Australia’s Queensland Government has approved the development of Multicom Resources’ $183.23m (A$250m) Saint Elmo project, the state’s first vanadium mine, in the North West Minerals Province.

The mining lease approval follows the prescribed project designation granted by the Queensland government in February 2020.

Located nearly 15km east of Julia Creek, the greenfield, open-cut mine is estimated to have a lifespan of at least 30 years with production planned to start in late 2023.

The mine is initially forecast to produce up to 5,000tpa of vanadium pentoxide and support 250 jobs during the peak construction phase.

Furthermore, the project is anticipated to create an additional 100 operational and 150 construction jobs as it expands to a 20,000tpa production capacity.

Multicom plans to start construction on the mine next year.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “Vanadium is a new economy mineral that will fuel Queensland’s future as a global resources supplier for decades to come.

“Vanadium is an important ingredient in the manufacture of speciality steel and will be used in large-scale renewable batteries around the world because it can be charged thousands of times without degrading.

“This project, and these jobs, are a milestone in a journey that began seven years ago with the Queensland government’s North West Minerals Province Taskforce.”

Palaszczuk noted that the Saint Elmo mine would also provide the base for a new industry in the state for manufacturing vanadium redox flow batteries.

Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said: “Vanadium flow-batteries are also fast becoming an important energy storage solution alongside lithium batteries, because they are a stable alternative in areas of extreme temperature and offer greater storage capacity and efficiency for large-scale storage.”