Technology Metals Australia (ASX: TMT) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with China’s Big Pawer Electrical Technology Xiangyang Inc regarding end uses for high-quality vanadium produced from its large-scale Gabanintha project in Western Australia.
The MoU covers the establishment of a five-year binding offtake agreement for the supply and purchase of Gabanintha vanadium pentoxide, delivering certainty on customer engagement and volume of product sales and creating a foundation for Gabanintha’s financing and development.
Under the terms of the offtake deal, Big Pawer will purchase up to 1,000 tonnes per annum of vanadium pentoxide during the ramp-up and commissioning phase of the project and an ongoing annual quantity of up to 5,000tpa, subject to product availability.
In May 2019, secured a similar vanadium offtake deal with Chinese rare metal manufacturer CNMC Ningxia Orient Group Company.
Also part of the MoU, is the formation of a joint venture to investigate opportunities for vanadium electrolyte production and the potential development of a vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) manufacturing base in Australia.
The base would call on Big Pawer’s research, development and manufacturing capabilities and allow Technology Metals to combine its premium vanadium product with proprietary and proven VRFB technology.
Technology Metals managing director Ian Prentice said it will be the first step in establishing a downstream value add industry targeting the rapidly emerging stationary storage battery market in Australia.
“Our vision is for the very high purity Gabanintha vanadium product to play a significant role in the development of our domestic VRFB industry and this MoU marks a key first step in achieving that vision,” he said.
“The diversification of [our] customer base is also a key support for the development of this globally-significant project,” he added.
Vanadium is considered a critical mineral by WA’s state government and has a key role to play in the efficient and effective deployment of renewable energy.
It is a key component in battery technology and renewables storage and has been influential in forming the WA Future Battery Industry Strategy, launched in January 2019.
Vanadium’s strategic importance to the Australian economy has been recognised with its inclusion on the federal government’s list of critical minerals, further underlined with the establishment of the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office this year.
VRFB technology focuses on a rechargeable flow battery, which employs vanadium in different oxidation states to store energy.
It provides an efficient storage and re-supply solution for renewable energy – being able to time-shift large amounts of previously-generated energy for later use – and is suited for micro-grid to large-scale energy storage solutions (grid stabilisation).
Big Pawer launched into VRFB technology development in 2009 and five years later, had established its industrial production platform.
The company currently has 19 patents covering the technology’s key components and has to date, deployed over 20 VRFB bases across Asia, including Singapore, South Korea and India.
Big Pawer is considered amongst the top three VRFB enterprises in China.
At mid-morning, shares in Technology Metals were trading 25% higher at $0.15.