Investment boost adds to Qld’s critical mineral expertise

  • Posted 23 November, 2021
  • Media Releases

23 November

Photo | QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane and QEC Chair Kim Wainwright

Media Statement | Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick


The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and the Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) have welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement today of an investment to build a common user critical minerals demonstration plant in Townsville.

QEC Chair Kim Wainwright said the funding was great news for a relatively new industry that has enormous potential to become Queensland’s next exploration success story.

“This funding gives the green light for construction of a demonstration processing facility in Townsville to process a range of critical minerals, including vanadium which is earmarked as likely the first to use the facility,” Ms Wainwright said.

“This State-owned common user facility is a first for Queensland and Australia.  It sends a very strong signal to the global investment community that Queensland is seriously pursuing our critical mineral capabilities.

“This new processing facility will kickstart critical minerals production and help grow the North Queensland economy,” she said.

“The QEC is looking forward to continued collaboration with both state government and the local council to ensure the critical minerals industry is well positioned to meet growing global demand.”

The Queensland Resources Council and the Queensland Exploration Council have been working with the State Government to develop a long-term plan for the resources sector that cover all commodities and sets a vision across the supply chain.

In May 2020 the Premier said:

‘I just don’t want to see the minerals, cobalt, copper, scandium and vanadium mined in Queensland. I want to see batteries manufactured in Queensland because that means more jobs in the regions.’ [1]

“It’s an incredible achievement by the Queensland Government, the vanadium companies involved, METSIgnited and industry associations such as QRC, QEC and AMEC to bring this idea to life in just over 12 months,” Ms Wainwright said.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the Queensland resources sector had significant diversity of commodities, which would continue to deliver for the state.

“Queensland is a powerhouse when it comes to coal, gas and minerals.  As we develop our critical minerals sector, we want to ensure the maximum return for all Queenslanders through investment in the regions and the creation of new jobs.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Queensland Government on initiatives like this and on the implementation of the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan.”

Initially, the processing facility will be used by vanadium companies but the long-term goal is to make the facility available to other commodities ready to produce other high-value mineral products such as graphite and high purity alumina.

“The majority of critical mineral explorers in Queensland are junior companies, so a multi-user, multi-purpose demonstration processing facility lowers the cost barrier and accelerates the development of this industry by a number of years.

“This processing facility will be a central part of Queensland’s renewable energy manufacturing with world leading environmental standards,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Due to its outstanding port and geographic location, Townsville is the perfect location for critical minerals processing and the manufacturing of relevant products such as vanadium batteries.

The CEO of Multicom Resources, Shaun McCarthy said that the effort being made by the Queensland Government to support the emergence of a local vanadium industry, whilst also fostering collaboration amongst the mining companies and throughout the supply chain, is encouraging and demonstrates a pioneering approach to regional economic development.

“Multicom’s Saint Elmo Project, which received its Mining Lease in September this year from the Queensland Department of Resources, will move earnestly into marketing and financing in 2022, and it is expected that the establishment and ultimate operation of this facility will support both our project and the broader industry in attracting global attention to the critical minerals, like vanadium, that Qld can offer,” Mr McCarthy said.

Exploration company, QEM’s Managing Director, Gavin Loyden said the company was particularly encouraged by the Queensland Government’s investment in developing a local, sustainable vanadium industry to support Queensland’s new energy economy.

“QEM’s Julia Creek project sits on one of the world’s largest vanadium deposits and could support long-term job growth in regional Queensland as a whole industry grows up around this strategic metal and key input into the steel and renewable energy storage markets through the use of vanadium flow batteries, the preferred solution for large grid scale storage,” Mr Loyden said.

Vecco Group’s Managing Director, Tom Northcott said the investment by the Queensland Government in the vanadium sector further supports the transition to renewables and significant demand for Vanadium batteries as the global effort to decarbonise accelerates.

“Vecco’s Debella Vanadium and HPA Mine is an important part of an integrated supply chain supporting our Queensland vanadium battery electrolyte manufacturing facility to be built in 2022 and vanadium for export to our proposed battery facilities in the USA and Europe,” Mr Northcott said.

[1] Annastacia Palaszczuk – CopperString to power jobs and wealth creation for North Queensland 9/05/2020