Queensland’s critical minerals strategy supports development of QEM’s Julia Creek vanadium project
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Queensland’s recently announced Queensland New Industry Development Strategy (QNIDS) is expected to deliver tangible benefits for QEM’s Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale project.
The strategy targets six key areas – including critical minerals processing, manufacturing and product development as well as battery investment development – that are expected to be critical to the global shift to a net zero economy.
It seeks to create new opportunities for businesses in regions to manufacture the infrastructure and products the world needs to shift into renewables.
This is particularly relevant for QEM Limited (ASX:QEM) as vanadium is singled out as one of the critical minerals with a key role in the development of modern technology and specialised equipment required to decarbonise global economies.
After all, not only does the Julia Creek project host a resource of 2,850Mt grading 0.31% vanadium pentoxide, with 360Mt in the higher confidence Indicated category, it also hosts a best estimate (2C) Contingent Resource of 79 million barrels of oil along with a material volume of aluminium.
While the QNIDS will undoubtedly introduce more support to the company’s plans, the Queensland Government is already working closely with QEM.
Notable initiatives include the development of the Queensland Resources Common User Facility (QR-CUF) in Townsville and the State Government’s decision to acquire and develop the CopperString high voltage transmission network.
The $75m QR-CUF will be designed and equipped to trial processes for a range of critical minerals and rare earth with an initial focus on vanadium production.
It seeks to accelerate the development of commercial vanadium projects, promote investment in advanced mineral manufacturing opportunities, pilot mineral production processes, train staff on equipment and production processes, and enable development of supply chain and supporting industries in Queensland from 2025.
Meanwhile, the Queensland Government’s decision to spend $5bn to buy and upgrade the CopperString 2.0 project to connect the North West Minerals Province – where Julia Creek is located – with the national energy grid near Townsville will benefit the project by providing access to affordable renewable energy.
Besides helping keep costs manageable, the use of renewable energy will also substantially reduce the project’s environmental footprint.
The Julia Creek project covers 249.6km2 in northwestern Queensland and as noted previously hosts a world-class vanadium resource that could play a key role in meeting the growing demand for VRFBs, which are well suited for large scale, battery storage systems that store excess power from the grid for use during peak demand periods.
Acid leaching of samples from the project have already achieved extraction rates of up to 98% while alkaline leaching was not far behind with 92% vanadium extraction.
Notably, these results were accompanied by significantly lower reagent consumption compared to previous testwork just highlights the value of this testing program by GSA Environmental.
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.