Mine to produce critical minerals — and jobs
THE Federal Government will fast-track a critical-minerals mine in northwest Queensland that is expected to create hundreds of jobs.
Industry Minister Karen Andrews will today grant major project status to the St Elmo Vanadium Project near Julia Creek, boosting a government push to become a key global player in critical minerals.
Ms Andrews said the mine would create 200 jobs in construction, with hundreds more to follow once the mine was operational and as its output grew.
"Not only do projects like this hold enormous economic potential for local communities, they also generate millions of dollars for the Australian economy," she said.
"Granting major project status demonstrates the Morrison Government's support for companies with nation-building plans, especially in areas which are of significant value to overseas markets."
The status will streamline the approvals process for the mine's operator, Multicom Resources Limited.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan said global demand continued to increase for critical minerals such as vanadium, which can make steel alloys used in space vehicles, nuclear reactors and aircraft carriers as well as in batteries to store renewable energy.
"Australia is cementing its place as a powerhouse for critical minerals and rare earth production now and into the future," he said.
"My recent trip to the US focused heavily on strengthening US-Australia ties on critical minerals, and this project will be one of many that will benefit from the opportunities provided by this collaboration."
Multicom Resources executive director Nathan Cammerman said the fast-tracking sent a clear signal the Government was committed to enabling critical minerals projects.
"Support with the final project construction and development approvals required for the project will also help towards significant employment and economic outcomes for the Julia Creek and broader north Queensland region," he said.
LNP senator Susan McDonald said the North West Minerals Province could potentially provide long-term, well-paying jobs for thousands of people.
"People in regional Queensland deserve the chance to pursue lucrative careers in the mining and resources industries," she said.
"The advent of rare earths comes at a perfect time to complement existing mining ventures and gives young people an incentive to stay or move to our brilliant Outback."
Construction of the Saint Elmo Project is expected next year, with the first vanadium exports likely in 2021.