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Queensland positioning itself as a major player in global vanadium supply chain

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 14:47 -- Paul Crompton

The Queensland government is preparing to build a vanadium processing plant in the Australian state as part of wider plans to become a leading producer and exporter of “new-economy minerals”. 

The processing plant is set to be built in Townsville— the area where plans to build an 18GWh lithium-ion battery factory are being pushed by the Imperium3 consortium (iM3TSV).

The state-government will put at least AUS$10 million ($7.2 million) towards the facility, with the final amount depending on the outcome of the construction tender.

A decision on the final site is still being made, but construction is expected to start in 2022, with the plant scheduled to begin operating the following year

Vanadium is a key material used in vanadium redox flow batteries, and Australia has the world’s third largest deposits of vanadium resources but doesn’t produce a processed vanadium.

Queensland’s vanadium supply dream

In September, the Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government announced the go-ahead for the AUS$250 million ($180 million) Saint Elmo mine near Julia Creek, in the state’s North West.

Wholly owned by Multicom, the mining site will process 10,000 tonnes per annum (tpa)— rising to potentially 20,000 tpa— of vanadium pentoxide and alternative vanadium-based products. 

Queensland’s treasurer and minister for trade and investment, Cameron Dick, said: “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. A common-user facility can be used by multiple, smaller mining companies that do not have the available capital to set up their own processing facilities.”

Minister Stewart said his Department of Resources would go to market in the New Year for detailed engineering assessments and costings for the plant. 

Vanadium projects in Queensland

In October, Canadian metals exploration company Currie Rose announced it would acquire 100% of two vanadium projects in Central North Queensland, Australia.

On completion of all approvals, Currie will have ASX listed companies Chalice Mining and Liontown Resources as equal major shareholders.

On 27 October, Currie Rose entered into an arm’s length agreement to acquire 100% of the Toolebuc Vanadium Project from Liontown Resources. 

The same day, Currie Rose entered into an arm’s length agreement to acquire 100% of the Flinders River Vanadium Project from Cougar Metals Lithium. 

North Queensland Vanadium Project (NQVP) is the merger of the Toolebuc and Flinders River Vanadium Projects and is situated around 400km west of Townsville. 

NQVP covers an area of approximately 124,000Ha and is close to rail, road, and power infrastructure.

Michael Griffiths, Currie’s president and CEO, said: “The 100% acquisition of two highly rated brown field Queensland Vanadium Projects within the world class Vanadium Hub in North Queensland is a watershed day for the company.

“It marks the first steps into a battery metal strategy which is expected to expand as the world decarbonises. 

“The Liontown acquisition comes with an expansive, underexplored package and a significant historical resource at Cambridge that occupies the immediate easterly extension of the neighbouring Lilyvale Vanadium deposit that is currently in feasibility. 

“The CGM package also hosts encouraging vanadium drill intercepts and high calibre exploration data that will potentially deliver further resources with additional infill drilling. 

“The combination of the two projects into one entity, provides tremendous opportunity to create a large-scale focused project and we look forward to commencing the next phase of test work as soon as possible. We also welcome two very successful ASX listed companies to our register as a result of the transaction and look forward to working with both companies as major shareholders.” 

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