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Regulatory approval of $470M metal project fast tracked

Multicom Resources
Multicom Resources

A mineral exploration company received further recognition to help speed up the approval process for its $470 million metal development in North Queensland.

The Queensland Government has granted prescribed project status for Multicom Resources’ Saint Elmo Vanadium Project near Julia Creek, 622km west of Townsville.

Greater powers

This recognises the project for having “significance, particularly economically and socially” to the region or even the whole Sunshine State according to the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning website. It also means Coordinator-General Barry Broe will have greater powers to intervene and make sure the project is approved in a timely manner.

Saint Elmo involves building a greenfield and shallow open-cut mine capable of producing up to 20,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of vanadium pentoxide throughout its 30-year lifespan. This will require:

  • stripping up to 15 million tpa of soil within an 8882 hectare (ha) area on mining lease application 100162
  • a water storage facility and associated pipeline across an 180ha area next to the Flinders River and partially within the Punchbowl Road Reserve
  • processing plant
  • a run-of-mine and process pad
  • road access from the Flinders Highway
  • a rail spur into MLA 100162 from the Northern Rail Line
  • accommodation village
  • offices, laboratories and workshops
  • a sewerage treatment plant and irrigation area
  • a tailings storage facility
  • evaporation pond, raw water dam, mine water dam and dirty water storage
  • 20km pipeline to the work site
  • a diesel, gas and solar power station.

Major growth

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said the project will be located in a major growth area.

“This planned mine is in the North West Minerals Province which has been identified as one of the growth areas of the future including for new and emerging commodity markets,” QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said in a public statement. “These new critical minerals projects will deliver new jobs in regional Queensland.”

600 jobs

Up to 350 construction workers and 250 operational staff will be required at different stages of the mine’s 30-year lifespan. Local jobseekers will be highly desired, especially from the McKinlay local government area. None of the positions are advertised yet.

If everything goes as planned construction could start in late 2020 and first vanadium exports could begin in 2021.

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“Gaining the required permits and approvals in a timely and efficient manner is a critical aspect of our development plans,” Multicom CEO Shaun McCarthy said in a public statement.

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