Tag Archives: vanadium

QEM investigates green hydrogen potential at Julia Creek project

QEM Ltd says it has commenced studies into ‘green hydrogen’ opportunities on site at its flagship 100%-owned Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale open-pit project in Queensland, Australia.

The studies will investigate the financial and regulatory requirements of the company to produce hydrogen on site at Julia Creek using a “green” solar-powered electrolyser. It is envisaged the hydrogen would initially be used as a support to the energy needs of other resources projects located in the North West Minerals Province of Queensland, but ultimately for the hydrogeneration of the company’s raw oil into transport fuels.

To assist in its assessment of capital and operating costs, the company has appointed E2C Advisory Pty Ltd. E2C previously assisted the company with the review of a processing technology using a hydrocarbon solution for oil shale extraction and have, QEM says, extensive experience in electrolysers used for hydrogen production.

QEM will commence discussions with the Queensland state government on progressing the approval process to access water resources for the potential development, focusing on securing the relevant approvals following the successful completion of the financial studies to be conducted by E2C.

Managing Director, Gavin Loyden, said the company was delighted to be working with experts who possess substantial expertise in the hydrogen field.

“The commissioning of these studies will lay the groundwork to advance our green hydrogen strategy at Julia Creek, amid increasingly buoyant market conditions and the project’s optimal location and resource profile to produce hydrogen on site,” he said.

“For example, the Queensland state government established a ministry for hydrogen in November 2020, as the state government seeks to encourage investment into the bourgeoning market. Crucially, the hydrogen strategy aligns with the broader strategic direction of Julia Creek, as QEM looks to target both the liquid fuels and renewable energy sectors.”

Julia Creek comes with a total JORC inferred resource of 2,760 Mt, and a JORC indicated area of 220 Mt that has an average vanadium oxide content of 0.3% and an oil component of 783 million barrels in the 3C category. QEM says it intends to pursue development of a standard open-pit mining method with a low strip ratio.

AVL examining ‘green hydrogen’ potential for vanadium project

Australian Vanadium is making plans to incorporate “green hydrogen” into its mine operations in Western Australia as part of a carbon emission reduction strategy.

Vincent Algar, Managing Director of Australian Vanadium, thinks the use of green hydrogen could allow the company to reduce its carbon footprint and leverage both the economical and environmental benefits of what is a growing market.

“The green steel opportunity is one that Western Australia should particularly embrace, with the potential for many jobs to be created and a globally competitive steel industry,” he said. “This strategy can assist with environmental approvals and in attracting finance partners with an environmental, social and corporate governance focus, for AVL to bring the Australian vanadium project into production.”

The Australian vanadium project is around 40 km south-east of Meekatharra and 740 km north-east of Perth. The proposed project includes open-pit mining, crushing, milling and beneficiation at the Meekatharra site and a processing plant for final conversion to high-quality vanadium pentoxide for use in steel, specialty alloys and battery markets, to be located at a site at Tenindewa, between Mullewa and Geraldton.

The company’s strategy to incorporate hydrogen into the project includes the following areas:

  • Introducing a percentage of green hydrogen into the natural gas feed for the processing plant. The purpose of this is to reduce carbon emissions. This will be analysed fully in the company’s bankable feasibility study;
  • Offtake of ammonia from green hydrogen production for use in the final vanadium precipitation step of processing. The CSIRO is working on an ARENA (the Australian Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency) funded project to develop a production process that does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Powering mine site or haulage vehicles to move material from the mine site to the processing plant with green hydrogen. Hydrogen generation could be undertaken at the mine site and at the processing plant for refuelling. “This is a new area of development for Australia and will need to be fully assessed for its financial implications,” the company said, adding that it is keen to work with the federal and state governments and haulage companies who have a forward plan for this technology;
  • The use of green hydrogen for steel production in the ore reduction step. AVL is seeking partnerships with companies interested in this area as it would be a “noble and efficient use” for the Fe-Ti co-product that the company plans to produce, it said; and
  • Through AVL’s 100% owned subsidiary, VSUN Energy, integrating hydrogen electrolysers in plant design, combined with energy storage utilising vanadium redox flow battery technology. To support the Government of Western Australia’s plans for a green hydrogen economy, AVL has submitted a formal response to the request for expressions of interest for the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area Renewable Energy Strategy. “Having a project located in the Mid-West region, with a variety of ways for AVL to incorporate green hydrogen means that the company is well-positioned to leverage the emerging hydrogen economy and its financial and environmental benefits,” it said.

AVL says its project is currently one of the highest-grade vanadium projects being advanced globally with 208.2 Mt at 0.74% V₂O₅, containing a high-grade zone of 87.9 Mt at 1.06% V₂O₅, reported in compliance with the JORC Code 2012.

Technology Metals Australia shores up gas supply for Gabanintha vanadium project

Technology Metals Australia (TMT) says it has entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with APA Group under which TMT and APA have agreed to investigate the provision of gas transportation services along a new gas pipeline to be developed by APA from the south to supply gas to the Gabanintha vanadium project, in Western Australia.

In return, TMT would enter a take or pay tariff over an agreed period linked to the life of the project.

The proposed new pipeline is shorter than the gas pipeline contemplated in the Gabanintha definitive feasibility study (DFS) and is, therefore, expected to deliver material operating cost savings from lower gas transportation charges than those included in the study, the company said.

TMT and APA have agreed to an exclusivity period on negotiation of the gas transportation services for the term of the MoU during which they will negotiate and endeavour to agree the transaction documents.

TMT Managing Director, Ian Prentice, said: “We are very pleased to have entered into this agreement with APA on the development of a proposed new gas pipeline; providing low risk delivery of gas to the project, cost reductions compared to the DFS as well as the opportunity to source gas from the significantly closer emerging Perth basin gas fields.

“APA is a leading Australian energy infrastructure business with 20 years’ experience in building, owning and operating gas pipelines. We will be working together to develop a reliable energy solution for the Gabanintha vanadium project. This represents another key milestone as we progress the development of this lowest cost quartile, large scale, long-life world-class vanadium project.”

The DFS for the Gabanintha vanadium project proposes using natural gas as the heating energy in the roasting kiln and other parts of the process circuit and for electricity generation. The project’s expected maximum and average daily consumption of natural gas is 10.67 Tj and 6.28 Tj, respectively.

The location of proposed new pipeline, which is designed to come from a point to the east of Mt Magnet and extend around 152 km north to the project, is expected to enhance the opportunity for TMT to secure cost competitive gas supply from the rapidly emerging Perth Basin, with potential to further reduce gas transportation charges for the project, the company said.

The Gabanintha DFS outlined an operation with a 16-year-plus mine life, operating at an average vanadium pentoxide production rate of 27.9 MIb/y. This came with a pre-production capital cost of $318 million and operating costs of $4.04/Ib of V2O5.

TNG and SMS to investigate hydrogen use for Mount Peake project

TNG Ltd is participating in a ground-breaking project with its German-based strategic engineering partner, SMS group, which could lead to the production of a carbon-neutral product from its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Under the agreement, TNG will partner with SMS to develop technology to produce green hydrogen from various renewable, secondary or fossil hydrocarbon sources by means of plasma pyrolysis.

SMS, TNG says, is already advanced in its understanding of such technology and will manage all development activities and, specifically, apply the technology to TNG’s TIVAN® Process (plant layout above).

The TIVAN process, developed by the two companies and Perth, Australia-based metallurgical consultants METS and the CSIRO, has been primarily designed for hydro-metallurgical extraction of vanadium, preferably as vanadium pentoxide, from a titanomagnetite orebody and also for separating the titanium and iron, preferably as ferric oxide and titanium dioxide.

SMS is to provide a fully detailed development program in support of the specific resourcing required from both parties under the agreement, TNG says.

The plasma pyrolysis technology, which consumes roughly one-third of the electricity required to produce the same amount of hydrogen by electrolysis of water, could be the preferred reduction agent for TNG’s TIVAN Process, marking an important step in the company’s roadmap towards achieving a net zero carbon footprint for TIVAN, TNG said.

“The technology also has the potential to be applied for the production of hydrogen and syngas from various fossil, biogenic and waste materials, opening up additional potential business opportunities for TNG and SMS in the fast-growing space of the hydrogen and e-fuels economy, and outside the company’s proposed core titanium-vanadium-iron business,” it added.

A by-product of this process is anticipated to be highly-pure carbon black powder, which currently sells at approximately $1,000/t. Possibilities to produce graphene and/or carbon nanotubes from this powder will also be investigated in parallel by SMS.

Mount Peake is currently expected to process ore through a 2 Mt/y plant to produce 700,000 t/y of magnetite concentrate, which could then be turned into 100,000 t/y of titanium dioxide, 6,000 t/y of vanadium pentoxide and 500,000 t/y of iron oxide fines.

The agreement is not expected to impact the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study completion and delivery of the turnkey engineering, procurement and construction proposal from SMS.

TNG said: “The company’s primary focus remains on progression and completion of the remaining engineering and design work streams for the Mount Peake project, including the current FEED study. The hydrogen technology development program will be progressed in parallel, and, subject to confirmation of technical and commercial feasibility and integration with project development planning, has potential application for further optimisation of the Mount Peake project.”

TNG’s Managing Director & CEO, Paul Burton, said: “There is a huge amount of momentum globally moving towards a hydrogen-based economy, and this is an exciting opportunity for TNG while at the same time has the potential to move our TIVAN Process towards carbon-neutral which is important as we continue on our pathway to secure TNG’s position as a sustainable metals producer.

“We believe that being able to use a carbon-neutral product in our patented TIVAN process will be a further significant advantage to TNG in relation to other competing technologies used for the extraction of high-quality titanium, vanadium and iron products from titanomagnetite ores, sands and slags.”

SMS’ Senior Vice President of Strategic Project Development, Herbert Weissenbaeck, said: “From SMS’ perspective, the future of the metallurgical industry will rely on low-cost renewable electrical energy, as well as carbon-neutral means of energy transport and storage. Hydrogen, being a very efficient and carbon-free reduction agent, is thus obviously in the focus of many of our ongoing R&D efforts.

“Co-developing our plasma pyrolysis technology with TNG, which could reap immediate benefits in the form of effectively decarbonising TIVAN, is an exciting next step towards green, H2-based metallurgy, and we are looking forward to jointly turning it into industrial reality at TNG’s Darwin processing plant, soon.”

FLSmidth set for A$50 million roasting contract at TMA’s Gabanintha vanadium project

FLSmidth is to supply the key roasting kiln section of the Gabanintha vanadium project process plant as part of a binding notice of award the OEM has signed with project owner Technology Metals Australia.

Technology Metals Australia developed a relationship with FLSmidth during the definitive feasibility study (DFS) phase of the Gabanintha project, with the Denmark-based OEM conducting the pilot plant scale salt roasting test work on a bulk sample of Gabanintha magnetic concentrate at its facility in Pennsylvania, USA.

The pilot scale rotary kiln test work (pictured), using a 9.8 m long by 0.9 m in diameter rotary kiln, enabled continuous processing of the magnetic concentrate to provide measurement of key processing factors such as salt dosage, vanadium solubility, recovery and residence times. Such data was used by FLSmidth to assist in engineering design, sizing and cost estimate studies for the ‘roasting’ section of the processing circuit for inclusion in the DFS, TMA said.

The DFS envisaged the development of a plus-16 year operation, producing 27.9 MIb/y of vanadium oxide, with production commencing in 2022. From years one to 12, the run of mine processing rate was estimated to be 1.7-2.3 Mt/y and the total pre-production capital for the build came in at A$454 million.

The supply proposal under the notice of award contemplates the completion of a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study and supply of the required equipment for the complete roasting kiln section of the Gabanintha processing plant. The value of the proposed supply contract is circa-A$50 million ($35 million, ex GST), including approximately A$860,000 (ex GST) for the FEED study.

The commencement of the FEED study is subject to written instruction from the company to proceed and is envisaged to be completed within 26 weeks.

FLSmidth-supplied equipment qualifies for export credit agency financing support through Denmark’s EKF, subject to EKF board approval and thorough due diligence, Technology Metals Australia said. The ASX-listed company said it will be actively pursuing the opportunity to access this funding support as an important part of the overall project funding strategy.

Kibo Energy to help power Baobab’s Tete Steel and Vanadium project

Kibo Energy says it has signed a binding term sheet to supply 200 MW of energy to Baobab Resources’ Tete Steel and Vanadium (TSV) project in Mozambique.

The binding term sheet allows Baobab to exclusively deal and negotiate with Kibo regarding entering into a power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply the energy from its in-development Benga power plant, around 36 km away.

Louis Coetzee, CEO of Kibo, said: “The TSV project represents one of Mozambique’s key development projects that could contribute significantly to the growth of the country. We are therefore delighted that our Benga project will be supporting this growth by providing 100% of TSV project’s circa-200 MW energy requirements, subject to reaching final agreement on an appropriate PPA.”

Coetzee said this PPA was one of several supply agreements the company is targeting for Benga, in line with “our commitment to creating reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity in Mozambique”.

Kibo remains focused on developing Benga with its joint venture partner, Termoeléctrica de Benga SA, which will now comprise a thermal power plant with minimum capacity of 350 MW, as well as planned renewable energy projects.

TSV is being developed to produce 0.5 Mt/y of construction steel and is construction-ready with all licences, concessions, and agreements in place, according to Kibo. “This is recognised as a key development project in Mozambique and is set to be the anchor industry for the Revuboe Industrial Free Zone, Mozambique’s newest and largest industrial zone,” it said.

TNG signs up Genesee & Wyoming Australia for Mount Peake freight job

TNG Ltd says it has entered into a binding heads of agreement (HoA) with Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA), the third-largest rail operator in Australia, for the provision of rail haulage services for its flagship, 100%-owned Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project, in the Northern Territory.

Genesee & Wyoming is a global railroad owner and operator with extensive experience in the transport of bulk commodities for the resources industry, and is the majority owner of the rail line to Darwin that runs approximately 1,100 km from the Mount Peake mine site, according to TNG.

Rail haulage will underpin the logistics chain transporting the magnetite concentrate to be produced by the proposed beneficiation plant at the Mount Peake mine site to the proposed TIVAN® processing facility in Darwin, where TNG intends to produce high-purity vanadium pentoxide, titanium pigment and iron ore fines.

The scope of services includes the loading of magnetite concentrate onto rail at the Adnera rail siding (proposed to be located 85 km from the mine site), rail haulage from Adnera to the TIVAN facility, in Darwin, on the Tarcoola-to-Darwin rail line, and the unloading of magnetite concentrate at the TIVAN facility.

GWA will also load and transport TNG’s final products from the TIVAN facility to the Darwin Port, providing all necessary rail transport plant and equipment, including locomotives, wagons, crew vans and fuelling equipment.

“Following execution of the HoA, TNG and GWA will work together on an exclusive basis, and commit the necessary resources, to develop an optimised rail haulage strategy for Mount Peake, and negotiate and finalise a rail haulage agreement,” TNG said.

TNG’s Managing Director and CEO, Paul Burton, said: “GWA’s presence and expertise in logistics and transportation further strengthens TNG’s global network of high-quality partners assigned for the development and operation of Mount Peake.” This includes the likes of McMahon Services and SMS Group.

An updated definitive feasibility study on Mount Peake from 2017 envisaged pre-production capex of A$853 million ($617 million) for a 3 Mt/y project ramping up to 6 Mt/y in year five. This would see 24.3 Mt of magnetic concentrate turned into 10.6 Mt iron oxide and 243,000 t of vanadium oxide.

McMahon welcomed to TNG Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron team

TNG has engaged construction group McMahon Services to progress the program of work for the non-process infrastructure (NPI) requirements for its flagship 100%-owned Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The contract encompasses the NPI at both the Mount Peake mine site, located 235 km north of Alice Springs, and the Darwin TIVAN® processing facility, and will be undertaken in parallel with the front-end engineering and design study for the project being progressed by SMS group.

The NPI requirements for the project include but are not limited to haul roads, airfield upgrades, concentrate handling infrastructure, water and power infrastructure, accommodation facilities and concentrate storage facilities, TNG said.

As part of its engagement, McMahon will advance the existing NPI planning developed by TNG and finalise detailed scopes of work and scheduling for the NPI across both sites. MCM will then work collaboratively with TNG to develop the tendering documents and implement the strategy and delivery framework for the NPI works packages.

“This will extend to any approvals, capital budgeting and detailed project scheduling, enabling progression into the detailed design and ultimately construction phases with selected contractors, in a manner consistent with TNG’s project execution strategy,” TNG said.

TNG’s Managing Director and CEO, Paul Burton, said: “We have been able to establish a global network of high-quality partners in the fields of engineering, project financing and product off-take to help us advance this world-class project towards financing and construction. We are delighted to add McMahon Services – a high calibre Australian contractor with an existing strong footprint in the Northern Territory – to our project development team.”

An updated definitive feasibility study on Mount Peake from 2017 envisaged pre-production capex of A$853 million ($617 million) for a 3 Mt/y project ramping up to 6 Mt/y in year five. This would see 24.3 Mt of magnetic concentrate turned into 10.6 Mt iron oxide and 243,000 t of vanadium oxide.

QEM selects Velseis for 2D seismic survey at Julia Creek

Exploration company QEM says it has engaged Velseis Pty Ltd to carry out a 22 km 2D seismic programme for the project site at Julia Creek in Queensland’s resource rich, NW mining precinct.

QEM envisages the programme will commence on site within two months, subject to satisfactory weather conditions.

Velseis is an Australia seismic exploration company providing a fully integrated range of seismic technologies, according to QEM. “Velseis has built a reputation as the leading Australian contractor in this field, with over 25 years of experience throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” the company said, adding it provides contracting services for coal, mineral and hydrocarbon exploration.

QEM said the seismic programme will provide the information required to give greater certainty to the existing geological and resource models at Julia Creek. This information will also feed into future studies and mine design.

“Better understanding the location and type of any geological structures within the project area will also assist in the design of the company’s forthcoming drilling campaign, targeted for Q2 (June quarter) 2019,” it said.

QEM’s exploration tenements in the Julia Creek area form part of the vast Toolebuc Formation, recognised as one of the largest deposits of vanadium and oil shale in the world, according to the company.

TNG “de-risks” Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project with SMS contract

TNG has signed up SMS Group to carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The mandate for the contract encompasses the Mount Peake concentrator, the TIVAN® processing plant and all associated plant and equipment.

The two companies have been working together on the TIVAN process for some time. The process, developed by the two companies and Perth, Australia-based metallurgical consultants METS and the CSIRO, has been primarily designed for hydro-metallurgical extraction of vanadium, preferably as vanadium pentoxide, from a titano-magnetite orebody and also for separating the titanium and iron, preferably as ferric oxide and titanium dioxide.

The process has undergone more than six years of development including several successful pilot plant test stages, and is designed to use conventional and existing equipment currently used in extractive resources, TNG says.

In addition to the FEED contract for the process, plant and equipment, SMS’ scope will include providing a proposal for full procurement and construction, including the balance of plant and equipment to be provided on a turnkey, single-source, fixed price EPC basis.

Under the contract, SMS will now design and engineer the entire processing flowsheet for Mount Peake, which includes the concentrator, where magnetite concentrate is to be produced, and the downstream processing plant, where three high-purity products – vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxide – will be produced.

Interestingly, SMS has agreed to provide to TNG production quantity, production rate and production quality guarantees, elements TNG Managing Director Paul Burton (pictured, left) said would significantly “de-risk” the project.

SMS’s responsible Managing Director Herbert Weissenbaeck (pictured, right) said the agreement was the logical next step in the development of TIVAN and Mount Peake – “which together have the potential to essentially disrupt the TiO2 pigment and vanadium space”.

The downstream processing plant will use TNG’s 100%-owned TIVAN process. The scope of work for the plant will include a titanium pigment plant – to be developed in collaboration with its nominated sub-contractor Ti-Cons.

An updated definitive feasibility study on Mount Peake from 2017 envisaged pre-production capex of A$853 million ($617 million) for a 3 Mt/y project ramping up to 6 Mt/y in year five. This would see 24.3 Mt of magnetic concentrate turned into 10.6 Mt iron oxide and 243,000 t of vanadium oxide.