AIM-listed vanadium junior Bushveld Minerals has established a new 84% owned subsidiary Bushveld Energy to focus on developing and promoting the role of vanadium in the growing global energy storage market through applications in Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB).
The decision to launch the new business is because Bushveld Minerals believes the energy storage market opportunities are at a tipping point and present attractive commercial opportunities in its own right.
“Vanadium redox flow batteries are well placed to take significant share in the utility scale energy storage market.” The company has appointed Mikhail Nikomarov as Bushveld Energy CEO designate alongside adedicated management team with extensive energy (and specifically energy storage) experience.
The objective is to install several VRFB systems during 2016, build awareness of the VRFB proposition and, in the medium term, establish local assembly and manufacturing capacity, thus creating a captive market opportunity for Bushveld produced vanadium in the form of electrolyte.
Bushveld vanadium projects
Bushveld holds a significant high grade vanadium resource base through its Mokopane vanadium project in South Africa, which hosts 300 Mt of high grade low-cost primary vanadium magnetite resource.
The company has also acquired the Brits vanadium project which has a yet unquantified resource, but hosts the strike continuation of the vanadium ore body mined at Vametco Alloys’ vanadium mine.
“We are pleased to launch Bushveld Energy today and are excited as much about its prospects as an energy storage platform as its potential impact on the vanadium market,” says Bushveld CEO Fortune Mojapelo.
“Bushveld Energy is an important part of Bushveld Minerals’ stated aim to build the most vertically integrated vanadium play in the world, leveraging its high quality low cost primary vanadium resources and an energy market environment ripe for utility scale energy storage solutions of the kind Bushveld Energy proposes.”
Smart partnerships in a large market opportunity mean Bushveld Minerals has to develop all the competencies and capacity required across the entire value chain.
In addition to broadening the capital sourcing opportunities for the Group beyond the resource-biased capital pools Bushveld Minerals has hitherto relied on, Bushveld Energy presents arguably the deepest vertical integration to resonate with the beneficiation and local content manufacturing aspirations of the South African government.
Furthermore, it offers a capital-light pathway to cash flows alongside the mining and brownfield processing platforms the company is developing. “We welcome the new Bushveld Energy management team and look forward to the development of a leading energy storage platform in Africa,” Mojapelo concludes.
In 2015, the company articulated a strategy for its vanadium platform, which entails:
- Completing the vanadium project pre-feasibility Study (PFS) followed by a bankable feasibility study (BFS) once a strategic partner has been identified.
- Exploring opportunities to generate early cash flow by selling vanadium concentrate once the mining right has been finalised, while simultaneously targeting the development of fully integrated mining and vanadium processing operations.
- Reducing the timeline and capital expenditure required to execute a fully integrated vanadium-producing operation by using existing under-utilised domestic processing capacity.
- Supporting the development of additional vanadium demand beyond the steel sector through support for the energy storage applications of vanadium.
- Consolidating primary vanadium resources across the Bushveld Complex.
While the Company has clearly defined its vanadium platform as its priority and pursued its development accordingly, Bushveld’s other commodity focused platforms remain important components of the Group’s strategy and have made steady progress.