Protean Energy (ASX: POW) has posted what the company calls a “significant” vanadium resource upgrade for its 50%-owned Daejon vanadium and uranium project in South Korea.
The combined resource for the project now sits at 37.1 million tonnes at 3,000 parts per million vanadium pentoxide (0.30%) and 120ppm uranium oxide (0.012%) for 248 million pounds of vanadium (112,490 tonnes) and 10Mlbs of uranium (4,535t).
The resource is based on a 2,000ppm vanadium cut-off and results from a phase one portable XRF and assaying campaign at the project.
This update follows from the maiden resource released in 2013, which was calculated using historical data and results from five diamond drill holes.
The 2013 maiden resource comprised 17Mlb of vanadium with contained uranium at 35.7Mlb.
According to Protean, the reduction in the contained uranium resulted from the absence of some portable XRF data that remains to be collected.
Daejon vanadium-uranium project
The updated Daejon resource includes 40% of the project’s known 8.3km of strike and a second assaying campaign is targeting the remaining 60% of strike and is due to wind up “imminently”.
A resource upgrade will then be reported for the 22.8 square kilometre project.
In addition to resource expansion activities, Protean is investigating processing methods for Daejon mineralisation based on conventional pathways used to beneficiate Chinese “stone coal” deposits.
Unlike magnetite hosted vanadium deposits which account for 95% of the world’s vanadium, Daejon mineralisation is sediment hosted shale vanadium.
The company claims this form of vanadium mineralisation has the potential to produce a high-purity vanadium pentoxide. Stone coal processing techniques have successfully boosted the grade in this type of vanadium up to five times, with an average upgrade of 300%.
Protean aims to begin a pre-feasibility study on Daejon in the first quarter of 2019, with offtake partner discussions to begin in the latter half of this year.
Vanadium battery technology
As well as advancing Daejon, Protean is investigating the vanadium and uranium potential in two other 50%-owned South Korean assets: Miwon and Gwesan.
The company’s strategy is to eventually use the minerals as feedstock for its 50% owned patented V-KOR vanadium redox flow battery and energy storage technology.
Protean says its V-KOR technology stores energy and has a greater life span than existing batteries on the market.
The technology has been under development for the last decade and four stack battery sizes have been created so far including 2.5 kilo watts, 5kW, 10kW and 25kW.
To assist with advancing the technology, the Korean Government awarded Protean’s 50% owned subsidiary KORID Energy, which is producing the technology, a A$120,000 grant.
The grant is funding a Western Australian-based 25kW/100kWh vanadium redox flow battery trial in a micro grid setting, with the first Australian V-KOR battery deployed last month.
Results from the trial are anticipated before the end of the year.
By early afternoon trade, shares in Protean had slipped 3% to A$0.031.