A $20 million investment for the commencement of drill testing and trial mining at Australia’s largest tungsten mine is set to support the creation of up to 100 new jobs.  

The investment comes from the State Government’s Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund (QCMBTF), and will allow EQ Resources (EQR) to commence drill testing and trial mining through a reopening of the historic underground mining operations at the Mt Carbine Tungsten Mine. 

The underground deposit of the open pit is still relatively unexplored, with considerable exploration potential for additional mineralisation to meet forecast global shortages in the critical mineral.

Tungsten possesses the highest melting point and tensile strength of all pure metals, making it useful for a range of renewable energy applications, including solar cells, wind turbines and batteries.

Queensland Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, said that the government’s investment through the Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund provides a pathway for EQR to extend the existing mine by further exploring tungsten resources accessible through underground mining.

“New plant equipment, drill testing and trial mining is forecast to increase capacity and extend the mine’s life by at least five years, ensuring global demand for tungsten continues to deliver local opportunities for Far North Queenslanders,” Mr Dick said. 

Queensland Minister for Resources and Critical Minerals, Scott Stewart, said that the resurgence of tungsten production is another success story in Queensland’s critical minerals boom. 

“Since returning to operation in 2019, Mt Carbine Tungsten Mine has become a major employer in the Far North, where 175 workers and contractors are on track to produce about 3,000t of tungsten concentrate every year,” Mr Stewart said. 

“The existing open-cut mine is forecast to reach its end of life by 2029, but the Queensland Government is committed to supporting these workers and the communities they call home.” 

EQ Resources’ CEO, Kevin MacNeill, said that EQR is proud of the work its team has put in at Mt Carbine since 2019 to make Queensland home to Australia’s largest tungsten mine.

“This investment provides a pathway to extend our mining operations beyond 2029, which is a tremendous outcome for the local community, economy and our workforce,” Mr MacNeill said. 

“Recognised for our efforts in sustainable mining with the 2022 AMEC Award, we are at a pivotal time when the world needs more tungsten to support decarbonisation.

“We look forward to responsibly contributing to the development of clean energy technologies alongside our offtake partners using high-quality tungsten powders in battery technologies and energy storage applications.”

Image: Wirestock Creators/shutterstock.com

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