Battery Metals

Hokkaido will harness the power of the wind and sun using vanadium redox flow battery technology.

The northern-most Japanese island of Hokkaido will host a large battery storage system to harness the power of the wind and sun, using vanadium redox flow battery technology. 

Vanadium flow batteries, which employ vanadium pentoxide, are large liquid-filled tanks that are used to store energy for the power grid. The batteries provide cost-effective solutions for power companies and utilities facing a growing need to manage the supply of wind and solar electricity, as the batteries can be used to store green energy and release it when demand peaks.

Bloomberg reports that Sumitomo Electric Industries (TYO:5802), a Japanese maker of electric wire, cables and electric monitoring systems, will set up the battery system by March 2015 at Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s (TYO:9509) Minami Hayakita substation in the town of Abira. The system will have 60 megawatt hours of storage capacity and will be installed for a three-year pilot project.

Company news

Largo Resources (TSXV:LGO), which is developing the Maracás vanadium project in Bahia, Brazil, announced last week that another construction target has been achieved, with the placing of the regrind ball mill onto its bearings. The open-pit mine is slated to begin producing in the fourth quarter of this year. Largo has an offtake agreement with Glencore Xstrata (LSE:GLEN) to receive 100 percent of production for the first six years of the mine.

According to Largo, the deposit contains the highest-grade vanadium in the world, at about 13.1 million tonnes graded 1.34 percent vanadium pentoxide, including 8.7 million tonnes graded 1.94 percent V2O5.

Stonehenge Metals (ASX:SHEannounced assay results revealing a new zone of vanadium from its Daejon uranium-vanadium project in South Korea. Results from the fifth hole of a 12-hole drilling program showed a mineralized width of 52 meters, with 47 meters graded 274 parts per million (ppm) uranium, and vanadium grades ranging from 2,900 to 7,551 parts per million.

American Vanadium (TSXV:AVCsaid on July 22 it is developing energy storage and renewable microgrids for remote communities and First Nations in Canada and the United States. The company’s Gibellini project in Nevada is currently the only vanadium mine being developed in the United States. A feasibility study was completed in 2011.

Midwest Vanadium, a subsidiary of ASX-listed Atlantic (ASX:ATI), announced that the first shipment of iron ore from its Windimurra mine in Western Australia left for China in mid-July. The company has a contract with a Chinese buyer to deliver iron ore fines, a byproduct of vanadium production from Windimurra, Mining Weekly reported.

Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) said last week that it has applied to the Mozambique government for a mining license to extract metal from its Balama graphite and vanadium project in Mozambique. After completing a scoping study on Balama West, Syrah converted the study to a feasibility study as required under Mozambique’s mining law. Environmental work is expected to be completed by October 2013. Thirty-six holes of infill drilling revealed the Ativa Zone as the highest-grade zone to date with an inferred resource of 18.56 million tonnes of graphite graded 20 percent carbon and 0.39 percent vanadium.


Securities Disclosure: I, Andrew Topf, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

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