The Federal environment department has given the tick of approval to Multicom's Saint Elmo project which plans to mine for vanadium near Julia Creek.
The approval granted by the department is "to construct, operate and rehabilitate a vanadium mine and associated infrastructure on (mining lease) 100162, 25 kilometres east of Julia Creek, Queensland."
The decision is an important marker along the path towards financial close for the $470m project which is expected to begin in the next two years though it now needs a similar environmental approval from the state government in the coming months.
That will be aided by the fact the state government has already declared it a coordinated project to streamline approvals and fasttrack delivery.
Conditions for the federal approval include the proviso Multicom must not clear more than 7419 hectares of Julia Creek Dunnart habitat within the project area.
As well as a mine, the project includes a processing plant, rail spur line into the mine site, workforce accommodation village and associated infrastructure including an off-site water supply dam and 20km pipeline to the project site.
The mine is expected to have a lifespan of 30 years and could deliver 200 construction jobs and 150 operational jobs, with priority given to locals living in the McKinlay Shire Council area.
The project is one of several vanadium projects planned for the region.
Vanadium is used in steel making and renewable batteries with demand expected to grow significantly in the next two decades.
China supplies over half the world's vanadium and recent changes in Chinese policy include the banning of imported metal slag containing vanadium and stricter environmental regulations on Chinese steel mills has seen a dramatic decline in production.
Multicom said they would make a statement about the project after a board meeting next week.
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