Sunday, September 24, 2017

Green Energy and Vanadium

Research on batteries has become a big deal as our electric energy systems are going through major changes. One promising battery technology for power storage has been vanadium batteries ( I got a view of one potential source for vanadium on the very southern end of the Fish Creek Range in central Nevada. The southern end of the Fish Creeks protrude above the alluvial fans of the Antelope Range where the two ranges semi overlap.

Test trench spoil piles 

Trench showing non oxidized carbonaceous shale

Vanadium is typically a byproduct of other mining operations or processing and recycling various wastes ( This particular mining claim area at the south end of the Fish Creek Range would be specifically mined for vanadium if it moves forward.

Vanadium is associated with some petroleum compounds and in this case appears to be associated with a carbonaceous shale as it is concentrated by some biological activity (Marshal and others, 2017). Some of the testing at the site suggests some inconsistent further enrichment in the upper reduced layer of weathered rock (BMK-Amended_Technical_Report).

The deposit could be mined via open pit mining with little overburden and the rock can be easily pulverized for chemical processing. The disadvantage is the site is in a remote area, but that could be viewed as an advantage for mining and on site chemical processing permitting. How the scheme pencils out relative to other vanadium sources will determine if this deposit is mined. Like many mineral resource sites, determination to move forward will depend on market conditions and willing investors making the right or wrong analyses of the supply and demand of the resource.

My understanding of vanadium resources and mineralization is very limited. But seeing this site is a reminder that even "green" energy will require mineral exploration and mining.  

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Having worked in an open pit mine in my younger days, I think a lot about people who work in mines. Unfortunately much of our battery material comes from the developing world where mining practices are often brutal.