25/03/2021 - 13:33

Neometals builds green credentials for vanadium processing

25/03/2021 - 13:33

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Neometals has highlighted the strong environmental credentials of its proprietary, patent-pending, vanadium recovery process flowsheet after an independently assessed, ISO-compliant, life cycle assessment showed potential to produce zero-carbon vanadium from the company's proposed Scandinavian vanadium recycling project. Neometals remains on track to deliver a ‘peer-reviewed’ PFS to recover vanadium from a vanadium-bearing steel making by-product, known as “slag”, by the end of June.

Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed. Credit: File

Neometals has highlighted the strong environmental credentials of its proprietary, patent-pending, vanadium recovery process flowsheet after an independently assessed, ISO-compliant, life cycle assessment showed potential to produce zero-carbon vanadium from the company’s proposed Scandinavian vanadium recycling project. Just a few months after successfully demonstrating its proprietary vanadium recovery flowsheet in a continuous mini-pilot test program, Neometals remains on track to deliver a ‘peer-reviewed’ Pre-Feasibility Study, or “PFS” to recover vanadium from a steelmaking by-product known as “slag” by the end of June.

The company is already working through an engineering costings study for inclusion in the PFS.

An up-scaled pilot plant is due to be commissioned as early as May this year and the company says it has received positive feedback from an as yet un-named European battery cell maker who is currently testing chemical samples of the resultant high-purity vanadium product.

The larger pilot plant, being constructed at Strategic Metallurgy in Perth, Western Australia, is expected to produce larger vanadium product samples for the European customer to evaluate.

Neometals said the current pilot program will provide proof of scale confirmation of the technical feasibility of the Neometals’ process flowsheet which utilizes a carbon‐rich alkaline leach and conventional solvent extraction at atmospheric pressure and mild temperatures.

Under a recycling agreement signed back in April last year with unlisted Scandinavian mineral development company, Critical Metals Ltd, Neometals has the ability, subject to funding certain evaluation studies, to enter into a 50:50 joint venture with Critical Metals to process the vanadium-rich steel-making by-product.

Neometals and Critical Metals are working through an evaluation of the feasibility of constructing a facility to process and recover high-grade vanadium products from vanadium-bearing slag generated by the leading Scandinavian steel maker, SSAB.

Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed said: “We are pleased with the technical and commercial progress of our Vanadium Recovery Project. The positive feedback on our product purity and performance in lithium‐vanadium battery cell testing and potential zero carbon footprint of our ecofriendly process flowsheet make a compelling business case to fast‐track our evaluation activities.”

“The backdrop for domestic supply of critical battery materials in Europe strengthens daily, vanadium pentoxide prices have strengthened significantly in recent months and its emergence as a next generation lithium‐ion battery material is accelerating.”

Underpinned by the carrot of a 10-year slag supply agreement, the company is targeting a final decision to develop a sustainable European production of high-purity vanadium pentoxide by December 2022.

The Slag Supply Agreement provides a secure basis for the evaluation of a potential Slag Recovery Facility capable of processing 200,000 tonnes of slag per annum without the need to build a mine and concentrator as is the case with existing primary producers.

The company has appointed global engineering consultancy, Hatch to steer it through a preliminary feasibility study for the project, targeting completion in June next year.

As a point of difference from other ASX-listed companies, Neometals already has form in the exotic metals space and the market has been paying close attention as the clock runs down to the tabling of its vanadium PFS.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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