Vanadium developers QEM are seeking to connect with the proposed CopperString 2.0 high-voltage electricity transmission line to link the North West Minerals Province with the national electricity grid near Townsville.
QEM plans to develop a mine operation near Julia Creek to take advantage of the increasing supply gap associated with the global demand for vanadium pentoxide and they have made a connection inquiry to the electricity project, owned by CuString Pty Ltd
CuString executive chair John O'Brien welcomed the connection enquiry and said QEM could use CopperString's high voltage transmission network to accommodate shortfalls and surpluses in power requirements for their industrial complex.
"QEM is focused on the exploration and development of its Julia Creek project which sits to the immediate north of the proposed CopperString corridor," Mr O'Brien said.
"We believe that affordable and reliable electricity delivered by CopperString's connection to the National Electricity Market will help QEM to fulfill its ambitions and also unlock the globally significant reserves of critical minerals and rare earths in the North West Minerals Province," Mr O'Brien said.
QEM managing director Gavin Loyden said the vanadium market was predicted to grow due to increasing production of high-strength steel, vanadium batteries and the emergence of vanadium in new technologies.
"That is why vanadium has been declared a 'critical mineral' by Australia, the USA, and Europe," Mr Loyden said.
Mr O'Brien said CuString was working with Queensland and Australian Governments through bilateral assessment and approval processes for CopperString 2.0, and the recent approval of the transmission authority and Australian Industry Participation Plan were key milestones in the project as it approaches the 'shovel ready' stage.
In October it welcomed the two billion dollar critical minerals loan facility from the federal government added to the momentum for North West Minerals Province development.
Meanwhile Robbie Katter has warned Queensland's growing green hydrogen industry would be nothing but "hot air" if the state didn't drastically increase investment in electricity generation and network capacity,
The Traeger MP said a massive increase in energy demand from hydrogen production could see energy skyrocket and local families and businesses suffer in the same way they have from the tripling of gas prices by the LNG export industry.
"Both Labor and the LNP need to learn from the disastrous choices of the Bligh Labor government in letting multinational's like PetroChina and Shell dictate Queensland's energy policy," he said.
"There is a huge risk this will happen again with hydrogen and we will further squander Queensland's competitive advantage and tens of thousands of jobs in mining, minerals processing, manufacturing and other energy intensive industries."
Mr Katter said both the State and Federal Governments needed to make good on their promises to deliver regulated infrastructure and new generation across the North West to ensure Queensland has enough cheap and reliable electricity to supply local industry first.
"The North-West, particularly around Hughenden, Cloncurry and Mount Isa, has the best mix of renewable resources in the country, and we have existing large-scale gas generation to keep it reliable," he said.
"But all of these resources are useless if they are not connected to the national grid which is why the State and Federal Government's must urgently deliver on their promises to build CopperString 2.0."
There are more than 2000 megawatts of large-scale, highly efficient wind and solar projects proposed across the corridor between Mount Isa and Townsville.
In 2020 consultants ACIL Allen completed economic modelling which estimates the CopperString project's Benefit Cost Ratio to be 4.54 with total project net benefits of $9.2 billion.
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