Mining and Heavy Industries

Site located for Australian first critical minerals plant

lithium processing

A $75 million critical minerals demonstration facility will be built in Townsville to support Queensland’s mining and manufacturing industries.

The facility will be located at Cleveland Bay Industrial Park between the existing Sun Metals zinc refinery and Glencore Copper refinery.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state has the sunshine and wind above the ground combined with the critical minerals below the ground to make batteries and renewables with renewable energy.

“After working with prospective users, universities, and research centres the facility will not only be able to process vanadium, a key component of large-scale batteries, but it will be expanded allowing for a range of critical minerals like cobalt and rare earth elements to be processed,” Palaszczuk said.

“This facility will prove up the commerciality of critical minerals in Queensland creating jobs not just in mining but in processing and manufacturing.

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“Critical minerals are needed to build the SuperGrid, batteries and the wind and solar farms under the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

“North Queensland provided the copper during the second industrial revolution to transport electricity and now stands at the centre of the clean energy industrial revolution.”

Palaszczuk announced the location of the facility while visiting the Sun Metals green industrial precinct.

Queensland Resources Minister Scott Stewart said there was enormous potential for vanadium mining and production in North Queensland.

“Vanadium had come a long way from first being used in the Ford Model T Car over a century ago to now being used in batteries with twice the life span of lithium-ion batteries,” he said.

“Global demand for vanadium in batteries and high-quality steel is expected to outpace supply before the end of the decade. Queensland has world class, highly economic deposits of vanadium located in accessible marine shale.

“Because they hold their charge in a liquid form, vanadium redox batteries can be built to a much bigger scale, powering larger communities for longer.”

“Vanadium has the potential to be the Eureka moment for North Queensland.

“This facility will also support further extraction of high purity alumina, cobalt and rare earths.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper welcomed the announcement.

“We know there is great potential to develop even more of a critical minerals industry in North Queensland and this announcement will help that happen,” Mr Harper said.

“As a government we continue to support projects like this will are supporting good jobs in Townsville.”

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