Australian Vanadium secures new land agreement, plugs towards delayed vision


Australian Vanadium Limited, or or AVL, has signed a “new” option agreement to purchase land for its vanadium processing plant at Tenindewa, 60 kilometres east of the port city of Geraldton in Western Australia.

In both 2019 and 2020, AVL signed option agreements to purchase land for the processing plant, and is now saying this new agreement replaces the previous option agreements and allows AVL to define, subdivide and purchase a portion of the land under option.

Under the agreement, AVL is granted a licence to access the option land immediately for the purpose of drilling, engineering, surveying and excavation, it said in its statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

Back in April 2022, AVL announced its feasibility studies into a vanadium mine near Meekatharra, part of its two-pronged “pit to battery” strategy, found the mining project to be “bankable.” At the time, the company said it expected to reach financial investment decision (FID) for the mine by fourth quarter of 2022, with construction to commence in the fourth quarter of 2023.

This has not come to pass, and given the company first signed land agreements for the Tenindewa land four years ago, it would appear the company’s vision is not as easy to realise as it previously anticipated.

On top of lithium, Australia is the world’s top producer of titanium and the second largest producer of zircon and rare earth elements. Australia also has the world’s largest reserves of rutile (titanium), zircon (zirconium) and tantalum. Our reserves of critical minerals like antimony, cobalt, lithium, manganese ore, niobium, tungsten and vanadium, rank in the top five globally.

Image: Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre

AVL is not the only vanadium hopeful in Australia to face delays. In 2022, Perth-based mining technology company TNG Limited, owner of the major vanadium Mount Peake Project in the Northern Territory, had its leadership team ousted in what was described as a  “masterclass” in shareholder activism.

TNG Mount Peake Project location map
Tivan, formerly TNG, is developing the Mount Peake Project which will see high-purity Vanadium Pentoxide mined north of Alice Springs and processed in Darwin.

Image: TNG

Grant Wilson, a former Australia Financial Review columnist and hedge fund manager, took over as the company’s new director after running a campaign criticising the slow progress of the Mount Peake project, which promised to begin construction in 2018 but was still finalising engineering and approvals some four years later.

There are currently just a handful of vanadium mines operating in the world, with Australia home to some of the world’s biggest untapped deposits.

In June this year, critical minerals company Vecco Group celebrated the official opening of Australia’s first commercial-scale vanadium battery electrolyte manufacturing facility in Townsville. The vanadium used in that production will initially be imported, but like AVL and TNG (now renamed Tivan), Vecco is developing its own mine to feed into the processing and manufacturing arm of its business. It is hoping for its Debella Critical Minerals Mine, located near Julia Creek, about 650 kilometres west of Townsville, to begin production in 2024.

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