The positive news from Tando Resources’ (ASX: TNO) SPD vanadium project continues after a heliborne magnetic survey identified more “outstanding” high-grade vanadium pipe targets, which Tando now aims to rapidly explore to build a potential direct shipping ore (DSO) operation that would generate early cash flow.
Earlier this year, surface sampling of the pipes returned multiple insitu rock chips that assayed above 2% vanadium.
“The nature of these anomalies gives us another tick and adds to the preliminary exploration we’ve already carried out across the pipes,” Tando managing director Bill Oliver told Small Caps.
He noted the helicopter magnetic survey had identified more anomalies that haven’t been subjected to sampling or mapping, including a 400m by 400m cluster in the project’s north-east.
The helicopter magnetic survey also revealed the vanadium pipes are much bigger than Tando initially thought, with one particular cluster measuring 600m by 600m.
“These magnetic results strongly support our view that the pipes could be sufficient to host a DSO operation, which would be very low-cost to establish and operate,” Mr Oliver said.
“They would then be able to provide an early source of cash flow while we undertake technical and economic studies on the larger SPD vanadium deposit.”
Mr Oliver added the company was looking at flying in a heli-rig rather than bringing in one over land. He said this would enable drilling to start earlier.
SPD drilling program
As a result of the survey, Tando plans to begin drilling at the pipes at the same time as the main SPD deposit.
At the end of the last month, South African authorities gave Tando the mining right to the project, enabling a drilling campaign to begin.
The program is pencilled in for the end of August once Tando has gained shareholder approvals as well as the green light from the South African Reserve Bank.
Under the first drilling program, Tando will target the vanadium pipes, and drill 18-holes for 1,650m at the primary SPD deposit, which has a foreign SAMREC code resource of 513 million tonnes grading 0.78% vanadium.
Tando anticipates a JORC compliant resource estimate for the SPD deposit will be released by October.
A second drilling campaign at the SPD deposit is scheduled to boost the resource to measured and indicated categories, with 58 holes planned for 5,550m.
Unlocking vanadium value
Tando made its foray into the thriving vanadium arena in March this year after executing an agreement to acquire 74% of SPD.
During the June quarter, Tando rapidly advanced the project by completing due diligence and permitting.
As part of its strategy to fast-track SPD, it ended the quarter with A$4 million in cash to fund the first two drilling campaigns.
Mr Oliver said the company will commission a marketing study to ensure the project was de-risked.
Tando does anticipate the demand for vanadium redox batteries in large scale energy storage solutions will increase as the technology takes off.
Additionally, vanadium’s traditional market in the steel sector has firmed over the last two years.
As both markets vie for the material, its price has surged 200% since January this year alone, with Mr Oliver expecting this will continue to “grow strongly”.