Vanadium is a critical metal used mainly as an additive in steel making. It is increasingly finding applications as electrolyte for grid scale energy storage in Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB’s). Recent structural changes in the Chinese steel market regulations for vanadium addition, plus the increasing requirement for grid scale energy storage have meant that the global vanadium supply has been placed under pressure.
Historically, vanadium supply has been dominated by vanadium hosted in titanoferrous magnetite. Production has come as either a by-product of processing vanadium rich iron ore or from a process known as salt-roasting. A small proportion of vanadium is produced from Stone Coal (Black Shales) in China, as a by-product in the production of alumina from bauxite or as a by-product of uranium production.
MinAssist has built significant expertise in innovative processing solutions for vanadium, supported by a deep understanding of the vanadium market drivers. Specifically, MinAssist has expertise in developing vanadium circuits targeting direct production of vanadium electrolyte for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries. Circuits utilising technologies such as high pressure leaching can allow recovery of vanadium from traditionally refractory materials and provide the capability to produce high purity vanadium pentoxide product, suitable for electrolyte in high efficiency VRFB’s.
- Sampling audits
- Geometallurgical modelling of vanadium resources
- Mine to mill studies
- Operational mineralogy
- Circuit auditing and optimisation
- By product optimisation
- Process flow sheet development
- Process simulation
- JORC competent person
MinAssist has completed a number of significant vanadium projects:
MinAssist has developed an innovative flowsheet for recovery of vanadium and by-products from Black Shale material at the Haggan Vanadium Project, Sweden.
Historically, processing of Black Shale, also known as Stone Coal in China, is expensive due to high reagent consumption in the salt roasting process. This is because high sodium content in the host minerals reacts preferentially with the hydrochloric acid lixiviant. Vanadium in these resources generally occurs with mica clays as a distribution of oxidation states. Efficient recovery of vanadium requires both destruction of the host mica matrix and oxidation of the vanadium to V(V). This can be achieved by pressure oxidation, which if configured correctly can allow production of by-products, significantly reducing the cost of vanadium recovery.
Aura Energy successfully completed a positive scoping study, managed by MinAssist, using this process, demonstrating the value of innovative thinking in vanadium processing.
In addition to development of the Tiris Uranium circuit MinAssist has worked with Aura Energy to recover vanadium as a by-product from the Tiris process. Vanadium occurs with uranium in carnotite, the primary uranium host in the Tiris resource. Vanadium is leached along with uranium in the alkaline leaching process. This vanadium is usually rejected in the ion exchange process but MinAssist has worked with ANSTO Minerals to develop a process for recovery of the vanadium value to a saleable product.
How can we help you?
- Geometallurgical model development
- Mine to mill studies
- Circuit audits
- Vanadium by-product characterisation and circuit optimisation