A MINE with untapped critical mineral potential will soon return to its former glory, bringing jobs and economic benefits to the region.
Full-scale mining will soon begin at EQ Resources’ tungsten project at Mount Carbine.
Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is a critical mineral used in aerospace, construction, and technology including smartphones, solar panels, wind turbines and EV batteries.
Despite Australia’s resources being the second largest in the world, nearly all tungsten supply comes from China and Russia.
Mount Carbine is currently Australia’s only primary tungsten producer, producing about 350 tonnes of concentrate a year from existing tailings and low-grade stockpiles.
Once open-cut mining begins, production is expected to ramp up to between 60 to 90 tonnes a month.
“This is an important step forward for both Queensland’s growing critical minerals sector, and our renewable energy transition,” said Resources Minister Scott Stewart.
“Demand for critical minerals such as tungsten is increasing exponentially as the world moves towards decarbonisation.
“The transformation of this mine reflects one of the key themes of our Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan, which is to provide new life for old mines.
“Importantly, this mine will provide up to 135 good, secure jobs for Far North Queenslanders which will also mean economic benefits for the entire region.
“Together our Resources Industry Development Plan will work hand in glove with the Energy and Jobs Plan to help get these minerals out of the ground to build the solar panels, wind farms, electric vehicles and batteries we need for the future.”
EQ Resources CEO Kevin MacNeill said Mount Carbine was already a major jobs provider in the region and would grow further in the coming months as production ramped up.
“The open-cut mine will provide a five-fold increase in grade quality which will allow us to become a global leader in tungsten supply,” he said.
“Our plan is for the Mt Carbine mining leases and surrounding exploration tenements to become a top three tungsten producer outside of China.
“We are also looking to make a major contribution to economic development in the Cairns hinterland including upgrading services and providing employment opportunities in a region hit hard by COVID-19 lockdowns.”