Australian Vanadium plans to undertake its vanadium roast pilot at Metso’s Danville, Pennsylvania facilities in the United States, where over 120 grate kiln testing programs have been performed previously.
The vanadium producer has appointed Metso for the next phase of definitive feasibility study pilot testing due to its expertise in grate kiln processing solutions.
Australian Vanadium will work with Metso to develop an improved thermal processing solution that involves pelletising of the vanadium-rich iron concentrate produced at the Australian Vanadium project in Western Australia.
Pelletising has been used in Europe and China for the processing of primary vanadium-titanium-iron ores, according to Australian Vanadium.
The company has completed bench-scale tests on its pelletised vanadium-rich iron concentrate, which confirms that pelletised concentrate roasting offers a “substantial advantage” to the traditional rotary kiln technology.
Australian Vanadium’s pelletised roasting tests have shown vanadium extraction results averaged 95.4 per cent, versus a rotary kiln extraction of 85–88 per cent.
“Vanadium roasting technology has not changed much since the 1930s, when cement kiln technology was adapted for salt roasting vanadium bearing ores,” Australian Vanadium chief operating officer Todd Richardson said.
“Since that time, the technology has gone largely unchanged. By partnering with Metso, a world leader in pyrometallurgical processing, Australian Vanadium is confident that the roasting process can be greatly improved.”
This method could improve roasting reaction, minimise dusting and reduce build-up of residues within the kiln, according to Australian Vanadium.
The next phase calls for pilot scale testing to simulate and optimise the grate kiln process.