• Tony Pearson has extensive ESG, financial and critical minerals experience 
  • A scoping study and resource upgrade are planned at Julia Creek this year
  • Vanadium is a critical mineral for energy storage and steel production

QEM has appointed former HSBC managing director Tony Pearson as a non-executive director, confident his knowledge and experience will be pivotal in bringing the Julia Creek vanadium project in Queensland into development.

The QEM Board believes Pearson’s global finance and investment experience, along with his ESG and critical minerals credentials will be a boon for the project.

“Tony’s extensive resources industry, government and financial services experience will bring considerable expertise to the board,” QEM (ASX:QEM) Chair Tim Wall said.

“We are delighted that such a highly skilled, resilient, and energetic director as Tony has agreed to join the QEM Board.” 

Pearson said he’s pleased to join the board of a very promising Queensland critical minerals company.

“I understand the market growth potential for the company’s globally significant vanadium project, and I look forward to being able to leverage my commercial, ESG and critical minerals experience as the project develops,” he said. 


Extensive ESG and financial experience

Pearson has 10 years’ experience on Australian, Toronto and Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed companies, government, and not-for profit boards, spanning natural resources, infrastructure, and State and Federal Government. 

He is currently chair of Possability Group and Cellnet Group (ASX:CLT), and also serves as a non-executive director of Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) and not-for-profit Communicare. 

His was most recently managing director at HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation), with prior roles including group executive at SouthGobi Resources, and chair of Peak Rare Earths (ASX:PEK). 

QEM will also benefit from the ESG and critical minerals credentials that Pearson brings to the board from many of his roles. 

His tenure as a Commissioner at the Independent Planning Commission saw him to determine state significant development projects, with a need to consider relevant environmental and other stakeholder impacts alongside planning legislation, as well as gaining valuable experience in developing natural resource and wind farm projects and navigating climate change associated issues. 

Plus, as a former senior advisor to global impact investing specialist, Regnan, Pearson has provided ESG advice to some of Australia’s largest institutional shareholders. 


Vanadium vital for renewable energy transition

QEM plan to be a leading supplier of high-quality vanadium pentoxide to both the nascent energy storage sector and the Australian steel industry. 

The 249.6km2 Julia Creek project contains 2,850Mt grading 0.31% vanadium pentoxide, with 360Mt in the higher confidence Indicated category as well as a best estimate (2C) Contingent Resource of 79 million barrels of oil contained within its shales.

Vanadium is classed as a critical mineral – with priority for development and investment – by the Australian Government due to its use in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) that are expected to play a significant role in the transition to renewable energy.

VRFBs use vanadium-ions in the electrolyte solutions and are considered safer, more scalable, and longer lasting than their lithium-ion counterparts with a lifespan of more than 20 years.

The metal is also used to improve the tensile strength, reduce weight, and improve weather resistance of steel.


Scoping study and resource update

Last week QEM concluded drilling which tested 12 new holes at Julia Creek, focusing on resource exploration, groundwater bore installation, and geotechnical analysis.

The company collected overburden and core samples from a range of holes to allow for waste characterisation analysis to begin while fresh core samples were collected for further pilot plant testing and metallurgical test work at its pilot plant at HRL Labs in Victoria.

QEM also recently shortlisted three non-binding indicative bids for its plan to use renewable power at the project and secured a second stream of vanadium-rich waste for conversion into battery-grade vanadium pentoxide under an agreement with Incitec Pivot.

The company is now eyeing a JORC resource update later this year, and is focused on completing the latest scoping study for this quarter to provide an update on the renewable power project.

The scoping study will include a mine schedule, pit optimisation and flowsheet.


This article was developed in collaboration with QEM, 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.