The Queensland Government has recognised the importance of vanadium as a new economy mineral with plans for a processing plant in Townsville.
The mineral is used in large-scale grid batteries called redox flow batteries. These batteries store the charge in liquid form, enabling larger capacities.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said vanadium would play a significant part in the state’s transition to clean energy.
“We want regional Queensland to be a global leader when it comes to everything that’s part of the renewable energy revolution,” he said.
“Australia has the world’s third largest deposits of vanadium resources, but right now we don’t produce a single kilogram of processed vanadium.
“The mining companies looking to process vanadium at an industrial scale don’t have the capital necessary to make that jump. That’s where our government can step in.”
The government will put at least $10 million towards the common-user facility, sourced from the $520 million Invested in Queensland program.
The Treasurer said it was still in the process of tendering for construction contracts and selecting the location.
“Once producers can see for themselves how processing occurs, they will have the confidence to invest in more manufacturing infrastructure and more jobs,” he said.
“Mining companies will be able to transport ore from their mine site to Townsville, enabling them to begin producing mineral samples at scale.”
Earlier in 2021, the mineral made headlines for Queensland’s mining industry when Multicom Resources announced the go-ahead for the $250 million Saint Elmo vanadium mine, 250 kilometres east of Mount Isa.
This mine and the new Townsville processing facility will ramp up concurrently, as both begin construction in 2022 with first production expected in 2023.
Queensland Minister for Resources Scott Stewart said these developments were only the start of Queensland’s vanadium industry.
“Saint Elmo is just the beginning, with other companies progressing other potential vanadium mines in what could become a world-class vanadium hub in the northwest, so having this processing facility in Townsville will ensure locals reap the benefits,” Stewart said.