While vanadium has been used to strengthen steel for decades, recently it has gained importance in the energy metals sector. The development of vanadium redox flow batteries is set to play a key role in storing electric power on a grid scale, thus solving the problem of storing power from intermittent sources such as wind turbines and solar panels.
Vanadium redox flow batteries are scalable, not flammable and do not gradually lose their capacity, which should mean longer working lives (20 years) and therefore lower costs. Other growing applications include pollution reduction catalysts, super-conducting magnets, solid-state car batteries, and automobile chassis.
According to a January 2018 Bloomberg article, the vanadium pentoxide price soared more than 130% in 2017, outperforming better-known battery components such as cobalt, lithium and nickel. Vanadium pentoxide is currently trading at US $14/lb. It has been forecast that the global energy storage market will double six times between 2016 and 2030.
Envisaging how vanadium redox battery developments will play out in the near future, Prophecy Development Corp.’s business plan is to advance the leased Gibellini primary vanadium mining project in northeastern Nevada to production. There are not many primary vanadium deposits and Prophecy is fortunate to have acquired the advanced-stage, road-accessible Gibellini Project, located about 25 miles south of Eureka in the Battle Mountain region, one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world. As there is not a primary vanadium mine in the country, the U.S. Geological Survey has listed vanadium as one of 23 critical mineral resources.
A November 2017 independent report prepared by consultants Amec Foster Wheeler E&C Services Inc. on the Gibellini Project stated there is an estimated 49.62 million pounds of vanadium pentoxide in the measured category and 79.67 million pounds of vanadium pentoxide in the indicated category, plus 37.27 million pounds inferred.
To advance the project, Prophecy has teamed up with a technology partner – Northwest Nonferrous Metals Mining Group Co., Ltd. (NWME). NWME’s work includes technical design and engineering of vanadium ore processing facilities to recover vanadium pentoxide at Gibellini with the goal of producing a high-grade vanadium pentoxide commercial product on site.
NWME owns and is currently operating the world’s largest black-shale vanadium mine in China with an environmentally friendly, hydrometallurgical leach processing technology without the need of a pre-roasting step.
Prophecy has now begun environmental and permitting work with both the state and federal regulatory agencies. A plan of operation accompanied by baseline studies is expected to be filed in Q2 2018 along with state permit applications.
With baseline and feasibility work carried out by a previous project operator, Prophecy anticipates significant cost and time savings in Environmental Impact Statement preparation and the state permitting process. At the same time, the company expects to receive an independent economic study in April that demonstrates the robustness of the Gibellini Project at recent vanadium pentoxide prices. A 2011 Feasibility Study based on vanadium price of US $10.80/lb indicated robust economics at that time. With vanadium prices is 30% higher than in 2011 Prophecy expects even better NPV and IRR numbers, given the lower tax brackets.
A combination of expedited permitting, favourable tax environment and permitting environment, and excellent team in place with a great technology partner that’s well-endowed technically and financially, the company has a solid footing to transition and transform Gibellini into the first vanadium mine in North America.
Under the leadership of John Lee, who holds degrees in both economics and engineering from Rice University, Prophecy has assembled all the necessary components to enable it to build and operate the Gibellini vanadium mine. With vanadium redox batteries poised to be the leading choice for grid scale energy storage, the company is now taking the steps to bring this important project to production.
Prophecy Development has 7.47 million shares outstanding (fully diluted 10.87 million shares). The company has approximately $3.5 million in its treasury.
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CEO John Lee firstname.lastname@example.org