Vanadium Recovery Project Targeting Significant Increase In Vanadium Production In Europe With Low Emissions

An EIT RawMaterials-supported vanadium recovery joint venture in Finland between two Australian project development companies—Critical Metals Ltd and Neometals Ltd—plans to increase high-purity vanadium production in Europe for use in grid-scale vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs), specialty steel applications and next-generation lithium vanadium cells.
The Vanadium Recovery Project (VRP) is targeting a 1.5 million tonne reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere over 10 years compared to conventional mining. The VRP won’t have any waste streams and will set a new precedent for circular economy practices in metals processing.
Critical has executed a 10-year slag supply agreement with Scandinavian steel giant SSAB to access approximately 2Mt of stockpiled high-grade vanadium-bearing Slag from three operating steel mills. Neometals has extensive experience in the metallurgical processing of vanadium-bearing concentrates from its Barrambie Titanium-Vanadium project and has, through a wholly owned subsidiary Avanti Materials Ltd, developed a proprietary hydrometallurgical flowsheet suitable for recovering vanadium from the slag.
The flowsheet utilizes conventional equipment and is subject to provisional patent applications, tailored to recover high-purity vanadium chemicals from slag. Extensive due-diligence test-work completed by Neometals’ chosen metallurgical contractor on multiple SSAB Slag samples has confirmed up to 80% vanadium recovery from leaching under mild conditions at atmospheric pressure.
The hydrometallurgical leaching process path has significant operational, cost and risk advantages over the traditional pyrometallurgical (salt-roast) process route.
This positions Critical Metals and Neometals on the cusp of becoming major producer of vanadium in Europe late in 2024.
Vanadium is a critical raw material according to the European Commission and features superior energy density compared to other battery materials. It is becoming recognized as a significant addition to new lithium-ion chemistries used in electric vehicles as well as in VRFBs used for long duration energy storage solutions from renewable sources. Currently, approximately 75% of global vanadium supply is sourced from China, South Africa, and Russia.
Neometals is Critical Metals’ largest shareholder and holds 15.4% of its issued capital.