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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Conference Reports: International Symposium on Vanadium


International Symposium on Vanadium
Montreal, Canada, August 11-14, 2002

An International Symposium on Vanadium, organized by Dr. Mehmet F. Taner, was held in conjunction with the Conference of Metallurgists in Montreal, Canada. Vanadium is a strategic metal having many important industrial applications. It is widely used to toughen and strengthen steels. Vanadium foil is used as a bonding agent in cladding titanium to steel and generally by the aerospace industry. Medical implants often contain vanadium alloys because of their excellent stability. Some vanadium compounds have catalytic properties that make them useful in many industrial applications, such as the production of sulfuric acid. The vanadium redox battery is an exciting new development, which has found uses in load leveling, back-up power, and for storage of electricity from wind and solar power.

The symposium covered various aspects of vanadium and its industry, including the production of vanadium oxides and ferrovanadium, and the latest discoveries, developments and emerging markets. Keynote lectures were given by internationally known experts in the areas of interest to the vanadium industry. Original papers were presented in four sessions.

Session I: History, Geology and Mineralogy

Session I contained six talks: 1. "Two Hundred Years of Vanadium" by F. Habashi, explained the historical development of vanadium metal since its discovery in 1801; 2. "The Vanadium Industry: A Review" by L. Perron, provided a detailed analysis of the vanadium industry in the world, including production, price, marketing, and new applications; 3. "Roof Rock Assimilation in the Doré Lake Complex and its Influence on Vanadium Concentration" by G.O. Allard, who gave an excellent talk about the geological environment of the Chibougamau vanadium deposits in Quebec and the role of roof rock assimilation in magma chambers in the formation of vanadium deposits; 4. "Mineralogy of the Matagami and Chibougamau Vanadium Deposits, Abitibi, Québec, Canada" by M.F. Taner, T.S. Ercit and R.A. Gault, who talked about the mineralogy of Matagami and Chibougamau vanadium deposits from the Abitibi greenstone belt, Québec and discussed where the vanadium is located in the vanadium ore structure; 5. "Titanium Vanadium Resources in Southern Québec: The Anorthosite Link" by S. Perreault, who explained existing relationship between titanium and vanadium resources in the Grenville Province, Québec; and 6. "Vanadium Resource Potential At Matagami, Québec" by G. Arnold and M. Allard, who gave detailed geological and geophysical information on recently discovered vanadium deposits at Matagami Québec owned by Noranda Inc.

Session II: Processing

Session II contained the following three talks: 1. "The Production of Vanadium Pentoxide" by S. Bradbury, who explained the flow sheet for the classic (over 30 years old) Sodium Salt roasting process for the production of vanadium pentoxide from vanadiferous magnetite as used by the main South African producing plants; 2. "Beneficiation of Vanadium-Bearing Magnetite from the Sinarsuk Deposit, West Greenland" by T. Grammatikopoulos, A. McKen, R. Molnar, and O. Christiansen, who gave the results of pilot testing on the vanadium-bearing magnetite from West Greenland; 3. "The Recovery and Assimilation Kinetics of Ferrovanadium Alloys in Liquid Steel" by S.A. Argyropoulos, who explained the assimilation kinetics of various grades of ferrovanadium alloy additions in liquid steel.

Session III: Electrochemical Applications

The session III contained the following four talks: 1. "An Historical Overview of the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery, Development at the University of New South Wales" by M. Skyllas-Kazacos, who gave an excellent overview on the important features and advantages of the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRB). She provided an historical overview of the VRB development since 1984, as well as an update on the commercial installations that have been recently commissioned and are being planned around the world; 2. "The Impact of Low Temperature on Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB) Performance”by M. Gattrell, J. Park, B. MacDougall, S. McCarthy and J. MacDonald, who discussed the effect of temperature on the rates of the vanadium redox reactions underlying the VRB, and the implications of low temperature for VRB system design for remote off grid applications in Canada; 3. "Development and Applications of the Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery" by S. Miyake and N. Tokuda, who presented successful applications of VRBs installed by his company at various locations for reliable power, load leveling, and wind power stabilization. Long-term tests with the VRB systems connected to actual electrical networks have been carried out, verifying their performance and VRBs are now available commercially. Thus the VRB, which use large volumes of vanadium in sulfuric acid solution as the electrolyte, represents a new energy storage system for large-scale energy storage applications.; 4. "The Lac Doré Vanadium Project: Current and Future Trends" by J. Sawarin explained the success to date of McKenzie Bay International Ltd in developing the Lac Doré vanadium/titanium deposit at Chibougamau, Quebec. This deposit is considered to represent the world’s second largest with the deposit having good quality, size and consistency along with a highly favourable infrastructure and tariff advantages. As well, McKenzie Bay’s future role in the newly evolving vanadium markets was discussed.

Session IV: Extractive Metallurgy

Due to illness C.K. Gupta, was unable to attend the symposium, but he submitted two papers to the proceedings volume. One being "The Vanadium Metallurgy Scenario Then, Now and Future" reviewing vanadium metallurgy, with particular emphasis on the extraction, refining and processing of this important and versatile metal, as well as a few applications of vanadium, such as steel additives, vanadium-titanium alloys for the aircraft industry and potential uses such as gallium/vanadium alloys as a semiconductor material; and "The Aluminothermic Process for Vanadium Production" which discusses the basic principles and the practice of aluminothermic technology, both in general terms and as they apply to the recovery of vanadium;

The session had four other presentations: 1. "Recovery of Vanadium from Fly Ash and Spent Catalysts" by G.V.K. Puvvada, R. Sridhar and V.I. Lakshmanan, who gave the results of their investigations for the recovery of vanadium from spent catalysts and fly ash obtained from processing tar sands. Processes used included flotation, leaching and finally ion exchange. They also described the recovery of vanadium from spent catalysts, which was attempted through sulphidizing roasting followed by acid leaching; 2. "The Behaviour of Vanadium (III) during Jarosite Precipitation" by J.E Dutrizac and T.T. Chen, discussed the synthesis of V(III) analogue of potassium jarosite at 100°C from VCl3 solutions containing an excess of K2SO4; 3. "Recovery of Vanadium from Oil Sands Fly Ash" by P. Holloway and T.H. Etsell, presented the results of the most recent studies into vanadium recovery from oil sands fly ash in northern Alberta, Canada, produced by Suncor and Syncrude, and proposed strategies to improve vanadium extractions; 4. "Vanadium Extraction from a Mexican Power Plant Residue" by J.A. Barrera-Godínez and T. Campos-González, who gave the results of their studies for the recovery of vanadium from the slags from heavy oil-burning plants in Mexico, which generate about 1,000 tonnes of slag per year containing 29% vanadium They indicate that this slag can be considered as a viable vanadium resource in Mexico.

In conjunction with the symposium, Prof. M. Skyllas-Kazacos, from School of Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, gave a very successful short course on "Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems and Applications". The one-day short course described the principles of electrochemical energy systems and the fundamentals of electrochemistry, secondary batteries and fuel cells. Advanced batteries for stationary and mobile applications were described, including the features and characteristics of the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery, the Sodium Sulphur, Zinc-Bromine, Sodium-Metal Chloride, Sulphur-Bromine and Lead-Acid battery systems. The criteria used in the assessment of different battery storage technologies was covered together with practical calculations of capacity, theoretical and practical energy density, coulombic efficiency and overall energy efficiency. Important design considerations for maximizing battery energy efficiencies were also discussed.

All papers presented at the international symposium on vanadium were published as a Proceedings volume (Vanadium-Geology, Processing and Applications, edited by M.F.Taner, P.A. Riveros, J.E. Dutriziac, M.A. Gattrell and L.M.Perron, ISBN 1-894475-26-7, 265 pages, COM2002). This book is available via Metallurgical Society of CIM at the cost of $CAN50.00 (to order, contact: Mrs. Ronona Saunders, MetSoc, 1210-3400 de Maisonneuve Blvd, West, Montreal, Quebec Canada H3Z 3B8, tel.:(514)939-2710, ext.1327; fax.: (514)939-9160; e-mail: rsaunders@cim.org or metsoc@cim.org; website: www.metsoc.org).

The number of delegates was about 50 from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa, and U.S.A.

Mehmet F. Taner, Consulting Geologist and Mineralogist, Gloucester, Ontario Canada K1J 1E3; E-mail: mftaner@globalserve.net




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