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Multicom Resources plans to start construction of its $250 million Saint Elmo vanadium operation next year, paving the way for 250 mine jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Multicom was ‘first cab off the rank’ in an exciting new era for Queensland’s resources sector.

“Vanadium is a new economy mineral that will fuel Queensland’s future as a global resources supplier for decades to come,” she said.

“Vanadium 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.”

She said it also laid the foundation for a potential next-level industry in Queensland manufacturing vanadium redox flow batteries.

The Saint Elmo project, east of Julia Creek in North West Queensland, received Federal environmental approval in April.

Ms Palaszczuk, State Resources Minister Scott Stewart and Multicom Resources chief executive officer Shaun McCarthy today jointly announced the go-ahead for the mine.

Mr McCarthy said mine construction was planned to start in 2022, 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.

Production would ramp up to 20,000 tonnes per annum over time, bringing an additional 100 operational and 150 construction jobs, Mr McCarthy said.

With a mine life of up to 20 years , the project will involve shallow (20m-40m) open-cut strip mining with sequential mining, backfilling and rehabilitation of disturbed areas.

Ore processing will occur on site, with product exported through the Port of Townsville.
“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,” Mr McCarthy said.  

“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.”

The region is the epicentre of Queensland’s vanadium mining potential – with projects in the pipeline including QEM’s Julia Creek vanadium/oil shale project and Vecco Group’s Debella vanadium and HPA (high purity alumina) project.

Horizon Minerals and its Richmond-Julia Creek joint venture partner Richmond Vanadium Technology last month launmched a definitive feasibility study to mine the Lilyvale deposit.

Mr Stewart said the new Saint Elmo mine demonstrated the success of the Palaszczuk Government’s approach to enabling a prosperous resources sector.

“Consistent with our policy of fostering new economy minerals development, the Geological Survey of Queensland is constantly gathering data on the state’s mineral endowment,” Mr Stewart said.

“The Palaszczuk Government makes that pre-competitive data available to explorers free of charge to help de-risk their exploration activity.

“This data gives companies like Multicom the confidence they needed to support investment and a mining lease application.

“The Palaszczuk Government supports the sector with grants funding exploration activity, and vanadium has been a target of that.”