Ironstone Resources' Bulk Sample Pit
The Clear Hills deposit holds a NI 43-101 compliant resource (SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc., 2012) of:
557.7 million tonnes indicated at 33.3% Fe and 0.20% V2O5
94.6 million tonnes inferred at 34.1% Fe
This deposit represents one of the largest compliant vanadium resources in the world at a contained 2.45 billion pounds V2O5.
This near-surface, open-pit mineable deposit currently trends 15 km NE-SW, and is open to the east, west, and south.
The Clear Hills oolitic ironstone deposit (“ironstone”) is hosted by the Cretaceous Bad Heart formation. The ironstone is a flat-lying oolitic sandstone that reaches a maximum thicknesses of 12.5 meters, and extends along the eastern flanks of the Clear Hills. The deposit is made up primarily of iron ooids, siderite, clastic material and ferruginous cement. The primary iron-bearing mineral in the deposit is goethite. The ironstone is overlain by shale and glacial till with an average thickness of 60 meters over the defined resource.
To date, Ironstone Resources Ltd. has diamond drilled and analyzed 230 holes on the Clear Hills deposit in three drilling programs in order to bring the resource into NI 43-101 compliance. In addition to the drilling completed on the Clear Hills project, Ironstone opened a Bulk Sample Pit in order to extract material for ongoing process development work.
A near-surface lignite coal deposit has been identified by the Alberta Government in close proximity to the Clear Hills iron deposit. Ironstone Resources as sole applicant for the coal rights over a portion of the area plans to utilize the coal as a carbon source for the direct reduction of the iron. In addition to the coal, plentiful natural gas is available from nearby pipelines.
Commercial Process DevelopmentIronstone, in conjunction with HATCH, is commercializing a multi-stage direct reduction/iron segregation and vanadium extraction process designed to produce iron units (90+% Fe in briquette form) and vanadium pentoxide. The iron products are designated for sale to global steel producers and as a scrap metal substitute. The vanadium products are strategically targeted at the growing demand for green-energy storage incorporating nascent vanadium-flow battery technology.
The process was originally tested by the Alberta Research Council and CANMET in the early 1970s. Known then as the ''Grain Enlargement'' process, the work progressed through the laboratory stage to continuous benchtop tests.
Starting in 2011, a commercialization program was initiated by Ironstone to design and establish block flow diagrams, process design criteria, process flow diagrams and major equipment selection up to and including the iron reduction part of the process. This part of the program was concluded in December 2012, and a maiden Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) is expected by Q4 2013 on iron production.
Iron ProductsIronstone is targeting annual production of 2.5 million tonnes of high quality, high value alternative iron units suitable for sale to traditional steelmakers and those employing modern electric arc furnaces.
Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) is a premium quality, high density raw material containing 90-94% total iron (Fe), used in electric arc furnace (EAF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) steelmaking, blast furnace (BF) iron making, and foundry applications. It is essentially a compacted form of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) designed to facilitate easy shipping, handling, and storage.
Vanadium ProductsWorld production of vanadium currently only totals 64,000 tons per year. It is estimated that Vanadium demand will exceed current supply as early as 2013. With limited supply of vanadium, coupled with increasing demand from both steel applications and emerging battery technologies from clean energy initiatives, new vanadium projects such as Ironstone's Clear Hills Project, will help to meet this projected supply deficiency. The Clear Hills currently has a NI 43-101 compliant resource of 2.45 billion pounds of vanadium pentoxide, and is one of the world's largest compliant resources of vanadium.
Primarily, vanadium is used as a strengthening additive in the steel industry, although other industrial applications include ceramics and glass manufacturing. More recently, vanadium has become extremely useful in the energy industry as an additive to lithium-ion batteries as well as redox batteries with applications in large-scale energy storage in the power grid.
The Clear Hills project represents a strategically important vanadium resource for the US market as it supports increasing demand for clean energy technology and alternative energy initiatives currently underway.