• 99.93% vanadium pentoxide purity recovered from industrial waste
  • Tests to confirm now complete in collaboration with University of QLD
  • Results lay foundation for optimisation and pilot-scale work


Special Report: Critical minerals-focused QEM has confirmed the successful extraction of vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) to an extremely high 99.93% from industrial waste in collaboration with the University of Queensland (UQ).

QEM’s (ASX:QEM) focus is on its Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale project which has a world-class 461Mt @ 0.28% V2O5 resource in the higher confidence indicated category, as well as an in-situ 6.3Mbbl 1C oil resource contained within the same orebody.

Uniquely, it has the potential to deliver innovative and sustainable energy solutions through the production of energy fuels and high-quality V2O5 to the energy storage and Australian steel sectors.

Vanadium electrolyte is one of the critical components of vanadium flow batteries (VFB) for long-duration energy storage, complementing renewable electricity generation.

Purity impacts the electrochemical performance and life of the battery itself – the higher the purity, the increased performance, capacity and efficiency.


QEM-UQ collaboration success

The Circular Economy project conducted between QEM and UQ’s Hydrometallurgy Research Laboratories is now complete, showing the ability to extract high-purity V2O5 from QLD’s industrial waste.

UQ has confirmed a technically viable method of recycling spent catalyst to produce the high-purity V2O5 – the essential component of the electrolyte used in vanadium flow batteries.

QEM supplied UQ with vanadium-bearing spent catalyst from Incitec Pivot’s Mount Isa sulphuric acid plant, where it was concluded that an acid leach, followed by solvent extraction, crystallisation and calcining is a technically viable method of recycling spent catalyst to produce high-purity V2O5.


High purity V2O5 extracted from QLD industrial waste at UQ. Pic supplied: (QEM)


QEM MD Gavin Loyden says UQ has been an optimal partner for QEM to build out experience in optimising vanadium beneficiation to further improve V2O5 yields for its flagship Julia Creek project.

“We first engaged UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute in September 2022 in mineral characterisation and beneficiation work on ore drilled at our Julia Creek critical minerals project,” Loyden says.

“Now, UQ’s labs have successfully upcycled industrial waste to produce high-purity V2O5 and QEM seeks to accelerate the introduction of QLD-sourced and processed V2O5 into the market.

“This QLD-based Circular Economy project with UQ strengthens our ESG credentials to seek innovative ways of fulfilling our environmental and social responsibilities as a junior explorer.”


This article was developed in collaboration with QEM, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.