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Sweco Finland assigned to plan Europe´s first production plant producing vanadium from recycled material

The Vanadium Recovery Project, a joint venture between Australian companies Critical Metals Ltd and Neometals Ltd, paves the way for a significant increase in high purity vanadium (V) production and self-sufficiency in Europe. The plant is to be situated in Pori, Finland.  

The vanadium will be recovered from production slag provided by SSAB´s steel production operations in Finland and Sweden under a long-term supply agreement with Critical Metals. The slag collected from the mills in Raahe, Oxelösund and Luleå naturally contains high contents of vanadium, enabling producing some of the highest purity and cost-efficient vanadium products in the world.

The project relies on a novel proprietary hydrometallurgical process that results in no waste streams as the remaining by-products are used in the production of a low-carbon cement alternative utilising industrial side streams.  The project will set a new precedent for circular economy practices in metal processing.

The proprietary hydrometallurgical flowsheet suitable for recovering vanadium from the slag has been tested prior in Neometals’ pilot plant in Perth, Australia. The hydrometallurgical leaching process path has significant operational, cost and risk advantages over the traditional pyrometallurgical process route. Processing flowsheet utilises conventional equipment at atmospheric pressure mild temperatures and nonexotic materials in construction.

The recovery of metals from by-products in an environmentally friendly manner is very important for Europe. The EU commission has defined vanadium as a critical raw material for the union. The project is aiming for a minimum 1.5-million-ton reduction of CO2-emissions over a 10-year period compared to conventional mining and processing. The recovery process will be powered with renewable energy and use carbon dioxide extracted from other industrial businesses within the region. The plants water system is also closed with no discharge to the nature.

The vanadium can be used in energy storage solutions such as vanadium redox flow batteries, specialty steel applications and next generation lithium vanadium cells.

Sweco Finland has consulted on the Vanadium Recovery Project since 2021, being responsible for the environmental impact assessment, supporting technical assignments and the feasibility study. The ongoing permitting process is expected to complete late 2022 whereafter an investment decision will be considered. The execution phase would start in 2023 and the plant be operational in 2024.

“We are privileged to be part of this innovative and inspiring project that conveys our strategy and value proposition so well into practice. I want to thank both our clients and our local staff on sight in Pori for a great continuous collaboration. More bold collaborations like this are needed to boost circular economy and growing awareness and solutions on how to utilize all aspects of one´s production process”, says Industry´s Division Director Erik Skogström at Sweco Finland.

 

More information:

Erik Skogström, Division Director, Industry, Sweco Finland, +358 400 828912, erik.skogstrom@sweco.fi

Tim Karike, Head of Press, Sweco Finland, +358 44 5075562, tim.karike@sweco.fi

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