A palletisation pilot study kickstarted by a WA vanadium miner could see substantial reductions to the cost of producing the steel and battery-making mineral.

Australian Vanadium Limited, which owns the country’s largest vanadium prospect near Meekatharra, has engaged Metso Corporation’s Pennsylvania site to undertake work into the viability of palletising vanadium ore.

AVL chief operating officer Todd Richardson said he expected to see results from the trial by the end of the year.

“In typical vanadium production they have a roasting kiln … which gives you about 85-88 per cent extraction of vanadium from the magnetic concentrate, which is pretty low really,” he said.

“It is an older technology ripe for some innovation and I think we have something here that no other vanadium producer or junior mining company is developing.

AVL’s Australian Vanadium Project pit shell extends 2.5km with potential for a further 7km of inferred resource on the mining lease.

The mine has an expected life of 17.5 years producing 22 million pounds of product per year.

“It is a small market and it is closely tied to steel, but there are also a lot of things emerging that are really interesting for vanadium,” Mr Richardson said.

“One of those is vanadium redux batteries, which is a tech which competes against lithium-ion batteries and makes a lot of sense in certain applications … like bigger storage applications for grid power.

“It fits really well with solar and wind for storage.”

Mr Richardson said AVL was developing its plant to produce high-purity vanadium oxide for such purposes.

www.ferroalloynet.com