
The collection of positive outcomes from the environmental baseline study and recent metallurgical testwork, coupled with surging demand, will bode well as Surefire prepares to weave a prefeasibility study into its high-grade Victory Bore vanadium deposit.