Stocks are weak in October? You’ll have a hard time convincing investors that are watching United Battery Metals (CSE:UBM) (OTCPK:UBMCF) that is the case. Shares of the vanadium miner are up about 80% this month, marking the third straight positive month since UBM joined the public markets.
The company is in the right place with metal market analysts clamoring over the future of the super metal vanadium and its value in the area of energy storage. Optimism and speculation over supply falls for metals like lithium, cobalt and graphite and their uses in re-chargeable batteries in electric vehicles famously ran the price of those metals higher in recent years. The reality that there are other options for energy storage – including superior alternatives like vanadium – has moderated gains in those metals and put a brightening spotlight on select miners with promising portfolios focused on the metal underscoring vanadium redox flow batteries.
The recent surge in value of United Battery Metals has been catalyzed by fundamental developments on several fronts, as the company executes on its business model. Lending further support has been outside forces related to trade, including the well publicized tariffs implemented around the world by U.S. President Donald Trump as part of his “America First” initiative. As part of this initiative, vanadium this year was listed as a metal critical to the nation’s security as part of an Executive Order demanding efforts be made to increase domestic production.
For starters, the company more than tripled its land position in its flagship Wray Mesa project to over 3,000 contiguous acres. The project is situated in mining friendly jurisdictions in western Colorado and eastern Utah within the vanadium-rich Uravan Mineral Belt in the Colorado Plateau. Wray Mesa is also situated within the prolific La Sal Creek Mining District, a district well-known for its anomalously-high vanadium to uranium ratios.
Historic drilling on the newly acquired claims aligns with a 2013 NI 43-101 technical report indicating a strong uranium resource. Uranium, more precisely U3O8, is a helpful proxy in estimating vanadium in the region, as the ratio of vanadium to uranium is typically (and conservatively) 6:1.
To prove the resource, UBM this month said it plans to commence an extensive exploration program at Wray Mesa. The work, which will include geologic mapping, surface reconnaissance, and geochemical sampling, is designed to identify drill targets that will confirm the historic findings. The data will also backstop additional drill programs to define mineralization and advance the project towards future production.
Aiding in these efforts, the company recently raised $2.1 million to support exploration at Wray Mesa.
This month, UBM further bolstered its leadership, adding Eric Saderholm to its team of seasoned industry vets with local experience. A professional geologist, Saderholm joined the company’s Advisory Board, bringing nearly three decades of mineral industry experience to UBM. Throughout his career, Saderholm served as Newmont Mining’s (NYSE:NEM) Regional Exploration Manager for the Western U.S. and Vice President, Project Development at US Gold (NASDAQ:USAU). Saderholm’s C.V. is impeccable, including discovery and production of millions of ounces of metals during his time working on many large mines and projects, including Bingham Canyon, Carlin, Midas, Gold Quarry, Twin Creeks, Lonetree, Mule Canyon, Black Pine, Genesis and Yanacocha.
Subsequent to Saderholm coming on board, Michael Dehn was appointed to UBM’s Board of Directors. Dehn has more than 25 years mining industry experience, spending most of his career in various positions, including Senior Geologist, at gold behemoth Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) (TSX:G). The expertise of Dehn, who is currently running for Mayor of Erin, Ontario, is diversified, ranging from financing junior mining companies to advance mineral exploration and marketing, making him an ideal addition to the company’s board.
These developments have captured the attention of the resource investing community, making UBM a leading performer against the backdrop of the larger markets having one of the worst months of the year. With its core focus on vanadium, a metal that is expected to be integral to the energy storage market for homes, businesses and autos, there is no reason to suspect the momentum will slow any time soon.