Battery metal vanadium’s potential to contribute to the state economy was mapped out at a Queensland Exploration Council technical forum titled ‘Exploration Initiatives for the Future’, held in Brisbane.
Vanadium’s properties as a battery metal lends itself to the development of large-scale storage suitable for wind and solar farms.
There are several players in the space in North-West Queensland, currently centred around Julia Creek on the Flinders Highway between Townsville and Mount Isa.
It has a pre-feasibility study underway on a lease north of Julia Creek.
‘Bowen Basin’ of battery metals
BML Metallurgist and laboratory manager Chris Bucknell, told the forum there was 100 years’ global vanadium supply in the Toolabuc formation which stretched 750km across the north.
Mr Bucknell described it as the ‘Bowen Basin’ of battery metals.
The region was explored for its shale oil potential in the 70s.
He also touched on the practical difficulties of processing rare earths including a benefication process to address calcium gangue.
Drone vs helicopter surveys
In another address, Red River Resources described how using drones as a substitute for helicopters and aero magnetic surveys had stakeholder benefits.
Red River Resources has undertaken low-impact magnetic surveys using drones on land about 100km south-west of Cairns to look for silver, lead, zinc and indium deposits.
The company, which began mining at Thalanga west of Charters Towers in 2017, is planning a drill program at another lease near Herberton later this year.
Drone exploration has practical benefits says geological manager Steve Harper.
“We like the drone magnetic (survey) story,” he said. “It’s faster, has the same resolution and is cheaper. Farmers don’t like the aero-mag and heli-mag (aircraft) flying over their cattle.”
He says the line-of-sight operation was a drawback and the drones were hampered in higher wind conditions.
Still in the North
Matthew Haindl from Dover Castle Metals described how they were mapping a zone of future critical mineral production on a lease between Herberton and Chillagoe in Far North Queensland.
Dover Castle Metals is exploring for silver, lead and zinc and potentially one of the highest grades of indium in Australia using diamond drilling techniques on land approximately 150km west of Cairns.
- Content from the event will be published on the Queensland Resources and Exploration Gateway www.qurex.com.au.