Toro eyeing vanadium production as part of uranium project development
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Uranium hopefuls are increasingly looking at producing vanadium at the same time to improve project economics.
While uranium prices are trending upwards, they aren’t good enough to justify new mine development just yet.
Vanadium prices have settled in the mid-teens after a late 2018 spike – which is still far higher than the 2016/early 2017 average of about $US4/lb.
Last year, former producer Paladin (ASX:PDN) said it was considering vanadium co-production at its mothballed Langer Henrich uranium mine in Namibia.
Now Toro Energy (ASX:TOE) wants to recover both uranium and vanadium concurrently at its advanced Wiluna project in Western Australia.
Toro noticed that a decent amount of vanadium was in the solution post-leach during its recent scoping study.
The leaching process uses chemicals to absorb and extract certain metals from ore.
Toro says dual processing vanadium with uranium “move[s] the project closer to a situation where it may not be as economically dependent on the uranium price”.
Initial tests to optimise the leach conditions needed to efficiently extract both uranium and vanadium at the same time is expected to kick off within the next month.