Critical Metals and SSAB agree to recycle by-products into high-grade vanadium
Critical Metals has reached agreement with highly specialised global steel company SSAB to recycle by-products from the steel making process into high-grade vanadium products 1 .
Critical Metals has also reached agreement with innovative project development company Neometals 2 to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed recycling solution. Neometals believes its proprietary process has the potential to place this vanadium project within the lowest quartile of production costs globally.
The recycling and recovery of metals from waste in an environmentally friendly manner is very important for Europe. Critical Metals aim to recycle by-products from SSAB’s steel production and recover high-purity vanadium for use in energy storage solutions, principally vanadium redox flow batteries 3 without the need to explore for, permit and extract vanadium from ores mined via traditional methods 4 . The recycling process will be powered by renewable energy 5 .
The aim of the long term (10 year) slag supply agreement is for Critical Metals and Neometals to be processing slag from the SSAB steel mills in Oxelösund and Luleå in Sweden and Raahe in Finland by 31 December 2024. A significant amount of research & development and permitting needs to be successfully completed within a short time period to meet the milestones set out in the SSAB agreement. Critical Metals and Neometals are confident these milestones can be achieved.
Preliminary tests completed by technology partner Neometals on by-products from the SSAB steel mills during the last 12 months has confirmed up to 80% vanadium recovery from leaching under mild conditions. Importantly Neometals’ proprietary hydrometallurgical process has significant operational, cost and risk advantages over traditional pyrometallurgical (salt-roast) process routes. The location for the recycling plant will be decided after consultation with stakeholders in Sweden and Finland to ensure production by the due date. Results from the scoping study will be released in June 2020.
Critical Metals and Neometals have a very strong relationship and Neometals are the largest shareholder in Critical Metals 6 . This recycling opportunity was introduced by Critical Metals to Neometals in early 2019. Neometals will fund and manage the evaluation activities up to consideration of an investment decision, which, if positive, will lead to a 50:50 incorporated joint venture. Critical Metals will fund and manage the relationship with SSAB and all activities in Sweden and Finland. Neometals will be entitled to a gross revenue royalty on sales of vanadium products.
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SSAB is a highly specialised global steel company with production plants in Sweden, Finland and the US having annual steel production capacity of ~8.8 million tonnes. SSAB has been at the forefront of sustainability and plans to offer fossil-free steel to the market in 2026 and to eliminate all CO 2 emissions by 2045. In 2018, SSAB’s net sales totalled US$7.5 billion. SSAB is listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm (Large cap list) and has a secondary listing on the Nasdaq Helsinki. www.ssab.com
1 The contracting party is Recycling Industries Scandinavia AB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Critical Metals Ltd, an unlisted public company based in Malå, Västerbotten.
2 Neometals Ltd is an innovative project developer registered in Australia and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:NMT).
3 Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) are a leading stationary storage technology.
4 Approximately 75% of global vanadium supply is produced in China and Russia.
5 Hydro and or wind power from Sweden and or Finland.
6 Neometals Ltd own 15.4% of Critical Metals Ltd. Neometals and Critical Metals also have an agreement covering the recycling of lithium ion batteries in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Refer www.criticalmetals.eu.