Approval of Qld’s first vanadium project signals new era for resources sector

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

The granting of Mining Leases for Multicom Resources’ $250 million St Elmo Project in the Julia Creek region will see the state’s very first vanadium project shift into production phase, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said today.

Mr Macfarlane said the announcement marks the start of Queensland’s strategic move to become a globally significant supplier of the in-demand ‘new economy’ minerals needed to de-carbonise the world.

“Vanadium is used in a range of green technologies and products, though is most well-known for its ability to strengthen steel, and is already used in space vehicles, nuclear reactors and aircraft carriers,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Vanadium flow-batteries are also fast becoming an important energy storage solution alongside lithium batteries, because they are a stable alternative in areas of extreme temperature and offer greater storage capacity and efficiency for large scale storage.”

Mr Macfarlane said Multicom Resources’ journey to reach this point has been an incredible story of exploration success, with the company’s first exploration program only starting in 2014.

“The St Elmo’s project is one of the first new economy mineral mines in Queensland to be approved and the QRC congratulates Multicom’s leadership team for reaching this stage of its operations,” he said.

“This 20-year project will employ 250 people in its construction phase, which is expected to start in 2022, and is forecast to produce up to 5000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide annually, expanding to 20,000 tonnes per annum over time.

“New economy minerals like vanadium have an important role to play in the world’s transition to a lower emissions future, alongside coal, metals and gas, elements of which are used in the manufacture of wind towers, solar panels, electric cars and batteries.

“Fortunately, Queensland has an abundant mix of the traditional and emerging commodities and raw materials needed for the world to transition to a low emissions future.

“Queenslanders will be able to count on the resources sector to continue to provide economic growth and stability, and well-paid jobs and opportunities, in the long term.”

Mr Macfarlane said the approval of Multicom’s Mining Leases is also great news for North Queensland and its regional communities.

“A new economy minerals strategy was first released by the Queensland Government in 2019, with the first step being to increase exploration and prove up our resource knowledge,” he said.

“The next step was for companies to move into the production phase, which is what today’s announcement is all about.

“Moving forward, to reach the goal of adding value to our new economy minerals in Queensland, we will also need to understand the supply chain, and in particular what processing opportunities exist right here in Queensland.”

Multicom CEO Shaun McCarthy said today the granting of the Mining Leases associated with the Saint Elmo Project is the most significant milestone achieved by the company to date.

“Today’s announcement reflects the tremendous effort from our team over the past four years, with the support of our key partners,” he said.

“The process was smooth and efficient, made possible by the collaborative approach adopted by the company along with the Queensland Government, in particular the Department of Resources, Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

“The granting of the Mining Leases signifies an exciting time not only for Multicom, but for Queensland and Australia as we enter the global market as a key supplier of critical, new economy minerals.”

Click here for the Queensland Government’s media statement.