Corporate activism is shaking Australia’s energy landscape. In Western Australia, a small but tumultuous campaign that has been simmering for the last months has just boiled over. The result for TNG Limited, the developer of the Northern Territory’s Mount Peake Project, touted as the world’s “most advanced” vanadium project, is a complete shakeup of management.
The project was clearly not advanced enough for TNG’s shareholders, who voted overwhelmingly to support the change of management campaign run by Grant Wilson, a former Australia Financial Review columnist and hedge fund manager.
Wilson’s primary criticism was the slow progress of the Mount Peake project, which promised to begin construction in 2018 but is still finalising engineering and approvals some four years later.
Mount Peake aims to be a top 10 global producer of vanadium, with a mine sitting alongside TNG’s proprietary TIVAN technology, which the company says allows it to “overcome limitations of conventional processing.” The company also plans to build a processing facility in Darwin’s Middle Arm Precinct.
While the project received Major Project Status from the federal government in 2021 and is finalising its front-end engineering design (FEED) study, completed by German engineering company SMS Group, shareholders reached the end of their patience.
While TNG’s incumbent leadership team claimed the upheaval would be detrimental for Mount Peake’s offtake agreements and partnerships, its power waned through November with former chair Neil Biddle announcing he would not offer himself for re-election at the general meeting, followed by the dropping out of another director and finally the stepping down of former CEO Paul Burton on Nov. 25.
Grant Wilson, who has now succeeded at becoming the company’s new chair of directors, heralded the win as “time to kickstart the new era.”
Wilson is even proposing to change the company’s name.
The Mount Peake Vanadium-Titanium-Iron Project is located 230km north of Alice Springs and is aiming to produce around 6,000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide annually to be used for vanadium redox flow batteries.
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