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QEM has announced successful results from independent test work aimed at increasing oil yields from its Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale project.

It says the work shows substantially higher oil yields are possible at Julia Creek through the addition of a solvent during extraction processing, compared to options such as direct retorting.

QEM managing director Gavin Loyden said he was delighted with the oil results, which marked a key milestone towards commercialisation of the Julia Creek project.

“The tests produced oil yields substantially higher than our previous oil extraction test work, laying the groundwork for a significant improvement to the processing and extraction methods for the oil shale and vanadium ore body,” Mr Loyden said.

“We will now build on this strong momentum by conducting further optimisation tests and engineering design.

“Our task now is to determine the optimum processing and extraction method, which balances and maximises the returns we can make from both vanadium and the hydrocarbons available at Julia Creek.”

The oil extraction test results from the Julia Creek resource confirmed oil yields up to 181 kg per tonne, which is 218 per cent up on those reported under Modified Fischer Assay (MFA).

HRL Technology in Melbourne carried out the work using a hydrocarbon solvent that QEM said could be derived directly from the oil stream produced at Julia Creek.

The QEM vanadium/oil shale project covers 249.6sq km in the Julia Creek area of North West Queensland.

It hosts a JORC resource of 2760Mt with an average vanadium pentoxide content of 0.30 per cent and a 3C Contingent Oil Resource of 783 MMbbls.

The company is awaiting final results for extraction efficiencies for vanadium achieved from acid leach tests of shale ash feeds produced under different conditions.