Multicom Resources’ $250 million Saint Elmo vanadium mine in North West Queensland has been given the go-ahead with construction to begin next year.
Vanadium is used in high-strength, low-alloy steel and is emerging as a critical battery storage commodity for its use in vanadium redox flow batteries, ideally suited to large, grid scale storage solutions.
It is one of the new economy minerals that are used in advanced and renewable energy technologies.
Multicom Resources chief executive officer Shaun McCarthy said mine construction is planned to start in 2022, supporting 250 jobs at peak, with first production forecast for late 2023.
“The granting of the mining leases associated with the Saint Elmo project is the most significant milestone achieved by Multicom to date and reflects the tremendous effort from the 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 State Government, in particular the Department of Resources, Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP) and the Department of Environment and Science (DES).
“The grant 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.”
McCarthy said Saint Elmo is initially forecast to produce up to 5000 tonnes per annum of vanadium pentoxide, supporting at least 150 mine jobs and operating for up to 20 years.
“As the project expands production to 20,000 tonnes per annum over time, there’ll be an additional 100 operational and 150 construction jobs created,” he said.
McCarthy said he expects around three-quarters of the workforce to either live in Julia Creek or McKinlay Shire, or to travel from the surrounding communities of Cloncurry, Richmond and Mount Isa.
“Multicom will also source our suppliers from the local region as much as possible and is well-supported by the well-established supply chain along the Townsville to Mount Isa corridor,” he said.
“With ore processing to occur onsite and product to be shipped globally from the Port of Townsville, Multicom will benefit from the reliable logistics solution provided by the Flinders Highway and Queensland Rail’s Mount Isa Line”
Saint Elmo is the first mine approved in a potential vanadium hub in the region, with other companies progressing potential mines.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated Multicom Resources for being the first vanadium mine in the State to receive licence approval.
“Vanadium is a new economy mineral that will fuel Queensland’s future as a global resources supplier for decades to come,” she said.
“Vanadium is an important ingredient in the manufacture of specialty steel and will be used in large-scale renewable batteries around the world because it can be charged thousands of times without degrading.
“This project, and these jobs, are a milestone in a journey that began seven years ago with the Queensland Government’s North West Minerals Province Taskforce.
“This also lays the foundation for a potential next level new industry in Queensland manufacturing vanadium redox flow batteries.”