Neometals has successfully demonstrated its proprietary vanadium recovery flowsheet in a continuous mini-pilot test program, yielding exceptional product purity better than 99.5 per cent vanadium oxide and vanadium recoveries of more than 75 per cent. The company said its ‘leach residence’ times were 50 per cent below its scoping study design parameters, providing a positive future impact on capital costs.
Neometals has successfully demonstrated its proprietary vanadium recovery flowsheet in a continuous mini-pilot test program, yielding exceptional product purity better than 99.5 per cent vanadium pentoxide and vanadium recoveries of more than 75 per cent.
The company said its ‘leach residence’ times – or the time it takes to extract the vanadium from the solution - were 50 per cent below its scoping study design parameters, providing a positive future impact on capital costs for the patent-pending hydrometallurgical process for extracting vanadium from mine waste, or ‘slag’.
Neometals entered into a collaboration agreement with Critical Metals Ltd back in April this year. The pair set about a joint evaluation on the feasibility of constructing a facility to recover and process high-grade vanadium products from vanadium-bearing steel by-product or ‘slag’ in Scandinavia.
Under the proposed terms of the 50:50 joint venture with Critical, Neometals would oversee the test work and engineering of the developing operation whilst Critical Metals would undertake most of the in-country logistics including securing a conditional supply agreement with European subsidiaries of SSAB to acquire the vanadiferous slag produced by its nearby steelworks.
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 like existing primary producers.
Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed, said: “We are very pleased with the results of the Mini-Pilot campaign. This substantially de-risks our patent-pending processing flowsheet and gives us the confidence to commence the PFS. We now shift our attention to the design phase of the larger proposed pilot plant which will leach material from three of SSAB’s steel operations in a mild carbonate solution at moderate temperatures and atmospheric pressure. The beauty of our process is that the main reagent is carbon dioxide, which we plan to capture from third-party emission to sequester some 65,000 tonnes in our leach Residue rendering it inert and available for secondary use.”
Neometals said the mini-pilot plant operated continuously throughout the work scope and confirmed earlier bench-top findings, including vanadium extraction from leach through to solvent-extraction ‘strip liquor’.
Of particular importance was the achievement of chemical-grade vanadium pentoxide at high recovery rates and low residence times. Passing this major technical milestone represents a significant achievement and likely gives Neometals the confidence to continue its project development by commencing the PFS.
Neometals, success with the pilot plant study is such that the company has appointed the global engineering consultancy, Hatch to steer it through a preliminary feasibility study for the project, targeting completion in June next year.
The company will be hoping its PFS can deliver similar numbers to a scoping study over the project produced early this year which estimated it could throw off almost $80 million a year in cash flow over an initial 10.5-year life.
Unlike some other ASX-listed companies, Neometals has form in the exotic metals space and the market will likely be paying close attention as the date for the release of the PFS nears.
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