Aura Energy (ASX: AEE) has identified a near-surface high-grade vanadium zone at its Häggån battery metals project in Sweden.
The zone was discovered after an ore body modelling study, which also confirmed the presence of 2.6 billion tonnes grading 0.26% vanadium for 15.1 billion pounds of contained vanadium mineralisation at the project.
However, the modelling defined what Aura Energy claims is a “significant” high-grade vanadium zone of 90Mt grading 0.42% vanadium from 20m, using a 0.40% cut-off. The high-grade zone contains about 0.8 billion pounds of vanadium.
Additionally, the majority of the higher-grade mineralisation starts at 20m below surface and extends to a 100m depth.
“The discovery that a large high-grade vanadium zone exists close to surface in the Häggån deposit provides a significant boost to the economics of this battery metals project,” Aura executive chairman Peter Reeve said.
“Clearly, this newly defined high-grade zone provides an excellent location to start an open pit, which will result in the rare event of mining the best ore grades from the very start of the project,” Mr Reeve added.
Aura Energy claims the 15 billion pounds of vanadium makes Häggån one of the world’s largest known vanadium resources.
Häggån battery metals project
In addition to its vanadium mineralisation, Häggån also contains economical levels of nickel, zinc and molybdenum as well as other battery metals.
The vanadium price has been gradually climbing since 2015 from its bottom that year of almost US$2 per pound for 98% vanadium pentoxide flake to the 22 May 2018 closing price US$14/lb for the same product.
As a result of the price increase, Aura Energy shifted its focus at Häggån to vanadium, which resulted in the updated vanadium resource.
According to Aura Energy, the high-grade vanadium zone extends about 1km in north-south and east-west direction, with several blocks contained vanadium grades higher than 0.40% within 20m of surface.
“To put this in context, if Häggån were to produce approximately 5% of the current global vanadium production, we would be able to mine this high-grade pod for around 20 years, from resource blocks containing over 0.4% vanadium,” Mr Reeve said.
“And mining would not have to go deeper than approximately 100m for the first 15 years of production,” Mr Reeve added.
By late afternoon trade, Aura Energy’s share price had risen 15% to A$0.023.