Australia’s EQ Resources (EQR) has secured a financial boost from government owned-Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), which provided a three-year funding facility of up to A$20m ($13.1m).

The loan is set to fast-track EQR’s expansion plans at the Mt Carbine Tungsten Mine in far-north Queensland, creating up to 100 jobs.

QIC state chief investment officer Allison Hill said: “Securing additional tungsten mineralisation will strengthen Queensland’s position as a significant contributor to global critical minerals supply chains.

“There are relatively few mines globally in a position to fill anticipated supply-demand gaps for tungsten as existing outputs are challenged and demand for clean energy technologies grows.”

This funding comes from the QIC-managed Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund (QCMBTF), which aims to support the mining and refining of critical minerals and the development of battery technologies in Queensland.

An initial $12m, under Tranche A, will be directed towards doubling the mine’s processing capacity and initiating underground drill testing.

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The subsequent $8m, allocated as Tranche B, will further the underground drill testing and commence underground trial mining.

This investment is poised to enhance the company’s 2024 drilling programme for underground targets and contribute to a comprehensive underground feasibility study.

The utilisation of the loan is contingent upon meeting standard conditions precedent, including project completion testing.

EQR has acknowledged that the expansion programme is crucial for securing the global supply of tungsten, particularly in the light of anticipated worldwide shortages and rising prices.

EQR CEO Kevin MacNeill said: “We are pleased that the opportunity has arisen for such extensive and attractive funding support from the Queensland Government.

“The provision of financing will support our recently announced expansion programme to double capacity at Mt Carbine, but we also consider this a strong endorsement of the company’s corporate strategy to further establish ourselves as a leading and responsible producer of globally relevant critical minerals.”