Qld reveals next step in advanced manufacturing-focused critical minerals facility

Queensland Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick. Image credit: Australian British Chamber of Commerce

The Queensland Government is on the hunt for a managing contractor for Australia’s first critical minerals processing facility aimed at encouraging investment in advanced manufacturing opportunities and industrial-scale mining projects. 

The processing hub, dubbed Queensland Resources Common User Facility (QRCUF), will be purpose-built testing and demonstration facility located at the Cleveland Bay Industrial Park, the government said in a media statement. 

The state-owned mineral processing facility will initially focus on vanadium processing, with the capacity to expand to include processing additional key minerals such as cobalt and rare earth elements in the future.

The government claims that vanadium is in high demand due to its numerous applications, including the development of a dependable and secure renewable energy storage system that can be utilised in large-scale batteries.

Thus, the QRCUF’s delivery in Queensland aims to hasten the development of industrial-scale mining projects, encourage investment in advanced mineral manufacturing opportunities, and assist the growth of the supply chain and related industries.

“There is no comparable pilot or demonstration-scale facility in Australia or the Asia Pacific,” according to the state government.

Meanwhile, the project’s managing contractor will be in charge of hiring the consultants, suppliers, and trade contractors required to design and build the QRCUF and may decide to handle some of the work personally.  

“Delivery of the Queensland Resources Common User Facility reinforces our Government’s ongoing commitment to the critical minerals industry in North Queensland,” remarked Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick.

He said that once the facility is running, North Queensland will be able to take advantage of the region’s high source of rare earth elements and key minerals to ensure local supplies and satisfy the expanding worldwide demand.

“There is already interest from companies in using the facility, and opportunities for jobs, new manufacturing and processing supply chains and investment to North Queensland is expected follow,’ noted the minister.

Minister for Resources Scott Stewart said that the state’s upcoming resource boom will be aided by the Queensland Resources Common User Facility and the Palaszczuk Government’s investment in Copperstring 2032.

“This facility will help resources companies prove up their product and develop new opportunities for vanadium mining in Queensland which will support good jobs in regional Queensland,” stated Minister Stewart.

The facility is a component of a $150 million commitment for common user infrastructure to support the exploration, extraction, and production of essential minerals that were made public in the 2022–2023 State Budget Update in December 2022.

The Expression of Interest (EOI) is now available and will end on 15 May 2023. 

The Queensland Government will choose a shortlist of applicants after the EOI to proceed with a Request for Proposals later in mid-2023.