Neometals Seals Deal For Share In Finnish Vanadium Recovery Project

Neometals has executed a slew of agreements to secure the company 50 per cent ownership of joint venture company Recycling Industries Scandinavia AB, or “RISAB” to develop the first Finnish vanadium recovery project.
The balance of RISAB equity is held by unlisted Australian mineral development company Critical Metals whilst Neometals holds approximately 19 per cent of Critical’s issued capital.
Both parties are working together to evaluate the feasibility of constructing a facility in Pori, Finland to process and recover high-purity vanadium pentoxide from vanadium-bearing steel making by-product, or “slag” generated or obtained by Scandinavian steelmaker SSAB.
The ownership agreement gives Neometals control of operations of the joint venture and also allows the company the right to appoint the RISAB chair with a casting vote.
Neometals has also executed a technology licence for its slag processing intellectual property to RISAB for a 2.5 per cent gross sales royalty and provided SSAB a guarantee for an amended feedstock supply agreement for the slag. Under the binding deal SSAB will supply two million tonnes of slag with RISAB having the first right to purchase additional tonnes when available.
The new slag supply agreement still contains the condition that a project investment decision must be made by 30 June 2023, but removes the requirement to be in production by 31st December 2024.
Neometals says the agreement also provides a reasonable basis for the finalisation and release of feasibility study results based on a 300,000 tonne-per-annum feed rate, incorporating updated data from the previously announced engineering cost study.
Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed said: “We are pleased to formalise our ownership in the VRP and finalise the new supply arrangements with SSAB which supports our expanded plant size. Neometals will now finalise the evaluation activities and publish financial and carbon footprint metrics this quarter.”
Earlier this year Neometals extended a deal with Critical Metals until the end of February to give the company time to secure an increased vanadium source deal using by-product from Nordic steelmaker SSAB.
RISAB was previously in high-level talks with SSAB to up its two million tonne supply deal and push the case for first refusal rights on extra slag volume.
Neometals says the new recovery operation offers an opportunity to extract high-grade vanadium from slag without the need for a mining operation’s costs and carbon footprint.
Vanadium has traditionally been used as a hardening ingredient in steelmaking but is increasingly catching the eye of the battery industry where it is touted as having a lucrative future in grid-scale power storage.
The metal’s benefits over lithium-ion in such uses include favourable costs at scale, safety, longevity and consistency of power delivery over longer periods. Steel slag currently supplies the bulk of the world’s vanadium needs, according to Vanitec.
Neometals in July revealed a study of its vanadium recovery operation placed it in the lowest quartile of the industry cost curve, pointing to a relatively low-cost project that could potentially boast a zero-emission footprint.