Australian Vanadium (AVL) has appointed Wood Minerals and Metals to undertake the early contractor involvement (ECI) services for the Australian vanadium project pyrometallurgical processing plant.

The ECI process will involve the development of the design and execution strategy for the pelletisation and roasting area of the vanadium extraction process. It will run through until the second quarter of this year.

Besides, it will include revising the expected capital expenditures and operating expenditures and updating the materials take-off as required along with updating and finalising the process design criteria.

AVL said that it is moving towards the final design for the plant to be located at Tenindewa, east of Geraldton in Western Australia.

The Australian vanadium project is an open-pit vanadium mine being developed near Meekatharra, Western Australia. It consists of 15 tenements spanning an area of nearly 200km2 and is fully-owned by the company.

As a result of the project’s significance as a battery and critical metal initiative, the Australian government granted it federal major project status in 2019, while the Western Australian government gave it state lead agency status in 2020.

The associated vanadium pentoxide processing plant will be situated inland from the port city of Geraldton, while the open cut mine and concentrator will be located south of Meekatharra.

AVL CEO Graham Arvidson said: “AVL has worked with Wood for several years and has been impressed by the high quality of technical work that the team has undertaken.

“Having someone who fully understands the pyrometallurgical requirements for vanadium processing is essential for a successful outcome. We are very pleased to be working with the Wood team on this ECI phase for the processing plant.”

As part of the process to accelerate long lead time and critical equipment, preferred vendors will be identified and pre-qualified for delivering key pyrometallurgical equipment, stated AVL.