Vanadium miner hopeful of Mid-West jobs boost after feds take notice

Mid-West junior miner Australian Vanadium Limited is confident Federal Government recognition of its future Gabanintha mine has set the project up for success.

In September Gabanintha, 620 km north east of Perth, was granted major project status by the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, which will afford AVL access to ministers and streamlined approvals processes it wouldn't normally have.

The site of the Australian Vanadium Project.

The open pit mine and processing plant was expected to cost $500 million and would create about 400 jobs during construction and 200 during operation.

The lion's share of vanadium is used to strengthen steel, but it is also increasingly being used in energy storage.

AVL Managing Director Vincent Algar was ecstatic at the recognition, which was a first for a vanadium project.

"It recognises the scale of the project, the criticality of the metal from a global perspective and it has taken into account the fact that it is a battery metal as well," he said.

"The status puts us in a position where we have access to departments and agencies in the Commonwealth system mainly to help approvals and to keep the wheels turning," he said.

"There is also access to ministerial level discussions and chiefs of staff which we didn't ordinarily get to promote the benefits to the country and to the state."

Mr Algar said the project was also about value-adding to the material, not just digging it up and exporting it, which was important for jobs in the region.

"Both the feds and state are looking to generate that job growth, particularly in the value addition area and keeping that value in the country as long as possible," he said.

"The long duration of the project is our other key jobs driver.

"We're building a big piece of infrastructure here that has the capacity to deal with more for a long time and produce a high-value product from that."

AVL is currently drilling within the planned mine area to determine the best pit design.

The company recently raised $6.6 million to complete the drilling.

After the announcement last month Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said vanadium was on the critical minerals list for Australia and the US, which meant there was a market for it.

“This project will have a significant impact on the WA economy, especially the Meekatharra region," he said.

“This Australia-first project has also been backed through a $74 million loan through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.”

The potash Beyondie project in the Pilbara also gained major project status.

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