Pursuit Minerals (ASX: PUR) has ventured into vanadium after sweeping up more than a handful of projects across Finland and Sweden, as part of the company’s strategy to pursue the emerging vanadium redox battery sector.
The company has obtained mineral reservations for the Koitelainen and Karhujupukka vanadium projects in Finland’s north. And, over in central Sweden, exploration licence applications have been lodged for Sumassjon, Kramsta, Simesvallen-Svedasen, Kullberget-Storasen. An application has also been submitted for the Airijoki project in the country’s north.
Pursuit anticipates the granting process will take up to three months.
Combined, the projects encompass 735 square kilometres throughout both countries, with each at various exploration stages.
“With the localisation of the energy grid, due to increasing renewable energy production, and global transport fleets moving to electric vehicles, the world is requiring more vanadium due to its use in vanadium redox batteries,” Pursuit managing director Jeremy Read noted.
He added vanadium batteries would also have an “increasingly important” role in energy storage as the European countries begin to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040.
Finland vanadium projects
The Koitelainen project contains historic mineral estimates for two deposits including 70 million tonnes grading 0.4% vanadium, 14.4% chromium and 1.1 grams per tonne platinum group elements for Koitelainen UC, while Koitelainen V has an estimate of 15mt grading 0.2% vanadium.
Karhujupukka also has a historic estimate that comprises 5.2mt grading 0.24% vanadium, 32% iron, 6.2% titanium and 0.02% cobalt.
Pursuit plans to compile all the historic exploration data on both projects to generate targets for follow up work.
The company anticipates starting a drilling campaign towards the end of the year at Koitelainen.
Sweden vanadium projects
In Sweden, rock chip samples from historic trial mining at Simesvallen-Svedasen returned up to 0.5% vanadium and 13% titanium.
At Kramsta, previous operators estimated up to 12mt grading 0.25% vanadium, 5% titanium and 25% iron was an achievable exploration target. Pursuit plans to undertake further exploration at the project to try delineating a JORC-compliant resource.
Seven holes have been drilled at the Sumassjon project with vanadium mineralisation intersected over 200m of strike.
Pursuit will test for extensions to the mineralisation once it secures the exploration licence.
A 6km magnetic anomaly was identified at the Kullberget-Storasen project. Rock chip samples across the project returned up to 20% iron, 7.6% titanium and 1% vanadium.
In northern Sweden, the Airijoki project is 55km from the Kiruna mining town.
Exploration during the 1980s at Airijoki found vanadium. Two drill holes were undertaken with the first intersecting 6m grading 30.9% iron, 6.6% titanium and 0.36% vanadium. The second hole hit 18m grading 28.4% iron, 5.1% titanium and 0.32% vanadium.
Pursuit will carry out geological mapping and sampling to define further drill targets.
Vanadium potential in Finland and Sweden
Commenting on the company’s decision to pursue vanadium in Sweden and Finland, Mr Read said Sweden is the country where vanadium was confirmed a metal.
Also, in the past, Finland produced up to 10% of the world’s vanadium from the Mustavarra mine.
“Finland and Sweden are excellent jurisdictions in which to undertake mineral exploration and project development – ranking first and 16th, respectively, in the 2017 Fraser Institute Survey,” Mr Read said.
“All of the projects are close to reliable low-cost grid power, sealed roads and rail infrastructure, while Ferrovan has announced plans to construct a vanadium production plant at Raahe in Finland,” he added.
He said the company would spend the next few months planning and completing preparatory work across the projects in readiness for drilling between November 2018 and April 2019.
The market reacted positively to Pursuit’s vanadium news, with the company’s share price up more than 3% to A$0.15 by early afternoon.