Cluster of vandanite

Idemitsu Australia’s subsidiary, Idemitsu Debella, has invested $8.26 million in the Debella Critical Minerals Project in Queensland, which will produce vanadium, high purity alumina, and rare earth elements for batteries and renewable energy infrastructure.

The Debella Project is also set to produce Australia’s first Vanadium Electrolyte Production Facility to support the growing large domestic market for vanadium batteries.

Idemitsu will increase its shareholding to 14.7 per cent and will nominate a director to the board of Vecco Group – a private, integrated critical minerals business focussed on vanadium battery development.

Idemitsu has continued to support the Debella Critical Minerals Project – after an initial investment of $4.9 million in October 2022 – by being the underwriter for this second round of capital funding.

The majority of the additional $10 million of funds being raised will be used to progress feasibility studies, environmental approvals, metallurgical test work and Mining Lease Application costs for the Debella Critical Minerals Project, located in the world-class northwest Queensland energy and minerals province. 

A portion of the funds will also be put towards studies to advance the downstream vanadium electrolyte business of the company, including research and development into advanced products.

Idemitsu Australia Chief Executive Officer, Steve Kovac, said, “Idemitsu’s second major investment in Vecco Group is another exciting move as we continue to develop a critical minerals business and respond to the global energy transition.

“Vecco’s Debella Project is a great asset that will continue to reveal upside. As global demand for critical minerals and rare earths grow, we continue to target investment opportunities with a focus on energy-related minerals including lithium, vanadium, copper and cobalt.

“We look forward to working with the board and management of Vecco Group as it establishes itself as a leading critical minerals business for batteries.”

Supporting the renewable energy and electrification revolution the Debella Project will establish a critical minerals mine, targeting production in 2024 of vanadium, rare earth elements, and high purity alumina, and develop the first vanadium electrolyte manufacturing plant in Australia.

Vecco Group Managing Director, Thomas Northcott, said, “We are extremely pleased to have secured the investment and support of Idemitsu, a highly regarded global energy player, as we work together to supply critical minerals and manufacture battery components to support decarbonisation.

“Vecco’s production of vanadium, rare earth elements and high purity alumina will integrate with our vanadium battery electrolyte manufacturing facility, which will create over 600 jobs in new economy industries in regional Queensland.”

Stage one of the battery electrolyte manufacturing facility development will produce approximately 35MWh per annum of vanadium electrolyte, with stage two increasing capacity to more than 350MWh per annum. 

The plant has been specifically designed to produce a range of electrolyte products to meet the specifications of major global vanadium battery manufacturers and undertake research and development to further improve the performance of electrolyte and plant operations.

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