The Company has a 100% interest in granted and pending Mineral Exploration Permits and 100% of the metal rights to one Mineral Development Licence covering a total of 1,550km² near Richmond and Julia Creek in North West Queensland. The tenements cover large areas of Cretaceous Toolebuc Formation.
In September 2017 the Company finalised a strategic development JV with AXF Resources Pty Ltd (“AXF”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the AXF Group (http://www.axfresources.com.au/)
Details of the HoA between the parties include:
- AXF to sole fund and manage A$6m of technical beneficiation and commercialisation studies over 4 years to earn a 75% interest in the project;
- Intermin free carried to study completion;
- AXF purchased an initial stake in Intermin via subscription for $430,000 in Intermin shares at 12c per share with a 1 for 2 option with a strike price of 17c and expiry of 31 August 2018.
Since 2006 Intermin has actively explored the region and defined the world’s largest known vanadium deposit hosted within weathered calcareous oil shales between surface and 15 metres vertical depth. Below this depth the Toolebuc oil shale is fresh and contains organic (kerogen) content capable of generating >60 litres of oil per tonne of shale. Both the weathered and fresh oil shale horizons contain significant vanadium, molybdenum, nickel and copper metal.
The JORC 2004 Mineral Resource Estimate for the Richmond Project including areas of the Mineral Development Licence (owned by Global Oil Shale PLC (“GOS”); Under an agreement with GOS, Intermin retains beneficial ownership of all minerals other than oil shale recovered from the assigned tenements) was;
Measured, Indicated & Inferred (Oxide) –
- 5.308 Billion tonnes grading 0.375% V2O5 + 295 g/t MoO3
Over 3.3 Billion tonnes of the Resource is held directly within the Richmond project. These oxide resources have been defined in only a small portion of the area known to host vanadium and molybdenum (V/Mo) mineralisation in the region. There is potential for the definition of much larger Resources at depth and along strike.
Metallurgical work on the project since inception has focused on upgrading the fresh oil shale by mineral dressing procedures. The aim is to produce a high grade Kerogen concentrate which can be further processed to release its oil content leaving an ash containing high levels of V/Mo for metal recovery.
AXF have recently collected approximately 1.2 tonnes of vanadium ore for dispatch to research laboratories in China to conduct detailed metallurgical testwork. Testwork and reporting is expected to take around 18 – 20 weeks after samples arrive.
In addition to account for recent changes to tenement boundaries and JORC reporting, the compilation of an updated Mineral Resource Estimate has commenced and is expected to be completed in the December Quarter.
Richmond-Julia Creek Project showing the current project tenements and Intermin’s previous Resource area, (where the previous Resource area lies outside the current project tenements it is not part of the project)
Richmond – Julia Creek Project Lilyvale prospect area drill hole section showing average thickness and metal grades
Vanadium is used globally as an industrial element with a variety of common applications and its demand is growing due to the advancement of new technologies such as the energy storage industry whereby vanadium is a key player in the grid scale storage of solar and wind energy.
Vanadium is ductile with good structural strength, has a natural resistance to corrosion and stability against alkalis, acids and salt water. The most common uses for vanadium today are:
- Steel Alloys – high strength low alloy steel (HSLA), high carbon steel alloys (HSS), rebar and structured beams and high speed tools and surgical instruments;
- Chemicals – catalysts for sulphuric acid and synthetic rubber production, catalytic converters to remove sulphur dioxide and NOx catalysts;
- Titanium Alloys – Ti-6Al-4V in airframes, jet engines, personal transports and dental implants; and
- Energy Storage – vanadium electrolyte, grid scale vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB), lithium-vanadium based batteries for electric vehicles.
Traditionally the main uses for vanadium by volume is the steel industry because when it is alloyed with other metals it provides unrivalled hardness and strength. In recent decades with the development of VRFB’s consumption of vanadium is estimated to increase significantly into the future to meet renewable energy sector demands. Major global corporations including Sumitomo and Siemens are at the forefront of VRFB technology.
Demand for vanadium in traditional applications is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6% p.a. through 2020 as a result of moderating growth rates in global steel production and ongoing substitution of C-Mn steel with vanadium bearing HSLA steels. In 2017 so far prices for vanadium pentoxide and ferrovanadium have risen over 25% to 4-year highs.
Energy storage applications have the potential to increase global vanadium consumption by more than 27,000t p.a. or more than 30% of the current market by 2020. In the near term there are limited potential new sources for vanadium and the existing supply base is threatened by instability in the Chinese steel industry currently.
For recent global vanadium production and consumption estimates and further details on the industry please visit the Vanitec website; http://vanitec.org/. Vanitec brings together representatives of companies and organisations involved in the mining, processing, manufacture, research and use of vanadium and vanadium-containing products.
How a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery Works
A VRFB is a type of rechargeable flow battery where rechargeability is provided by vanadium electrolyte dissolved in solution. Vanadium is both the cathode (-) and anode (+) in VRFB technology.
Two tanks of vanadium electrolyte, one side containing V2+ and V3+ions, the other side containing V4+ and V5+ ions, are separated by a thin proton exchange membrane. Pumps on both sides circulate the electrolyte.
The electron differential between the two cells generates electric power.
There is no cross contamination in VRFB’s like most batteries as electrolyte in the catholyte and the anolyte consists of 100% vanadium ions. The ion sensitive membrane separating both sides of the electrolyte tank allows only protons to pass.
VRFB’s are scalable to meet an unlimited range of storage capacity.