Lithium explorer and technology developer Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has debuted a “significant” maiden vanadium resource for its Youanmi project in Western Australia.
The maiden resource is located on an exploration licence that Lithium Australia has an option to purchase and totals 185 million tonnes at 0.33% vanadium pentoxide.
Within the estimate is an oxide resource of 96Mt at 0.34% vanadium pentoxide.
The maiden vanadium resource was calculated using 41 historic drill holes that were carried out in 1999.
According to Lithium Australia, the vanadium mineralisation at Youanmi is shallow and continues to the east into Venus Metals’ (ASX: VMC) project which has a vanadium oxide resource of 134.73Mt at 0.34% vanadium pentoxide.
Venus Metals’ test work on its own Youanmi ore has revealed the vanadium, along with nickel, cobalt and copper can be leached from the oxide material with sulphuric acid.
Lithium Australia will undertake its own metallurgical test work on its Youanmi ore to evaluate the potential of direct leaching the vanadium and other base metals.
With pegmatites also identified at the project, Lithium Australia plans to undertake drilling at both the vanadium and lithium targets, with the campaign planned to kick off in the September quarter.
Although focused on lithium minerals and battery technologies, Lithium Australia has outlined a secondary strategy to pursue vanadium minerals, with the company noting vanadium flow batteries represent an alternative technology in the surging energy storage sector.
“While Lithium Australia does not consider vanadium a core part of its business, it has also taken prospective ground near the Coates vanadium deposit, located about 35km to the east of Perth, WA, and is undertaking regional regolith sampling along the Darling Range,” the company stated.
Multi-element geochemistry has been completed on 7,000 samples to-date to detect lithium, vanadium, and other base metals.
As part of the vanadium strategy, Lithium Australia is also looking at potentially forming partnerships to boost its vanadium position.
“Already, the company’s formation of strategic alliances has added significantly to its capacity in both the battery manufacturing and battery recycling fields, and its strong resource position with respect to vanadium offers a similar opportunity,” the company explained.