$250M Saint Elmo Vanadium Mine Gets The Go Ahead

A vanadium mine in the North West will pioneer production of a globally sought-after new economy mineral, supporting up to 400 regional jobs.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Resources Minister Scott Stewart and Multicom Resources’ CEO Shaun McCarthy jointly announced the go-ahead for the $250 million Saint Elmo mine, near Julia Creek.
“I congratulate Multicom as the first cab off the rank in an exciting new era for Queensland’s resources sector, and a massive boost to our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” the Premier said.
“Vanadium is a new economy mineral that will fuel Queensland’s future as a global resources supplier for decades to come.
“It 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.”
Mr McCarthy said mine construction is planned to start in 2022, supporting 250 jobs at peak, with first production forecast for late 2023.
“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,” Mr McCarthy said.
“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.
“We expect around three-quarters of the workforce to either live in Julia Creek or McKinlay Shire, or to travel from 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.
“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 Hwy and Queensland Rail’s Mount Isa Line”
Ms Palaszczuk said the project was a milestone in a journey that began seven years ago with the North West Minerals Province Taskforce.
“This also lays the foundation for a potential next level new industry in Queensland manufacturing vanadium redox flow batteries,” she said.
Minister Stewart said the Geological Survey of Queensland’s pre-competitive mineral data was available to explorers free of charge to lessen their exploration risk.
“This data gives companies like Multicom the confidence they needed to support investment and a mining lease application,” Mr Stewart said.
“The Palaszczuk Government supports the sector with grants funding exploration activity, and vanadium has been a target of that.”
Vanadium is a critical mineral 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.
Saint Elmo is the first mine approved in a potential vanadium hub in the Julia Creek with other companies such as Intermin, QEM, and Horizon Minerals progressing other potential mines.
The Saint Elmo project was declared a prescribed project in February last year so Queensland’s Coordinator-General could streamline approvals and fast-track delivery of the project.
Saint Elmo has also been granted major project status by the federal government.