Queensland commits to critical minerals processing plant


The Queensland government has committed $75 million (USD 48.1 million) to construct a processing plant in the state’s north to support the development, extraction and production of critical minerals required for clean energy technologies including solar panels, electric vehicles, and battery energy storage systems.

The initial focus of the state-owned Queensland Resources Common User Facility, to be built at the Cleveland Bay Industrial Park in Townsville, will be on vanadium, a key component in redox flow batteries.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said once operational, the facility will enable the state to leverage its abundant critical minerals to secure local supply and meet the growing global demand.

“This facility will prepare Queensland for the future of clean energy production through the critical minerals the world needs,” he said.

“This facility will enable smaller mining companies to prove up their product and develop new opportunities for vanadium mining in Queensland.”

“The efficient production of vanadium, used in redox flow batteries could supercharge Queensland’s renewable energy industry.”

It is expected the facility, first announced in 2021, will be operational for vanadium processing in 2025, with capacity to expand over time to allow for the processing of other critical minerals like cobalt and rare earth elements.

Dick said the aim of the common-user facility, to be built between the existing Sun Metals zinc refinery and Glencore Copper refinery, is to accelerate the development of commercial mining projects, promote investment in advanced mineral manufacturing opportunities and enable development of supply chain and supporting industries in the state.

Mining companies will be able to trial mineral processing techniques, demonstrate project feasibility at scale and provide the market with product samples to accelerate commercial development opportunities.

“There is already interest from companies in using the facility, and opportunities for jobs, new manufacturing and processing supply chains and investment to north Queensland is expected follow,” Dick said.

Cimic Group’s minerals processing company, Sedgman, has been appointed the managing contractor to lead the detailed design and delivery of the facility.

Sedgman Managing Director Grant Fraser said the company will now begin to engage other Queensland companies to bring this “state-of-the art facility” to life.

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