Viking Mines embarks on overseas alliance expedition

Vanadium explorer Viking Mines (ASX:VKA) is actively engaging with battery manufacturers, including a US-based company, to discuss potential collaboration and synergies. 

Speaking to Mining.com.au, Managing Director Julian Woodcock says these early stage talks form part of Viking’s proactive strategy to better understand the whole vanadium battery supply chain. 

“The potential opportunity for Viking is twofold. Firstly to be aware of the market and where we see the battery going. But secondly, if there is an opportunity for Viking to get into a collaborative partnership with a supplier that makes these batteries overseas, but wants to break into the Australian market, that would dovetail well with our project as a potential future source of local vanadium and electrolyte.

It’s to our benefit. If there is an increased uptake in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) and an awareness of them, it will drive the demand for the technology and subsequently the commodity. This increase in demand will be beneficial for Viking and our shareholders because there’ll be a greater awareness of the huge value of the project that we’ve got.

If we get to the point that we’re producing vanadium pentoxide, it’s not particularly difficult or capital intensive to take it the next step and produce electrolyte, which would then feed into batteries. We could be a supplier of electrolyte, and we could even be licensed and involved with looking at bringing these batteries in to Australia and brining the full benefit of the downstream value chain to our shareholders..

The MD tells this news service that generating awareness of the commodity will be beneficial for Viking to shine a spotlight on the “huge value of the project that we’ve got”.

When asked about the capabilities of VRFBs, Woodcock explains they are “workhorses”, meaning larger batteries when compared to its lithium-ion counterpart, albeit more suited to storing ‘large’ volumes of energy and releasing into the grid when it’s required.

On 17 November 2023, Viking began stage two metallurgical testwork at its Canegrass Battery Minerals Project in Western Australia in hopes of producing a vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) flake. 

Recoveries from the testwork were posted up to 54.6%, demonstrating limited sensitivity to grind size.

Viking Mines is a critical and battery minerals explorer focused on its Western Australian assets. 

The company is growing and consolidating the land position in this recognised lithium district. The total land position stands at 493km-square, with 281km-square granted tenure and 213km-square under application. Application E30/570 is going through the approvals process whilst E30/571 was subject to a ballot on 31 January in Kalgoorlie. 

Viking was successful in 2 of the 4 ballots, securing additional tenure adjacent to Ora Banda Mining (ASX:OBM) which has recently divested the Lithium rights into a JV with Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers for $26 million. The company has been advised by the lab, that due to an unforeseen backlog of results over the holiday period, the First Hit Auger results have been delayed until February. 

The company completed an extensive auger drill program and collected 1,220 samples over a 26km strike length of the Ida Fault which tests more than 55k-square of tenure.

The company’s Canegrass Project sits in the Murchison region about 620km northeast of Perth and can be accessed via roads from the nearby township of Mt Magnet to within 22km of existing resources. 

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Viking Mines
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.