Vanadium to be ‘workhorse’ of battery/renewables sector

Heavy equipment mining Vanadium

North Queensland’s rich deposits of Vanadium—a critical ingredient for the next generation of batteries—place it in a prime position to capitalise on the next generation of renewables, according to a report in the Herald Sun.

Vanadium is a lesser-known metal able to be used as a major component of large-scale Vanadium Flow Batteries for a safer and more reliable solution for renewable energy storage.

The mineral can also be used for stabilising steel alloys used in aerospace, automotive, aircraft carriers and the creation of high-strength tools.

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Several companies including QEM, Multicom and the Vecco Group have struck vanadium deposits around Julia Creek and are working their way through approvals so they can begin processing vanadium for the renewables sector.

Vecco Group managing director Thomas Northcott said vanadium mining and the new economy mineral manufacturing industry would create jobs for the future while supporting the next generation of 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.”

Competing with Western Australia’s mining heavyweights, Townsville Enterprise chief executive Claudia Brumme-Smith said it was critical that North Queensland 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.”

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In addition to vanadium’s significant export potential, she said there was great opportunity for the creation of local manufacturing, 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.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the North West Queensland minerals province had 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,” he said.