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QEM is changing tack on its Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale project as it looks to undertake prefeasibility work in the next six months.

QEM managing director Gavin Loyden said the past quarter had primarily been one of consolidation and bringing fresh approaches to the company.

It has identified a suitable extraction technology for the project and appointed HRL Technology Group to carry out test work to investigate the selected process for QEM’s oil shale resource and also to evaluate vanadium and other metal extraction from the shale, post oil extraction.

The company has also appointed E2C Advisory to assist with the assessment and development of process pathways for Julia Creek oil shale.

QEM had previously been working with Petroteq Energy for testwork but has terminated that arrangement, citing a series of missed timelines and difficulties in communication.

“We are very keen to push the Julia Creek project forward as quickly as we can, and we’ve moved quickly to deal with potential project development avenues that had been initially promising, but had turned into issues that were holding the company up on our goals,” Mr Loyden said.

“At this stage, we consider that we will be entering the pre-feasibility stage for Julia Creek in the coming one to two quarters, subject to positive results from the current studies we have underway.

“I’m also pleased we have been able to make such good progress in the current COVID-19 impacted environment, and believe that post COVID-19 the Australian Government and community are likely to place a much higher emphasis on national resilience and greater value on critical minerals, which will benefit QEM as a potential domestic producer of energy commodities for Australia.”

The Julia Creek vanadium/oil shale project covers about 250sq km east of Julia Creek in North West Queensland and is a potential source of liquid fuels and high-quality vanadium pentoxide.

With a JORC mineral resource of 2760 million tonnes at 0.30 per cent vanadium pentoxide, it is one of the single largest ASX listed vanadium resources.

QEM keen to push ahead with Julia Creek project