Less than a month after securing a handful of vanadium projects in Scandinavia, junior vanadium explorer Pursuit Minerals (ASX: PUR) says it may have stumbled upon one of the highest-grade vanadium prospects in the world, second only to the Maracas mine in Brazil and the Rhovan mine in South Africa.
Vanadium is predominantly used as a strengthening additive in steel and some forms of iron. According to the US Geological Survey, approximately 82,700 tonnes of vanadium were produced in 2014.
Pursuit said that over the past month since acquiring mineral reservations for the Koitelainen and Karhujupukka vanadium projects in Finland’s north, it had quickly set about analysing historical drilling and assay data already available. Pursuit compiled geochemical assay data from 27 drill holes, from a total of 3,784 metres of drilling done back in the 1970’s at the Koitelainen V prospect.
Furthermore, the company says that nine drill holes have been identified at Koitelainen Project which produced magnetite ranging from 2.0-3.7% vanadium and averaging 2.3% vanadium.
The 2.3% average could be incredibly significant for the small-cap explorer given that only 2 other mines currently produce vanadium at this grade.
Pursuit Minerals managing director Jeremy Read said that the V2O5 grades were “exceptional” and “indicate the highly prospective nature of the Koitelainen V prospect.”
“The magnetite concentrates produced by these nine high-grade vanadium holes at Koitelainen V place this prospect in the upper echelon of vanadium prospects globally,” Mr Read said.
In addition to the results to hand, Pusuit said that mineralisation in the eastern and central magnetic trends was “open both north-south and to the east, while the western magnetic trend is open to the south and east” which indicates Pursuit will carry out further drilling, and ultimately, intends to define a bulky high-grade resource at its newly-acquired prospects in Finland.
Exploration work ahead
Pursuit said it anticipates that data compilation will be completed in late June and the drill program will be undertaken during the next winter field season from November 2018 until April 2019.
According to Pursuit, it will compile a list of all historical exploration work undertaken on the Koitelainen intrusion by the end of next month. The focus of the follow-up work will be to locate areas of vanadium mineralisation within the Koitelainen UC reef and Koitelainen V area, and “focus exploration on areas where mineralisation increases in thickness to widths that are potentially suitable to open pit extraction”.
Drilling will then be conducted to test areas of thickened vanadium mineralisation.
Pursuit potentially has its hands on one of the most encouraging vanadium projects anywhere in the world, although the company’s findings remain highly indicative at this stage given the huge amount of data compilation and actual drilling that remains outstanding in northern Finland.
As a comparison to Pursuit’s peers, Tando Resources (ASX: TNO) recently announced that its SPD vanadium project in South Africa produces magnetite concentrates averaging 2.0% vanadium while Australian Vanadium’s Gabanintha project produces magnetite concentrates averaging 1.43% vanadium.
If Pursuit can substantiate its early estimates with multiple assay results further down the track, the junior explorer will be able to make rapid progress in the comparative stakes amongst other vanadium explorers.
Despite the early-stage nature of Pursuit’s vanadium estimates, investors received today’s news with glee and bought up Pursuit shares to as high as $0.14 per share, up around 30% on the day.