QEM continues to play its part in building Queensland’s circular economy after securing a second stream of vanadium-rich waste for conversion into battery-grade vanadium pentoxide.

Under the agreement with Incitec Pivot, the company will collect all vanadium-bearing spent catalyst from the industrial chemicals manufacturer’s Mount Isa sulphuric acid plant for processing at the Queensland Government’s $75m Queensland Resources Common User
Facility (QR-CUF) in Townsville.

It follows QEM Limited (ASX:QEM) reaching a five-year deal to access spent catalyst from Sun Metals’ zinc refinery in Townsville.

“We have been working on developing multiple sources of Queensland industrial waste to be repurposed for conversion to vanadium battery electrolyte,” managing director Gavin Loyden said.

“This will introduce Queensland-sourced and processed vanadium electrolyte into the market before emerging primary producers like QEM are able to supply our own V2O5 from our primary vanadium resource at Julia Creek.

“What began as a small-scale project between QEM and Sun Metals with predominantly
environmental drivers, now has economies of scale with Incitec’s inclusion and enhanced
vanadium industry development drivers.

“I believe that this type of initiative will contribute to realising Queensland’s potential to become a global player in high purity V2O5 production and throughout the supply chain, all the way to vanadium redox flow battery production – an Australian invention.”

The company’s efforts have been recognised by Federal Minister for Resources Madeleine King who highlighted Julia Creek’s potential contribution in helping Queensland challenge Western Australia’s title as Australia’s resources state.


Joanne Bergamin, Min King and Gavin Loyden at the World Mining Congress 2023 in Brisbane after King’s announcement. Image: Supplied.

“Queensland will play an important role in this particularly with its vanadium potential,” she noted.

“While vanadium is traditionally used in high strength steel – it is increasingly being applied in vanadium redox flow batteries … that store excess power from the grid for use during peak demand periods.

“And the technology to build them is in Australia.”

Incitec Pivot offtake agreement

The offtake agreement with Incitec Pivot is for an initial five-year term with an option for extension.

Incitec Pivot’s interim chief executive officer Paul Victor described the deal as a win-win for both companies as it allowed his company to reduce waste by repurposing spent catalyst and providing QEM with valuable vanadium metal.

Building on the work by Clean TeQ to assess the viability of vanadium recovery from IPL’s spent catalyst, QEM has made application to access the QR-CUF to produce battery-grade V2O5 from the spent catalyst.

This article was developed in collaboration with QEM Limited, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.