Queensland will host a new vanadium-flow battery production line after an agreement was struck between three companies for a Townsville facility. Idemitsu Australia has signed an agreement to market, sell, and deliver vanadium flow batteries to Australian customers. 

The batteries will be powered by hardware from Sumitomo Electric Industries and Vecco Group’s electrolyte, made from vanadium mined in North Queensland. Under the deal, Vecco will refine high-purity vanadium at its Julia Creek mine while manufacturing battery electrolytes in Townsville.

This collaboration aims to support the growth of renewable energy in Australia and provide more job opportunities. The vanadium flow batteries will provide deep storage for the grid, and the vanadium electrolyte will be supplied to the world.

 “We are taking vanadium from Julia Creek – one of the world’s biggest and best vanadium resources – and turning it into batteries here, creating more local jobs,” Queensland Premier Steven Miles said. 

“This means manufacturing the vanadium flow batteries needed in Australia to transition to renewable energy and supplying vanadium electrolyte to the world.”

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“We know those batteries will provide deep storage in our grid, but we are taking it a step further,” he added.

To prepare for the expected growth, Vecco has secured a 3.2-hectare site at Cleveland Bay Industrial Park for its commercial production facility, and a detailed design is currently underway. The supply chain is expected to be operational by 2026.

Australia Takes Top Spot in Resource Production 

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King presented the ‘Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources’ report for 2023 at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention. The report, published annually by Geoscience Australia, provides information on Australia’s known mineral resources, production trends, and reserve and resource estimates based on over 45 years of data. 

Australia was found to produce 27 minerals, 15 of which are in the top five for global supply. The report also revealed that Australia is the world’s largest producer of bauxite, iron ore, rutile, and lithium, with the latter’s production increasing by 36% to a record 75,000 tonnes in 2022.

In addition, Australia is a top five producer of zircon, cobalt, manganese, rare earths, nickel, and tantalum. King stated, “Australia’s resources are mined and processed to the highest standards, making them clean and green.” 

She also emphasised that Australia’s geology means the country is home to “globally significant mineral deposits, which will be crucial as the world turns to renewable technologies to decarbonise.” Furthermore, Australia’s investment in mineral exploration increased by 13% to $4 billion in 2022. 

 Ms King stressed that government investment in precompetitive geoscience is essential to understanding Australia’s mineral potential and providing new investment opportunities in critical minerals for the future.

Australia Targets a Renewed Manufacturing Industry

The Minister for Domestic Manufacturing and Government Procurement, Courtney Houssos, recently met with 10 manufacturers to reinforce the NSW Government’s commitment to rebuilding the state’s manufacturing industry. According to a statement, the government has prioritised the industry’s revival.

Houssos reiterated this commitment during a roundtable discussion hosted by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) in Sydney. Representatives from a diverse range of businesses participated in the forum, including:

  • Manufacturers of electronics
  • Defence componentry
  • Uncrewed aircraft
  • Sustainable proteins
  • Road tankers
  • Water infrastructure
  • Staging
  • And medical devices.

The discussion focused on the industry’s challenges in accessing capital, engaging with NSW Government agencies, and scaling. It also discussed the opportunities to promote domestic manufacturing by leveraging government procurement spending. 

The government has also pledged to create the Jobs First Commission, which will oversee the implementation and growth of local industries, supporting and advocating for local firms in bidding for government tenders. Minister Houssos said, “Our economy must have a sovereign manufacturing component at its core. We know that for every job in manufacturing, a further three-and-a-half are created in the supply chain, and we want those jobs in NSW.” 

She added, “The government plays a unique role in supporting NSW manufacturers by encouraging workforce growth, supporting more skilled labour, and committing to buying locally made content.” 


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