Neometals has a 27-month option to evaluate establishing a 50:50 joint venture to recover vanadium and sustainably produce vanadium chemicals from processing by-products (“Slag”) from leading Scandinavian steel maker SSAB
Neometals has a collaboration agreement with unlisted Scandinavian mineral development company Critical Metals Ltd (“Critical”) to jointly evaluate the feasibility of constructing a recycling facility to recover and process high-grade vanadium products from vanadium-bearing steel by-product in Scandinavia. Neometals is Critical Metals’ largest shareholder and holds 15.4% of its issued capital.
Neometals’ partner Critical has executed a 10-year slag supply agreement with Scandinavian steel giant SSAB to access approximately 2Mt of stockpiled high-grade vanadium bearing Slag from three operating steel mills.
Neometals will fund and manage evaluation activities including the completion of Class 5, 4 and 3 AACE engineering cost and feasibility studies up to consideration of an investment decision, which, if positive will lead to a 50:50 incorporated joint venture with Critical to construct and operate a commercial recycling facility.
The Vanadium Recovery Project creates an option to secure critical materials without mining risk. It also provides an opportunity to produce high grade vanadium products with lowest quartile costs owing to the grade of vanadium sitting above surface in stockpiles.
One of Neometals’ key strategies relates to identification and disciplined evaluation of mineral and materials projects that have direct exposure to the energy storage and electric vehicle mega-trend. As it relates to energy storage, vanadium solutions are the storage medium in the Vanadium Redox Flow batteries (“VRFB’s”) which are a leading stationary storage technology. Approximately 75% of global vanadium supply is produced in China and Russia, and there exists a significant opportunity to supply the European and American markets from recycling SSAB’s Scandinavian feedstocks.
Neometals has extensive experience in the metallurgical processing of vanadium bearing concentrates from its Barrambie Titanium-Vanadium project and has, through a wholly owned subsidiary Avanti Materials Ltd (“Avanti”), developed a proprietary hydrometallurgical flowsheet suitable for recovering Vanadium from the Slag . The flowsheet utilises conventional equipment and is subject to provisional patent applications, tailored to recover high-purity vanadium chemicals from Slag. Extensive due-diligence test-work completed by Neometals’ chosen metallurgical contractor on multiple SSAB Slag samples has confirmed up to 80% vanadium recovery from leaching under mild conditions at atmospheric pressure.
The hydrometallurgical leaching process path has significant operational, cost and risk advantages over the traditional pyrometallurgical (salt-roast) process route.
Results from early feasibility analysis has highlighted a strong case for the future development of the project with robust economic outcomes putting the project in first quartile operating cost position. Continued evaluation will include metallurgical test-work, Slag stockpile sample analysis, engineering and feasibility studies together with site selection and approvals processes.