QEM Limited (ASX:QEM) has achieved the highest vanadium extraction results to date, after GSA Environmental completed the first round of vanadium extraction testing which involved the roasting of samples provided, post shale oil extraction, followed by acid and alkaline leaching test work.
The results obtained by GSA provide important insights into the extraction of vanadium from QEM’s Julia Creek Project.
Acid leaching yielded up to 98 per cent extraction – the highest rate to date – while alkali leaching routes also showed promising results with 92 per cent vanadium extraction achieved.
GSA was engaged to conduct comprehensive testing into multiple processes for extracting vanadium from solids generated during shale oil recovery.
Samples of Julia Creek oil shale (post-oil extraction from QEM’s pilot plant at HRL Melbourne) were subjected to leaching tests to extract vanadium using a variety of reagents and methods.
Vanadium extraction rates achieved by both acid and alkaline leaching methods exceeded previous acid extraction results, while reagent consumption was improved significantly over previous test work with further optimisation work still progressing.
QEM Managing Director Gavin Loyden said the partnership with GSA was already producing excellent results.
Loyden said. “[GSA’s] skill in this space is world class and this is evidenced by the results being achieved already.
“The material 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.”
Further studies are now underway to optimise the extraction process and determine the most effective method for the recovery of vanadium and other metals.
Final conclusions should be available in April 2023 and this information will inform QEM’s flow sheet development for the wider project.
Concurrently, QEM is working with the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute on potential vanadium beneficiation routes to further improve vanadium oxide yields.
The company is currently updating the mining scoping study at the Julia Creek Project, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2023, and is also undertaking additional processing optimisation work and environmental and water studies at the project.