North Queensland is sitting on a sizeable deposit of one of the world’s best performing metals.
A few hints.
It’s not gold, platinum nor rhenium.
Cobalt found in copper deposits is getting similar attention in the Isa-Carpentaria Minerals Province.
Lithium and nickel are used in smaller format products.
Got it yet?
Bloomberg is reporting that vanadium increased in price by more than 130 percent in the past calendar year.
The investor website said tightening supply and strong orders from the steel industry accounted for much of the rally.
In the meantime, it’s out west where the excitement is building.
The Flinders Highway town of Julia Creek is aglow with high anomaly levels of vanadium lying untapped in what’s known as the Toolebuc formation.
Interest was originally created around its potential as an oil shale reserve.
It rivals the world’s largest vanadium reserve in Brazil owned by Largo Reources, which produced almost 10,000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide in 2017, according to Nathan Cammerman, director of Multicom Resources.
The Brisbane-based company has applied for a mining lease 15km from Julia Creek on their St Elmo project.
Vanadium has come of age with the advent of alternative energy.
The metal can be used in industrial-scale batteries, which help to even out daily peaks and troughs from renewables like solar and wind energy.
The new 27 turbine wind farm currently under development near Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands is a good example where stored energy could be distributed at times of peak demand giving it greater utility.
The move to green energy could create a new market and start a scramble for supply, according to BMO Capital Markets, and quoted by Bloomberg.
Vanadium’s ability to increase the tensile strength of steel is well known and Bloomberg says the rally edging it past US$9lb last year has come from Chinese policy changes increasing the amount of vanadium used in construction steel in Beijing.