Friday, 3 March 2023
by Berkeley Lovelace
QEM (ASX:QEM) has encountered the highest vanadium extraction results to date following the first round of vanadium extraction testing by engineering and environmental consultancy GSA Environmental.
The results, generated by comprehensive testing on samples of Julia Creek oil shale from the company’s pilot plant at HRL Melbourne by GSA Environmental, demonstrate extraction rates up to 98%.
QEM notes these vanadium extraction rates were achieved by both acid and alkaline leaching methods and have exceeded previous acid extraction results, while reagent consumption was improved ‘significantly’ over previous testwork.
The company says alkali leaching routes have also demonstrated ‘promising’ results with 92% vanadium extraction achieved. It is reported both methods of extraction are currently being optimised to inform the Julia Creek Project’s Flow Sheet and determine the most effective method for the recovery of vanadium and other metals.
Final conclusions are expected to be received in April 2023.
Speaking on the results, QEM Managing Director Gavin Loyden says: “It is great to be working with Michael and the team again. Their skill in this space is world class and this is evidenced by the results being achieved already.
“… we are now working with material that is representative of what would be produced in any future operation”
The material that they are working with was produced from the QEM pilot, after the hydrocarbons were extracted. This is really important, as we are now working with material that is representative of what would be produced in any future operation.”
Concurrently, QEM also reports it is working with the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute on potential vanadium beneficiation routes to further improve V2O5 yields.
Other work being undertaken by the company includes updating the mining scoping study at the Julia Creek project, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2023, as well as additional processing optimisation work and environmental and water studies at the project.
QEM is an ASX-listed company focused on the exploration and development of its flagship Julia Creek project, which covers a total area of 250km-square within the Julia Creek area of North Western Queensland. The project represents a ‘unique’ world-class resource with the potential to utilise and deliver innovative and sustainable energy solutions through the production of energy fuels and vanadium pentoxide.
Julia Creek currently boasts a ‘globally significant’ JORC 2012 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 2.85 billion tonnes @ 0.31% V2O5, representing one of the single largest ASX-listed vanadium resources, as well as a ‘significant’ opportunity for development.
Images: QEM Ltd