11/06/2021 - 12:39

Neometals pilot plant produces vanadium pentoxide

11/06/2021 - 12:39

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Neometals says vanadium recovery from its Perth pilot plant has reached steady-state production. Successful completion of the pilot campaign will support the technical feasibility of the company’s proprietary process at scale and generate data that will be fed into a definitive feasibility study. Its pilot plant trial will process about 13 tonnes of vanadium-bearing steel by-product from three Scandinavian sites over 22 days.

The Neometals and Critical Metals pilot plant in Perth. Credit: Bulls N' Bears

ASX-listed Neometals says vanadium recovery from its pilot plant in Perth has reached steady-state production. The Perth-based company’s pilot plant trial is slated to process about 13 tonnes of vanadium-bearing steel by-product or slag supplied by three sites in Scandinavia over 22 days.

According to Neometals, successful pilot testwork results will support evaluation of the technical feasibility of its proprietary hydrometallurgical process flow sheet at larger scale than in its previous studies.

Proof-of-scale data from the pilot plant will also be fed into a planned definitive feasibility study on the possible construction of a commercial plant in Finland.

Importantly, the current 1:1,000-scale pilot project, due for completion next month, will also provide vanadium pentoxide samples for evaluation by potential offtake customers.

The company says the now continuously operating pilot plant will produce about 300kg of vanadium pentoxide for marketing and end-user product analysis purposes.

It will also deliver stabilised slag material by-product for assessment as a construction material in building industry trials.

Management says the trial program is expected to again demonstrate the “exceptional product purities and strong recoveries” that were achieved in an earlier mini pilot.

Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed said: “We are confident that this pilot will further reinforce a business case underpinned by industry-leading sustainability credentials, exceptional grade stockpiled feedstocks and robust potential financial metrics. Aside from generating data for our internal evaluation, the vanadium recovery project pilot will generate significant samples to mature our dialogues with potential offtakers under formal product evaluation arrangements.”

The company can earn 50 per cent in a joint venture with Scandinavian resources group, Critical Metals that is looking to develop a vanadium recovery facility in Finland to produce high-grade vanadium pentoxide from high-grade vanadium-bearing steel making slag stockpiles in Scandinavia.

Under the collaboration agreement, Neometals is required to bankroll and manage various feasibility studies up to a final investment decision on the proposed project development to secure its 50 per cent.

Neometals last month released a bumper pre-feasibility study on the Finland proposal.

Key forecasts in the PFS included total free cash flows before tax of US$764 million or an average of about $US72.7 million a year across an initial plant operating life of 10.5 years based on annual production of 13.4 million pounds of high-purity vanadium pentoxide per annum.

Total pre-production capital costs of construction have been estimated in the PFS at US$183.4 million.

Awarding of the DFS work is on track for next month and the final investment decision is targeted for the second half of next year, the $289 million market-cap company says.

 

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

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