Surefire Drilling Firms Up Monster WA Vanadium Resource

Surefire Resources has completed a little over 5km of infill drilling at its Victory Bore project with all the early signs suggesting the company could be set to add to what is already a monster vanadium resource in WA’s Mid West region.
The 5188m of closely spaced RC infill drilling covering 1.4km of strike was designed to upgrade confidence in the resource and provide samples for metallurgical test work to feed into the company’s ongoing pre-feasibility study into the project’s development.
Using portable XRF analytical results and geological logs from its latest efforts with the drill bit, Surefire has produced a preliminary geological model that confirms continuity of its mineralised vanadium zones. In addition, the company has logged base metal sulphides in its RC drill chips inspiring it to investigate nickel-cobalt-copper as a potential by-product. Surefire is also contemplating generating additional revenue via a sulphide concentrate that could be produced from flotation of its vanadium-magnetite tailings.
Whilst the portable XRF analyses are considered insufficient in reporting assay grades the XRF data was successfully used to guide the drilling. The laboratory assays that remain pending will also reveal further information about its base metal observations.
Surefire Resources Chief Executive Officer, Cain Fogarty said: “The initial geological interpretation is encouraging, because the deposit shows excellent geometry and continuity of mineralisation with a relatively thin weathered overburden, which we expect will support favourable mining conditions.”
The Victory Bore deposit already has an inferred mineral resource of 151 million tonnes at 0.44 per cent vanadium pentoxide, 25 per cent iron and 6.73 per cent titanium dioxide. In conjunction with Surefire’s smaller Unaly Hill resource to the south-west, the two projects form the company’s combined Victory Bore-Unaly Hill vanadium project. Combined, the twin deposits contain one of the largest vanadium pentoxide resources in WA with an inferred mineral resource of 237 million tonnes grading 0.43 per cent vanadium pentoxide, 24.9 per cent iron and 5.9 per cent titanium dioxide representing a whopping 2.263 billion pounds of contained vanadium pentoxide.
The two deposits sit within a layered gabbro with multiple stacked vanadium-titanium-magnetite-rich layers up to 80m wide. The company has established excellent continuity between drill holes and quite incredibly still has 20km of the broad structure to drill which remains largely untested illustrating the significant exploration upside it has on its hands.
In May, Surefire updated the beneficiation costs of an earlier scoping study and confirmed the project’s economic viability using the prevailing vanadium pentoxide flake price of US$11.10 per pound.
Prices reached a fever pitch in mid-March this year peaking above US$12 per pound, however according to the Shanghai Metals Market, today the price of vanadium pentoxide flake is sitting at US$16,831 per tonne, equating to US$7.63 per pound.
Vanadium has traditionally been used to create steel alloys, nuclear reactors and aircraft carriers however its use in the production of vanadium redox flow batteries has recently brought it to the forefront of a nascent and bubbling industry.
In the renewable energy space, these batteries are often used to store electricity for utility networks, commercial premises and industrial sites. The devices are also used to store energy generated by solar and wind-powered systems.
Whilst the prices may have pulled back, according to many analysts the long-term outlook for the specialty metal remains strong. Technavio Research group suggests the global vanadium market, as measured by total production, will grow by 28,310 tonnes from a base of 73,000 tonnes from 2020 to 2024. With an already huge resource on its hands and massive potential yet to be tested, it would seem Surefire is perfectly placed to take advantage of the expected global uptake to come.