Exploration company Tando Resources (ASX: TNO) has intersected a mineralised unit in the first two holes of its maiden drilling campaign at the SPD vanadium project in South Africa.
The first diamond drill hole (VDD001) intersected the mineralisation between 32 metres and 49m downhole, while the first RC drill hole (VCR001) intersected it from surface.
Comprising a series of magnetite layers established as the host rock for the vanadium mineralisation at SPD, the intersected mineralisation is based on visual identification of magnetite in diamond core and RC chips.
Both drill holes are close to historical holes which have returned high-grade vanadium whole rock assays and generated “excellent vanadium grades” in magnetic concentrate.
Tando managing director Bill Oliver said the intersections have been a promising start to the campaign.
“The first two holes mark the ideal start to our drilling program due to their correlation with historic drilling results and we look forward to strong results continuing through the rest of the program,” he said.
Proximity to historical holes
Hole VDD001 is located 150m from historical drill hole SPD014 which returned whole rock/pre-concentrate assays of 25 metres at 0.67% vanadium oxide, with samples from the same interval generating a magnetic concentrate grading 1.99% vanadium oxide.
VDD001 is also 170m from historical hole SFR008, which returned assays of 44m at 0.66% vanadium oxide and generated an “outstanding magnetic concentrate grade” of 2.26% from the same interval.
Hole VRC001 is 150m from historical hole SFR007, which returned strong assays of 22m at 0.80% vanadium oxide and a magnetic concentrate grading 2.03%, and 150m from historical hole SFR009, which returned assays of 23m at 0.65% vanadium oxide and a magnetic concentrate grading 2.20%.
The SPD vanadium project is located in a similar geological setting to the Rhovan mine (owned by Glencore), Vametco mine (Bushveld Minerals) and the currently-dormant Mapochs mine (International Resources) in the Gauteng and Limpopo provinces of South Africa.
Tando is conducting a $1.4 million reverse circulation and diamond drilling campaign at SPD focused on converting the existing high-grade resource to JORC status, as well as testing the potential of the surrounding high-grade vanadium pipes to support a direct shipping ore operation.
Phase 1 will comprise 18 holes for 1650m at SPD, where there is currently a resource of 513 million tonnes at a grade of 0.78% vanadium oxide defined under South Africa’s SAMREC code.
Phase 2 will comprise 58 holes for 5550m and will be aimed at upgrading the maiden JORC Resource to an indicated category pending positive results.
Tando said it is fully-funded for the drilling campaign as well as the follow-up metallurgical and mining studies.
Over 90% of current day demand for vanadium comes from the steelmaking industry, where the metal is used to add strength via various alloys.
Tando has targeted vanadium due to the commodity’s increasing demand in energy storage applications, specifically vanadium redox flow batteries.
Developed in Australia, VRFB technology boasts a 20-year lifespan which is substantially-longer than most current batteries, and is able to hold a charge for up to 12 months at a time.
Tando expects the forecast increase in battery usage for large-scale energy storage will lead to a significant increase in the demand for vanadium.