Feb 21, 2018

Battery-powered growth

Battery-powered growth McKinlay Shire Council says a company developing a vanadium deposit near Julia Creek will deliver.

The McKinlay Shire Council is confident a company developing a vanadium deposit in north-west Queensland is the real deal.

There’s a long way to go admits chief executive officer Peter Fitchat, but Brisbane-based Multicom Resources has met every milestone so far in the bid to get to a mining lease.

A 100-tonne bulk sample is scheduled this month (February), which will be used to undertake refinement of existing processing paths as well as a heap-leach processing trial under a JV with London-based Alexander Mining and Brisbane-based John Webster Innovations.

Multicom was co-operating with council and there was a strong emphasis on communication, Mr Fitchat said.

“We’ve signed a memorandum of understanding which covers housing, employment and other factors, for when it eventually happens,” he said. “It stipulates that the company will specifically target a residential workforce, for example.”

“Nothing has stopped them up to this point. Everything is rolling along smoothly. They’ve aligned the roll-out with environment, drilling and sampling (KPIs).

“We’ve been dealing with the Coordinator General on matters and have had a couple of phone conferences with the Director-General of infrastructure. They’ve (Multicom) met every deadline and we’re optimistic.”

The test would be how the market reacted when company’s bid for funding was presented to the ASX in a mid-year float, he said.

The St Elmo project’s exploration lease was the same site as an oil shale deposit identified years ago, only with more legs, Mr Fitchat said.

The demand for vanadium coming initially from steel production was likely to be dwarfed by the demand for energy storage on a residential, commercial and industrial scale, he said.

It all added up to what was forecast to be a growth of more than five per cent in the shire’s population, Mr Fitchat said.

“They’ll have 120 people in town once construction starts. That is scheduled over six months to a year,” he said.

“Once operational, they’ll have 70 people shuttled to and from town, initially for a day shift. At this stage, the start date is 2020.

“I expect building the accommodation will start in 2019. We have plenty of residential blocks left over from when the sheep shearers lived in town.”

The lease is about 15km east of Julia Creek.

It was adjacent to a rail line and was well positioned for an eventual rail siding if required, Mr Fitchat said.

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