Tag Archives: vanadium

TNG enlists Metso Outotec’s H2-based Circored process for Mount Peake concentrate plans

TNG Limited, an Australia-based resources company, has awarded Metso Outotec a study looking at reducing Mount Peake Ti-V magnetite concentrate using Circored™ technology, which uses hydrogen as its only reductant source.

As part of the study, Metso Outotec will perform a techno-economic assessment to integrate Circored technology into TNG’s TIVAN® process that provides for the extraction of high-quality products from Ti-V magnetite orebodies.

Metso Outotec has been granted this assignment following positive test work performed for TNG, which confirmed the applicability of hydrogen-based reduction for Mount Peake Ti-V magnetite concentrate.

The test work program, which was a precursor to a more detailed commercial and technical evaluation, was a success, TNG says, delivering the following results:

  • Achieved iron metallisation targets across a range of testwork parameters;
  • Demonstrated the viability of processing Mount Peake titanomagnetite concentrate with Metso Outotec’s Circored technology; and
  • Generated samples for downstream validation testwork.

Now, Metso Outotec will further define the process flowsheet for the Mount Peake project and prepare a preliminary capital cost and operating cost (+/-30%) for a Circored Plant.

The use of hydrogen is a key part of the TNG’s medium-to-longer-term strategy to reduce its net carbon footprint from processing operations at the Mount Peake project.

TNG Managing Director & CEO, Paul Burton, said the Metso Outotec study also complements its existing partnership with SMS group, which TNG has a strategic partnership with, to investigate green hydrogen production at Mount Peake.

Located 235 km north of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory of Australia, Mount Peake will be a long-life project producing a suite of high-quality, high-purity strategic products for global markets including vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment and iron ore fines, accordiing to TNG. The project has received Major Project Status from the Australian Federal Government and the Northern Territory Government.

Circored, part of Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive portfolio, is a process that uses hydrogen as the sole reducing agent in the reduction of fine ores, enabling carbon neutrality for metal processing plants.

Boston Metal looks to disrupt and decarbonise steel and iron ore industries

Boston Metal is looking to decarbonise the steel-making sector at the same time as helping iron ore producers with their Scope 3 emissions dilemma.

The concept of ‘green steel’ has been widely discussed over the last few years, with LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall’s HYBRIT project being the most cited case study, thanks to both its advanced stage of development – it has already produced fossil-free steel on a trial basis – and its revolutionary way of introducing hydrogen in place of coke as the iron ore reduction method in the steel-making process.

SSAB and LKAB are leveraging HYBRIT to completely transform their production processes: SSAB is building new hydrogen-based steel making facilities able to match its current base of 8.8 Mt/y of steel by 2030 and LKAB is moving from iron ore pellet production to direct reduced iron (DRI) in line with this.

Tadeu Carneiro, Chairman & CEO of Boston Metal

The ambitions of such a project are impressive, but can such a green steel-making process be applied to the circa-1,900 Mt of steel currently being produced for the world market?

The answer is no, according to Tadeu Carneiro, Chairman & CEO of Boston Metal.

He expands on this: “There are four ways of reducing iron oxides into a metal for steel-making. One is through the use of carbon; another way is through using another metal as a reductant, which is currently not feasible; the third one is with hydrogen, which is possible – as HYBRIT has shown – but is limited to premium iron ores; and the last is through our solution.”

The solution in question is – like HYBRIT – a green option, but – unlike HYBRIT – is applicable to all iron ores, regardless of grade, according to Carneiro.

Boston Metal’s process, which it calls Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE), works by adding iron ore to an electrolytic cell and passing electricity through said cell. The electricity both breaks the bonds of the iron oxides present, as well as heats up the whole batch within the cell, creating molten iron that sinks to the bottom of the cell ready for collection (tapping).

During the bond breaking and heating process, MOE produces oxygen as a by-product, with the resultant oxides forming the electolyte and remaining in said electrolyte (floating above the liquid iron).

“Because it is molten, the iron gets separated from the electrolyte and sits in the bottom of the cell,” Carneiro said. “As the molten iron is heavier than the electrolyte, the impurities float to the top and can be tapped separately.”

So, not only do companies using MOE get a molten iron product, they also get a slag by-product that can be used in various applications in the construction industry – all without using coking coal or coke.

“In traditional blast furnace-based steel making, you have to pelletise or sinter the iron ore, you need to process coking coal into coke and you then have to mix the two in the blast furnace and blow air to get pig iron,” Carneiro explained. “This pig iron contains around 4% carbon, which needs to be burnt off through, typically, a process in the basic oxygen furnace to get molten iron.”

Boston Metal’s MOE process gets to this same point using just iron ore and electricity, according to Carneiro.

“All of this is replaced by a battery of cells that, when assembled in significant numbers, can compete with blast furnaces in terms of molten iron capacity,” he said.

Carneiro expanded on what he meant by ‘significant numbers’, offering up an example of 300 MOE modules assembled in two lines of 150 able to produce 1 Mt of steel.

And all of this is in an incremental capital expenditure range within the millions of dollars, instead of the billions of dollars often required to build a traditional steel-making plant.

This puts a green process in the reach of not only steel-makers but iron ore producers, according to Carneiro.

“If you have green electricity at an iron ore mine, you can bring the cells there, melt the iron and ship a metallic product to steel-makers,” Carneiro said.

This pure iron product can be remelted elsewhere and processed into flat and long steel products for the automotive and construction industries.

“This represents a higher value-added product for iron ore miners, enabling them to ship a product that is 40% lighter in terms of weight,” Carneiro explained.

Finding a ‘green’ end-user that brings down a miners’ Scope 3 emissions while holding a molten iron ore product is a lot easier than finding one when shipping iron fines, concentrate or sinter: hence the reason why iron ore miners’ Scope 3 emission goals appear a lot less ambitious than the Scope 1 and 2 targets within their control.

It is no wonder BHP and Vale have been early backers of Boston Metal.

It sounds too good to be true, and there is a reason for that.

From speaking to Carneiro, the company could start producing molten iron through the chosen method today – not at a scale the steel-industry would yet consider commercial, but at a pilot scale at least.

For the commercial process to be considered green, the company would need renewable electricity to do this; and lots of it.

Carneiro doesn’t shy away from this, explaining that MOE will require 4 MWh of electricity per tonne of steel to work at such a scale. This is the equivalent of up to 500 MW for a 1 Mt/y molten iron plant.

The incumbent process Carneiro and his US-based team are looking to take market share from requires 5.5-6 MWh of energy per tonne of steel, while the electric arc furnace (EAF) method of making steel – which uses predominantly scrap metal – has a much smaller electricity requirement.

“If you had 2 billion tonnes of scrap to be melted, the EAF route is the best way to make steel, hands down,” Carneiro admits. “The problem is you don’t have such scrap availability and, in order to increase supply, you would need lots more steel coming from iron ore.”

For reference, the HYBRIT process is expected to require 600 MW of hydrogen electrolyser capacity to 2025 to get LKAB to the 1.3 Mt/y sponge iron (DRI) mark.

Yet, scrap steel is not the only thing in short supply currently. Green electricity is far from abundant, with only the likes of Quebec (hydro power capacity) and some Nordic countries having a plentiful supply – a fact Carneiro acknowledges.

“If you don’t believe that green electricity will be available, abundant, reliable and cheap in the future, you can forget about the MOE process,” he said. “But then you also have to forget about a lot of other processes that are set to use green electricity and the massive amounts of investment the green energy space is seeing on an annual basis.

“Society has decided to go electric and to go electric in a green way, so it is only reasonable to expect that, in the future, electricity will be all of this.”

Carneiro is planning for such a transition, with his company in the process of commissioning a full-size industrial MOE cell at its Woburn, Massachusetts headquarters. This could be ready as early as next month.

It follows a trial of a pilot cell at Brazil-based ferroniobium producer CBMM’s production plant in Araxá, Brazil, where the technology was able to use the same process to turn niobium ore into high-value ferroniobium-based products.

“We were able to prove out the process with CBMM on a smaller scale, which has given us the confidence to make a much bigger cell.”

The company plans to use this bigger cell and, through a subsidiary in Brazil, take advantage of other opportunities to extract value from mining waste using the MOE technology. This could see Boston Metal assemble a battery of MOE cells to manufacture some 5,000-10,000 t of high value-added metals.

While this is deemed ‘pilot scale’ for steel producers, it is sizeable for those producing high value-added products such as niobium, vanadium, tantalum, chrome and others, Carneiro said. And the project will only aide the company’s steel-making ambitions.

“By developing the cell for these high value-added metals, we are finding lots of the answers for the steel-sized cells as well,” he said.

Such groundwork today is preparing the company for a time when steel-makers and iron ore miners have assessed the green electricity landscape and are ready to invest in such technology.

“All the leading steel-making companies have made pledges to be carbon neutral by the 2050s,” Carneiro said. “This means they need to phase out carbon reduction by the mid- to late-2030s. By this point in time, we will be ready to offer our solution on a commercial scale, allowing them to take advantage of the abundance of iron ores – low and high grade – around the world.”

Clough works up integrated design layout for TNG’s Mount Peake project

TNG Ltd says an integrated design layout for its flagship Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia has been developed and delivered by Australian engineering and construction company, Clough Projects Australia Pty Ltd.

As announced in October, TNG appointed Clough to work with its project team and SMS group for Mount Peake following a strategic decision to progress a fully-integrated operation at the Mount Peake mine site and given the severe restrictions on travel between Europe and Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic that have impacted SMS’ ability to deliver a team in Australia.

Clough, together with TNG’s project team, has developed the integrated layout on the basis of the deliverables prepared under the front-end engineering and design study completed by SMS. The layout comprises the beneficiation plant, TIVAN® processing facility and plant utilities located within the mining lease footprint of Mount Peake site.

The integrated plants will be positioned adjacent to the western boundary of the designated mining areas within the company’s existing Mining Lease 29855, which covers an area of 1,460 ha. This area is capable of hosting a fully-integrated operation encompassing mining activities and waste storage, the beneficiation plant, the TIVAN processing facility and non-process infrastructure.

The integrated layout will be “unconstrained” compared with the size and shape requirements at the former Darwin site, TNG said. This offers the potential to capitalise on improving constructability, operability and maintenance for the project, as well as further cost optimisations from integrated infrastructure.

TNG has now commissioned Clough to progress value engineering to optimise outcomes in cost/schedule; and design aspects incorporating, civil, structural and architectural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation engineering disciplines, logistics and non-process infrastructure.

Clough will work with TNG’s project team and have support from SMS to undertake this next engineering and design stage and deliver an updated capital cost estimate for the development of Mount Peake, with this stage expected to be completed by May 2022.

TNG’s Managing Director and CEO, Paul Burton, said: “The completion of this design paves the way for value engineering and final design work to commence, which in turn will underpin an updated capital cost estimate and pave the way for project finance completion.”

Clough’s CEO and Managing Director, Peter Bennett, added: “We are excited with our ongoing collaboration with TNG on their Mount Peake project as we develop sustainable solutions for the resources sector in Australia. We are proud of our role and long history of delivering world-class engineering and construction projects and critical infrastructure both in Australia and overseas.”

Located 235 km north of Alice Springs, Mount Peake is expected to be a long-life project producing a suite of high-quality, high-purity strategic products for global markets including vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment and iron ore fines. The project, which is expected to be a top-10 global producer, has received Major Project Status from the Northern Territory and Federal Governments.

IGO to trial VSUN Energy’s VRFP energy storage tech at Nova nickel operation

IGO Limited looks set to test VSUN Energy’s vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) energy storage technology in a standalone power system (SPS) application at its Nova nickel operation in Western Australia.

An SPS supplies power independently to the electricity grid and typically comprises a combination of solar, wind, battery and backup generation from diesel or gas. The SPS at Nova, supplied by Australian Vanadium Ltd subsidiary VSUN, will power a bore pump with a target of 100% renewable energy use.

The SPS heading to IGO’s nickel operation will be based around a 300 kWh VRFB from Spanish manufacturer E22. The system has been designed to provide a 100% renewable energy supply for much of the year, with periods of long cloud cover being supported by a diesel genset, Australian Vanadium said.

Total renewable penetration of 85-90% is being targeted for the trial of the VRFB-based SPS system.

The SPS is redeployable for use on multiple mines sites and locations over its 20-plus year service life, Australian Vanadium said. The target of long periods with “diesel-off” will not only significantly reduce the carbon emissions of diesel generator powered bore fields, but also offer substantial reductions in operating hours for service personnel, according to the company.

“These two significant benefits indicate a potentially rapid growth market segment for this robust technology,” the company said.

Australian Vanadium Managing Director, Vincent Algar, said: “Working with IGO on this project will accelerate the objectives of the companies and broader mining industry towards carbon neutrality. The robustness of VRFB energy storage makes it perfectly suited to the tough environments found on many Australian mine sites.”

He added: “The installation of an SPS based on vanadium technology for pumping applications enables diesel to be almost entirely eliminated, helping reduce overall carbon emissions and providing reliable green power. We look forward to trialling and then duplicating this system based on an Australian invention and with Australian-made vanadium electrolyte from AVL in Western Australia.”

IGO’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Dusci, said: “IGO’s strategic focus is on those products that are critical to enabling clean energy solutions, to create a better planet. As part of our strategy to deliver those products, we aspire to be carbon neutral across our business and to do this, in part, by leveraging renewable energy solutions and innovation to reduce emissions at our remote exploration and mining operations. We are excited to be collaborating with AVL on this pilot at our Nova operation.”

In July 2021, AVL was awarded a A$3.69 million ($2.69 million) Federal Government manufacturing grant under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing National Manufacturing Priority roadmap. Part of the matched funding is allocated to development of the SPS that will be installed at IGO’s Nova nickel operation.

The remainder of the grant will be used to finalise the high purity processing circuit for the Australian Vanadium Project; build and operate a commercial vanadium electrolyte manufacturing plant producing 33 MWh/y and manufacture a prototype of a residential VRFB.

The agreement with IGO will end 12 months from the date of system commissioning and first power production, unless extended or terminated in accordance with the agreement. The SPS is being provided to IGO at no charge, with the option to purchase or rent the system at the end of the trial period. The project will enable IGO to analyse the performance of the SPS for potential use in its dewatering and bore pumps systems.

TNG brings Clough into Mount Peake Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project fold

TNG Ltd has appointed a subsidiary of engineering and construction company, Clough, to work with TNG’s project development team and the SMS Group on its flagship Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

TNG announced in September that it had decided to progress development of the project with a fully-integrated mining and processing operation within its existing mining leases. As part of this strategy, it was considered by the TNG team important to have a suitable Australian-based engineering group on board.

Following a tender process, Clough Projects Australia Pty Ltd was selected to work with TNG’s team to initially develop an optimised plant layout for the integration of the TIVAN® processing facility (TPF) and beneficiation plant at the mine site, on the basis of the deliverables prepared under the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study completed by SMS group.

Clough, TNG says, will work with SMS and TNG’s team given the severe restrictions on travel between Europe and Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic that have impacted SMS’ ability to deliver a team in Australia.

TNG previously engaged Clough to assess the definitive feasibility study for the project and this new contract expands on this early work to progress the overall mine development, it says.

The optimised layout will be unconstrained compared with the size and shape requirements at the former Darwin site. This offers the potential to capitalise on improving constructability, operability and maintenance for the project, as well as further cost optimisations from integrated infrastructure, the company says.

The integrated plants will be positioned within the company’s existing Mining Lease 29855, which has a size of 1,460 ha. This area is capable of hosting a fully-integrated operation encompassing mining activities and waste storage, the beneficiation plant, the TPF and non-process infrastructure, according to TNG.

TNG’s Managing Director & CEO, Paul Burton, said: “From a strategic and logistical perspective given the continued global COVID-19-related travel restrictions, it is an advantage to have a locally-based engineering group working on this phase of the Mount Peake project with TNG and SMS.

“We expect the integrated plant layout will pave the way for further optimisation work that will tie back into the recently completed FEED study. These work programs are already underway. We look forward to working closely with Clough and our other engineering partners to rapidly advance the Mount Peake project.”

Located 235 km north of Alice Springs, Mount Peake is expected to be a long-life project producing a suite of high-quality, high-purity strategic products for global markets including vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment and iron ore fines. The project, which is expected to be a top-10 global producer, has received Major Project Status from the Northern Territory and Federal Governments.

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.