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Aussie explorer stumbles upon rare metal in Ngamiland

MBONGENI MGUNI
A rare metal, with immense applications particularly for gigawatt-scale electricity storage, has been uncovered in western Ngamiland, with an Australian company leading efforts to assess the scale of the find and its accessibility. Vanadium, whose prices range between $38 and $76 per kilogramme, has been called “the metal the world needs, but does not produce”.

At present, 85% of the world’s vanadium is produced by South Africa, Russia and China, with the Oriental giant also the biggest consumer.

Batteries based on vanadium are capable of far greater storage than the lithium variety and are increasingly viewed as supporting for solar, other renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, off-grid farms and mines amongst others. 

Vanadium batteries, unlike lithium, can be discharged and recharged 20,000 times without much loss of performance and are thought to last decades.  Mount Burgess, an Australian company that has been hunting for zinc and silver in western Ngamiland since 2003, this week announced that it had confirmed the presence of vanadium in sites previously explored in 1982.

Mt Burgess CEO, Nigel

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Forrester said significant vanadium grades were being intersected in the area at shallow levels, within an area also indicating the presence of zinc, silver and lead.

“At the Nxuu Deposit (western Ngamiland) it is now becoming evident that significant vanadium grades are being intersected at shallow depths outside of the currently known zones of significant zinc, lead and silver mineralisation. Future drilling programmes will be designed to test outer regions of the currently known zones of mineralisation,” Forrester said.

He said Mt Burgess was looking at sourcing funding to conduct a drilling programme to facilitate estimation of an indicated resource at Nxuu, following which the company would move to a pre-feasibility study on the project.



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