Vanadium explorer QEM says the pandemic has not substantially affected their flagship Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale project in its latest quarterly report.
QEM Managing Director Gavin Loyden said the Company was able to successfully navigate the COVID-19 environment and progress in its North Queensland project during the quarter.
"In the June quarter we laid the groundwork for a substantial improvement to the processing and extraction methods for the oil shale and vanadium ore body," Mr Loyden said.
"We plan to build on this positive momentum by undertaking further optimisation and engineering design work during the September quarter, as we efficiently ramp up to the pre-feasibility stage.
Mr Loyden welcomed federal recognition that COVID-19 had increased the importance of diversified critical minerals supply chains, which significantly benefits QEM as a potential domestic producer of energy commodities for Australia.
"Part of this recognition is an extension of the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund for a further five years, until 2026, which we very much welcome," he said.
Earlier this year QEM engaged independent laboratory company HRL Technology Group to conduct oil shale extraction tests and the bulk of the oil extraction testing was conducted in the June quarter confirming oil yields consistently over 175% of Modified Fischer Assay oil yields, over varying test conditions.
"The increase in oil yields was made possible with the addition of a hydrocarbon solvent, which would be derived directly from the oil stream produced from the Julia Creek resource, making it an extremely cost-effective solvent," the company said in its report.
HRL also did test work for vanadium extraction rates in the shale portions of the Julia Creek resource with results anticipated this quarter.
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