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News

Townsville City Council has been briefed on plans to build a battery factory in the city.

It’s not the Boston Energy and Innovation lithium ion battery facility touted mid-last year.

The plans for this factory are to manufacture batteries to cater to residential-sized demand.

The main element, vanadium, is sourced from what junior miner Multicom Resources describes as one of the largest deposits in the world.

With leaching processing pathways confirmed, a heap leach trial is scheduled to start in Brisbane, this month (February).

Multicom has applied for a mining lease over a plot of land in the Toolebuc formation, identified previously as oil shale rich, located about 15km from Julia Creek.

Alternative energy industry in Townsville
(North west Queensland shire of McKinlay - Preparing Vanadium ore for transportation to Brisbane for heap-leach trials)

Multicom has partnered with US-based tech company StorEn to develop a commercially feasible offer.

“StorEn’s vanadium-based proprietary technology, geared toward the residential market, is a game-changer for consumers who are seeking to lessen their dependency on the electricity grid,” said company co-founder Nathan Cammerman.

“The success of the JV with Alexander Mining and John Webster Innovations for the vanadium leaching technology will set Multicom apart as the cheapest global producer of V2O5 and underpin the off take agreement with StorEn Technologies.

“This is a seven-year project for battery manufacture to grow to around 70,000 units a year.

“The factory will be a reasonable size. We’ll estimate there’ll be 50 positions created.

“At that stage it will be fed by around 150 trucking movements a year, each pulling 100 tonnes of processed material (from the mine).

“That’s scheduled to start in the second half of 2020.”

Under the agreement, StorEn Technologies gets long-term, exclusive, and fixed-price offtake for vanadium pentoxide from Multicom’s Queensland Mine.

Other parts of the agreement include:
  • Multicom (through its subsidiary Freedom Energy Pty Ltd) has exclusive distribution and sales agreement for Storen next generation vanadium batteries across the Asia Pacific Region.
  • StorEn and Multicom have a respective call option to acquire an equity interest in each other.
  • StorEn to provide trial units to Multicom for pilot testing in the Asia Pacific Region during 2018.
Multicom Resources has been operating with seed funding from private shareholders and is developing an initial Public Offering (IPO).

It was planned to be presented to the ASX in July, Mr Cammerman said.

“We’re refining our existing feasibility studies which will include the heap-leach trial and providing samples of the (vanadium) product to all of our preferred offtake partners,” he said.

“We’re partnering relationships with entities in Europe and Asia for battery and steel products.”

Other applications for the StorEn batteries were telecommunications and industrial scale storage, Mr Cammerman said.
North Queensland is sitting on a sizeable deposit of one of the world’s best performing metals.

A few hints.

It’s not gold, platinum nor rhenium.

Cobalt found in copper deposits is getting similar attention in the Isa-Carpentaria Minerals Province.

Lithium and nickel are used in smaller format products.

Got it yet?

It’s vanadium.

Battery metal’s NQ debut

Bloomberg is reporting that vanadium increased in price by more than 130 percent in the past calendar year.

The investor website said tightening supply and strong orders from the steel industry accounted for much of the rally.

In the meantime, it’s out west where the excitement is building.

The Flinders Highway town of Julia Creek is aglow with high anomaly levels of vanadium lying untapped in what’s known as the Toolebuc formation.

The Toolebuc Formation extends from Queensland across South Australiaand the Northern Territory.

Interest was originally created around its potential as an oil shale reserve.

It rivals the world’s largest vanadium reserve in Brazil owned by Largo Reources, which produced almost 10,000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide in 2017, according to  Nathan Cammerman, director of Multicom Resources.

The Brisbane-based company has applied for a mining lease 15km from Julia Creek on their St Elmo project.

Vanadium has come of age with the advent of alternative energy.

The metal can be used in industrial-scale batteries, which help to even out daily peaks and troughs from renewables like solar and wind energy.

The new 27 turbine wind farm currently under development near Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands is a good example where stored energy could be distributed at times of peak demand giving it greater utility.

The move to green energy could create a new market and start a scramble for supply, according to BMO Capital Markets, and quoted by Bloomberg.

Vanadium’s ability to increase the tensile strength of steel is well known and Bloomberg says the rally edging it past US$9lb last year has come from Chinese policy changes increasing the amount of vanadium used in construction steel in Beijing.
New Century Resources has sealed a gas deal with Santos as it works towards a start to production at the Century zinc site in the lower Gulf.

Worth about $100 million, the agreement represents the single largest contract award by the company to date, allowing for the supply of about 9PJ of gas over four years.

New Century Resources said the contract was a plank in a Century power strategy which it had been pursuing since early last year, targeting reinvigoration of existing grid power infrastructure from Mount Isa for Century operations.

It allows the company access to gas-fired power generation for the operations as opposed to more expensive on site diesel generation.

New Century utilities manager Michael Pitt said the Santos agreement provided the required gas supply volumes for restarting operations, but also significant flexibility during ramp-up at the mine.

After a highly competitive tender process for the supply of gas, we are thrilled to have entered into a long term contract with our partners at Santos and look forward to a strong working relationship as we transition into full operations at Century,” he said.

New Century Resources is aiming to restart the Century site in the third quarter of this year, initially targeting tailing for reprocessing.

Santos deal to power New Century
Jemena’s $800 million Northern Gas Pipeline (NGP) project in the Northern Territory and Queensland created more than 680 jobs in 2017, the company’s analysis has found.

The 622km gas pipeline project also saw local businesses and organisations across the Territory and Queensland awarded 205 contracts last year.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide jobs and training opportunities to local people who benefit not only from working on a major project, but from the new skills and qualifications that they have acquired. These new skills also benefit the broader community as they can be applied to other roles across the energy, utility, and related industries,” Northern Gas Pipeline project director Jonathan Spink said.

“Pleasingly over half of the jobs created by the NGP project have been in the Barkly and Mount Isa regions. Further, over 230 positions have been secured by people from Aboriginal communities in these areas.”

Mr Spink said jobs awarded in 2017 spanned the NGP’s planning and construction phases, with people engaged to operate machinery, conduct environmental and cultural assessments, act as labourers, and complete pipelining works.

In 2017 Jemena constructed 403km of pipeline – 262km in the Northern Territory and 141km in Queensland.

The construction of the NGP will continue in 2018, with first gas expected to flow late this year.

Jemena is also looking to expand and extend the NGP.

It recently signed a binding agreement with Galilee Energy to work together to deliver gas from Galilee Energy’s Glenaras project in the Galilee Basin to the east-coast domestic gas market.

Jemena's job scorecard passes 680
Construction of a new $200 million wind farm near Lakeland in far north Queensland is expected to begin by the end of 2018 after gaining State Government approval.

The Windlab project will include up to 30 wind turbines as well as electrical infrastructure and will produce around 100 megawatts of power for north Queensland, connected via the national electricity grid.

The Lakeland Wind Farm will be located 60 km south-west of Cooktown on the Cape York Peninsula

Windlab chief executive officer Roger Price said the company had worked closely with the department and local community to optimise the project design to accommodate the property development plans of a project neighbour, reducing the number of possible turbine locations to 30 from 35 whilst ensuring that the project remained viable and competitive.

The $200 million project is expected to create about 200 jobs during a year-long construction period.

“Lakeland Wind Farm is an exceptional project and we eagerly anticipate starting construction this year," Mr Price said.

“Working with the community is always key for us; we are therefore particularly pleased that we found a solution that aligns neighbour plans, planning code and project requirements.

“With construction of Kennedy Energy Park (Stage I) near Hughenden now in full swing and development of Stage II on the way, Windlab and north Queensland are contributing to securing affordable, diverse and reliable electricity for the benefit of all Queenslanders.”

The $160 million Kennedy Park Energy is expected to be completed and feeding clean energy into the network by late 2018.

It is the precursor to the proposed “Big Kennedy" development, which will provide up to 1200 megawatts of wind energy and is a central component of the Queensland Government’s Powering North Queensland Plan.

Green light for $200m Lakeland wind farm
Aurizon says it is withdrawing its application to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for funding to assist with the rail project linked to the development of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and others in the Galilee Basin.

Managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Harding said Aurizon continued to support the development of the Galilee Basin.

“When developed it has the potential to provide a major boost to the national economy and create thousands of jobs in regional Queensland,” Mr Harding said.

“We believe Aurizon can play a key role in helping facilitate a multi-user, open access rail solution for the various new mines in the region.

“However, while we are in ongoing discussions with several Galilee Basin mine proponents we have not yet progressed to definitive contractual arrangements with any proponent.

“Our NAIF application is, in part, predicated on having customer contracts secured. Given this is unlikely to occur in the near future we believe it is prudent to withdraw the NAIF application.

“If market circumstances change and our discussions with potential customers progress to commercial arrangements we will look at all possible financing arrangements to develop the rail solution.”

An Adani Australia spokesman said the Aurizon NAIF application withdrawal did not impact the Carmichael project.

“We are focused on early works and confident of progressing,” he said.

Aurizon drops Galilee rail funding bid