Australian Vanadium is proposing to build a processing plant near its Western Australian project that is expected to allow it to profit from otherwise wasted iron-calcine materials.
The proposed processing plant, which is subject to a feasibility study and approvals would produce approximately 10,115 tonnes of vanadium flake per annum.
This would generate 922,500 tonnes of iron rich calcine material as a waste stream from the vanadium processing plant, which could then be used to add value to the operation.
Australian Vanadium would then have the ability to sell the iron-calcine co-product via the Port of Geraldton, making the project globally unique.
“Having a vanadium processing plant located close to the coast, combined with the amount of iron rich calcine that’s forecast to be generated by our project offers a big opportunity to unlock the value from what would otherwise be waste material,” managing director Vincent Algar said.
“Our preliminary tests and market review support a technical path to upgrade the material to be a valuable co-product, unique to Australian Vanadium’s operation.”
The company has completed piloting test work on vanadium recovery and is producing representative calcine samples to use for marketing and further metallurgical test work.
Over Australian Vanadium’s life of mine, the iron grade of calcine is forecasted to continually improve.
The company believes that the calcine could be sold as a stand-alone product with its current iron rich characteristics but at a discount of up to 50 per cent to iron benchmark prices.
Other options include converting the calcine into a large pellet for sale, which often have higher value than the standalone product, as they lack the impurities seen in the naturally occurring product.