Queensland is in a prime position to benefit from the renewable energy revolution, thanks to a significant resource of Vanadium, the critical mineral for the next generation of batteries.
Vanadium is a the lesser know metal, to the prominent Lithium product used in the construction of large-scale Vanadium Flow Batteries for larger, industrial scale energy storage solutions being far more stable, safe (not explosive unlike Lithium), reliable and far greater battery life 25+ years.
The predominant use for Vandium to date has been in strengthening steel, used in steel alloys for aerospace, automotive, aircraft carriers and the creation of high speed/ high strength tools.
Several companies including QEM, Multicom, and the Vecco Group have vanadium deposits around Julia Creek and North West mineral province, developing large scale resources as a replacement for the outdated and carbon emitting coal of which has been the backbone of the Queensland mining industry.
Vecco Group Managing Director, Thomas Northcott said vanadium mining and the new economy mineral manufacturing industry will create jobs for the future while supporting new renewable energy projects.
“We have an opportunity to create a world class integrated supply chain linking Vecco’s vanadium project near Julia Creek with a battery manufacturing hub in Townsville to supply batteries for the Queensland energy network,” Mr Northcott said.
“Vecco Group is currently undertaking detailed design of its battery manufacturing facility and planning to commence production in Q2 2022.”
As Vanadium and other battery metals advance both internally and in other parts of the country, Townsville Enterprise chief executive Claudia Brumme-Smith said it was critical that we didn’t miss the boat on the next generation of sustainable mining.
“We can and should be proud that right here in our backyard we have access to a new economy metal that will drive an energy transition like never seen before,” Ms Brumme-Smith said.
“The use of vanadium batteries for energy storage is an emerging market anticipated to drive a structural change in the vanadium market which is already taking place across Europe.
“The combination of the vanadium concentration, economics, and sustainability of processing in the North West provides an opportunity like nowhere else in the world.”
In addition to vanadium’s export potential, she said there was great opportunity for the creation of local manufacturing plants that value add on the commodity, such as battery plants.
“Common user infrastructure is the next step to deliver on this market trend, meet future demand, and generate economic opportunities across all of Queensland,” she said.
The global vanadium market was expected to grow from $1.49 billion in 2020 to $1.6 billion in 2021 at a CAGR of 7.4 per cent, reaching an expected $2.36 billion by 2025.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the North West Minerals Province has the potential to become a significant supplier of high-quality vanadium to the energy storage and steel markets during the global energy transition.
“Vanadium will be a workhorse mineral of the battery storage and renewable energy sector which is why it’s exciting to see potential projects being put forward,” Mr Stewart said.