Element V: The Most Important Commodity You’ve Never Heard Of

written by BVM November 7, 2018
Rocket tilted at a launch site.

Forget about lithium, last year’s “White Petroleum.” It’s about to be left in the dust. The mineral of the moment is Vanadium…the key to the next energy revolution.  Analysts pegged it as the “metal to watch” in January. And they were right. The price of vanadium has soared 300% in the past three years. And one company is sitting on the only potential major U.S. deposit of Element 23: United Battery Metals

Why is it so important? Well, Vanadium is likely to displace lithium as the world’s most important battery metal. That’s according to billionaire Robert Friedland, who says there’s a revolution coming in energy storage, and it’s all thanks to Vanadium. Flow batteries, running on “liquid electricity,” are about to take the energy storage world by storm.

The White House has labeled Vanadium as a mineral crucial to national security. But there’s no domestic supply. The U.S. could fall behind, but UBM is trying to fill the gap.

Here are 5 reasons investors should take note:

#1 The Future of Energy

Vanadium redox flow batteries, or VRFB, are about to become the foundation of energy storage. Robert Friedland, legendary mining billionaire and recipient of the 2017 Northern Miner’s Lifetime Achievement Award, knows vanadium is revolutionary, evolutionary, and a technology dream come true. “The beauty of the vanadium redox battery is that you can charge and discharge it at the same time, something that can’t be done with a lithium battery.”

A study completed last year by the Imperial College London found that flow batteries beat out their lithium competitors: they would require an investment of only $4 billion to reach a level lithium could only reach after $94 billion. And the demand for Vanadium is expected to skyrocket, which is why prices have been climbing all year, doubling since September 2017 and United Battery Metals is positioning itself to benefit from the coming boom.

 

#2 Global Battle for Element 23

The power of vanadium is no secret. In fact, vanadium steel has been around for a while. Lighter and stronger than other metal alloys, it’s used in the manufacturing of complex components in airplanes, high performance cars and rocket engines.

China is leading the way. It wants to launch multiple VRFB pilot projects, with 100 MW-scale VRFBs in place by 2020. This $500 million installation will triple China’s grid-connected battery storage capacity.

China has already started construction on the biggest battery in the world, a 200-MW 800-megawatt/ hour storage station in Dalian province. The battery will be charged with wind power and will utilize VRFB technology to store more power for longer, resulting in a stable energy grid without any fossil fuels or lithium.

To compete, the U.S. needs its own Vanadium supply. And that’s where United Battery Metals aims to come in…

#3 American Vanadium

United Battery Metals is unique among American mining companies: it’s sitting on top of an estimated resource of 2,640,000 pounds of vanadium according to a report prepared in 2013 by Anthony Adkins who is a qualified professional geologist.

UBM’s mining team had a hunch. Where there’s uranium, there’s usually vanadium close by, as the two minerals tend to be found in close proximity.

The current estimated total deposit as per the previous 43-101 report could be huge, as big as 2.64 million pounds of vanadium, with a current market price of $50 million for mined product. But that’s just the beginning, based on previous efforts to uncover uranium. The UBM team has new exploration underway that focuses JUST on vanadium.

More than 700 holes have been dug by previous miners, and there’s plenty of local infrastructure in place to move the product to market with less than the usual extensive capex.

#4 Team Vanadium

There’s a team at United Battery Metals ready to turn vanadium dreams into a reality. President and CEO Matthew Rhoades is an accomplished professional geologist with thirty years of extensive experience in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and South America.

Advisor, Eric Saderholm, is another mining professional with three decades of experience, and a man who has added millions of ounces of gold to reserve bases in Nevada, Washington, and Peru. Mr. Saderholm worked with Newmont Mining as their exploration manager for the entire western region of the U.S. His skills and access to potential new properties add tremendous value to the company’s portfolio.

UBM has a potential major find on its hands: what could possibly be one of the first productive vanadium mines in the United States.

#5 The Future is Already Here

There are powerful reasons to expect the vanadium market to surge in the coming months.

Right now, the Chinese are leaps and bounds ahead in the VRFB race. They’re building the world’s biggest battery, the size of 20 soccer fields, and they want hundreds more just like it. The U.S.-Chinese trade war is heating up, and investors better believe China will buy up all the Vanadium it can find.

The U.S. could miss out, but United Battery Metals is working to meet American Vanadium needs. By 2020, the U.S. could be the largest vanadium market on the planet. This little company may be the only game in town when it comes to Vanadium mining, and its little market cap is sure to grow bigger and bigger if it starts mining the estimated 2.64 million pounds locked away at Wray Mesa.

 

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