ASX-listed company QEM (ASX:QEM) reports its new global industry, research, and education partner, the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (UQ SMI), has started the first work order at its Julia Creek Vanadium / Oil Shale Project in Queensland.
The initial work being undertaken by UQ SMI comprises the characterisation of mineralogy of the company’s Julia Creek shale post-oil extraction in order to assist in optimising vanadium beneficiation to further improve the vanadium pentoxide yields.
It is reported that UQ SMI will utilise material produced from the successful testing at QEM’s bench-scale pilot plant that was commissioned in May this year at the Melbourne headquarters of HRL Technology Group.
UQ SMI employs a multi-disciplinary approach to mineral processing in order to potentially reduce energy use and the environmental footprint of mining operations.
Work conducted by UQ SMI falls under the ‘umbrella agreement’, which was signed between both parties on 29 September 2022.
Commenting on the partnership, QEM Managing Director, Gavin Loyden says: “The project’s progression, from a stake in the ground in Julia Creek to partnering with a world-leading research institute is a satisfying step towards delivering on this exciting critical minerals project.
“We are excited to work with the UQ SMI team who are equally committed to the principles of ESG throughout their operations”
We are excited to work with the UQ SMI team who are equally committed to the principles of ESG throughout their operations. They will reinforce QEM’s efforts to ensure the responsible supply of high purity vanadium pentoxide into Queensland’s large scale battery supply chain.”
The company also notes that for this project, UQ SMI have brought together experts in mineral surface chemistry, process mineralogy, ore and tailings, as well as mining and geotechnical engineering to see if rare earth elements (REEs) are hosted in the sample.
The collaboration will be headed by Professor Mohsen Yahyaei, the Director of the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) at UQ SMI and leader of world-class collaborative research programs in mineral processing.
In addition, it is reported that this collaboration will complement QEM’s concurrent program with UK-based GSA Environmental to optimise vanadium recovery through lower carbon-intensive processes rather than traditional roasting and acid leaching.
QEM is a publicly listed company that is focused on the exploration and development of its flagship Julia Creek Project, which is located in North West (NW) Queensland and covers a total land area of 250km-square. The company’s Julia Creek tenement represented a unique world-class resource with the potential to utilise and deliver innovative and sustainable energy solutions through the production of energy fuels and vanadium pentoxide.
QEM’s goal is to become a leading producer of liquid fuels, as well as a global supplier of high-quality vanadium pentoxide in order to the nascent energy storage sector and the Australian steel industry due to the global vanadium deficit.
The projects globally ‘significant’ JORC 2012 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 2,850 million tonnes at 0.31% V2O5 represents one of the single largest ASX-listed vanadium resources and is a ‘significant’ opportunity for development.