Surefire Resources has announced that it has developed a new process for extracting vanadium directly from magnetite concentrate at its Victory Bore Vanadium project in Western Australia.

The test work process achieved extraction for vanadium of 91 per cent after a 96-hour leach directly from magnetite concentrate. Additionally, an unexpected extraction of 88 per cent titanium was also recovered. The leach process was applied to pre-treated concentrate allowing the process to effectively scavenge vanadium. 

In May 2023 the company appointed METS Engineering to undertake an assessment of potential for recovery of a high purity vanadium oxide in liquid form, from which a clean high purity vanadium electrolyte could be produced for use in the emerging vanadium battery sector in Australasia. 

Following a detailed literature search and a review of all existing extraction processes, a direct leaching test work programme was designed and established by the METS team. Supervision and reporting was carried out under the direction of METS and all test work undertaken at Western Australian laboratories. 

A total of four separate hydro-chemical tests were carried out on pre-treated magnetite concentrate (PTMC). The successful process is an adaptation of several commercially scalable processes used within the mineral resource industry and involves leaching under certain conditions of the PTMC. 

Laboratory testwork involved batches of PTMC from the Victory Bore deposit subjected to four separate leachants with catalysts, under various novel conditions. 

While additional test work will be required in the next stages leading to a pilot plant testing the company will assess the benefits in using this process for the downstream process flow sheet with possible reductions in capital and operating costs, and also assess the potential to licence the process for use on other vanadium resources

Featured image: Magnetite concentrate undergoing low-intensity magnetic separation. Image credit: Surefire Resources.

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