Venus Metals has kicked off a metallurgical research study that will guide the development of a new process for the recovery of vanadium, iron and titanium and from its flagship Youanmi project near Sandstone, WA.

The $100,000 study will be carried out by Associate Professor Aleks Nikoloski and his team at Murdoch University in Perth.

Notably, the Australian Government is stumping up for 45% of the study’s cost under the Innovation Connections Project grant.

Rather than use the acid leach-only approach, Professor Nikoloski and lead researcher Dr Rorie Gilligan will test combined pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical process options for the Youanmi oxide ores.

This approach is designed to test the recovery of all three metals at the Youanmi project.

Youanmi has a global, JORC-compliant mineral resource of 134.7 million tonnes grading 0.34% vanadium pentoxide, 6.27% titanium dioxide and 21.33% iron.

Vanadium pentoxide recoveries of up to 81.8% have been achieved using beneficiation and sulphuric acid leach of crushed oxide samples.

Venus has also received strong interest from the Chinese vanadium, iron and steel industries in the use of Youanmi ore for feedstock.

The company has sent a 100kg sample to China for testing purposes.

Managing Director Matt Hogan said: “We are very pleased to have been able to get the Murdoch Research team contracted to progress our metallurgical studies on the Youanmi vanadium oxide project.”

“We have a world-class measured resource; the effort now needs to go into further extraction studies.”