The Federal Government has granted major project status to a North West Queensland vanadium mine, with construction set to kick off in 2020.
The fast-tracking of the Saint Elmo project near Julia Creek fits the government goal of positioning Australia as a key global player in critical minerals.
Proponent Multicom Resources plans an open-cut mine for the production of vanadium, a key material in manufacturing batteries, particularly suited to renewable energy storage.
It is expected to create 200 jobs in construction, with hundreds more to follow as output grows.
The major project status will streamline the approvals process for its development.
Multicom Resources executive director Nathan Cammerman said designation sent a clear signal to international partners that the Australian Government was committed to enabling critical minerals projects.
“Support with the final project construction and development approvals required for the project will also help towards significant employment and economic outcomes for the Julia Creek and broader North Queensland region,” Mr Cammerman said
Growing global demand
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said there was increasing global demand for rare earths and valuable resources like vanadium, which were on the critical minerals list in Australia and the US.
“Australia is cementing its place as a powerhouse for critical minerals and rare earth production now and into the future,” Senator Canavan said.
“My recent trip to the US focused heavily on strengthening US-Australia ties on critical minerals, and this project will be one of many that will benefit from the opportunities provided by this collaboration.
“Granting Major Project Status to Saint Elmo is evidence of this Government’s support to this vitally important sector which has everyday applications in electric vehicles, renewable energy and smart phones.”
Construction of the Saint Elmo Project is expected next year, with the first vanadium exports likely in 2021.