Largo Resources Looks to Put Vanadium on the Map
Canadian miner Largo Resources has been quietly gearing up for production at its Maracas vanadium project in Bahia, Brazil. The company, which specializes in vanadium – a unique metal used to make steel stronger and lighter, expects the project to capture 7.5 percent of the global market within a year.
"It is one of the first vanadium mines that will be going into production in a long time," said president and CEO Mark Brennan. The company has invested $300 million in the mine, which is located in the Maracas region.
“Of every commodity, there is one best deposit and for vanadium it is Maracas. It is the richest, highest-grade vanadium deposit in the world.”
The Maracas deposit has a proven and probable reserve of 13.1-million tons, grading 1.34 percent vanadium pentoxide, 24.6-million tons, grading 1.11 percent in the measured and indicated categories, and 30.4-million tons, grading 0.83 percent in the inferred category.
Largo Resources expects the mine to reach an output rate of 9,600 t/y of vanadium pentoxide within the next 12 months. A second phase of expansion will see output rise to 14,400 t/y within the next three years, giving the company the ability to supply 10 percent of the global demand.
"Asia will be the fastest-growing market for vanadium, led by China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia," said Brennan.
"India is producing low-quality steel, but they are the world's second largest steel producer after China. Over a period of time, we expect India's consumption of vanadium to also increase.”
While the Maracas project took nearly seven years to develop, Brennan and company expect big things in the horizon.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.