$49m MMI grant for WA critical minerals project locked in

A sixth Collaboration stream grant from the former Morrison government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative has been signed off by the Industry department, leaving more than half of the funding through the $828 million grants program unaccounted for.

Vanadium miner and processor Australian Vanadium (AVL) on Tuesday revealed it had entered a grant agreement with the Department of Industry, Science and Resources that will see the government provide $49 million for the Australian Vanadium Project.

The agreement was executed on Monday, just days after the largest Collaboration Stream grant with Pure Battery Technologies was rescinded by the department more than a year after it was announced.

Image: Australian Vanadium

Both the Pure Battery Technologies and AVL grants were announced alongside each other in March last year, with the then-industry minister Angus Taylor highlighting the importance of the grants to address China’s dominance in critical minerals production.

The AVL grant funding will be used by the company to construct and commission a “concentrator and high-purity vanadium processing facility capable of using green hydrogen as part of the extraction process”.

The facility, which will be located near Meekatharra in Western Australia, will be capable of producing 11.2kt of vanadium pentoxide per year.

“This critical mineral extraction is a key precursor for vanadium electrolyte manufacturing,” AVL said in a statement, adding that it will also work with Bryah Resources to “explore options to extract cobalt, nickel, copper and gold”.

AVL said the grant will support “all stages of the vanadium production value chain, from mining and concentrating to vanadium processing for use in electrolyte production”, with funding for the development of the mine and support infrastructure to be sourced elsewhere.

The federal government is expected to make the first grant payment of $9.8 million in June, followed by three further payments, which will be subject to milestones, over the next two years. The final payment is scheduled for August 2025

AVL chief executive Graham Arvidson said the company has been working “closely with the Australian government” to progress the grant, which will assist the company to finance the Australian Vanadium Project.

“The grant will be of great benefit to AVL as we seek to optimise and finalise our financing and offtake arrangements and continue to move the project forward for the benefit of the mid-west region of Western Australia, and Australia more broadly,” he said.

With the AVL agreement, the Industry department has now contracted with six of the 17 companies awarded grants, leaving 10 projects worth $434.2 million unaccounted for. It is speculated that at least one project connected with a grant of more than $30 million will not go ahead.

As reported by InnovationAus.com, the department has reached agreement with HPA First, Gilmour Space technologies, the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre, Fortescue Future Industries and SAAB.

Grants still to reach contract are:

  • Arafura Resources – $30 million for a new rare earth separation plant
  • Plant Proteins – $113 million to establish three plant protein manufacturing facilities in South Australia
  • BlueScope Steel – $55 million for the redevelopment of its advanced manufacturing precinct near Wollongong, New South Wales
  • Boeing – $34 million for the Advanced Defence Aerospace Manufacturing Network consisting of ten small to medium-sized aerospace companies in Brisbane
  • Electro Optic Systems – $23.6 million for the Australian Satellite Manufacturing Hub in Canberra
  • Fleet Space – $20 million for a Space Manufacturing Hub in Adelaide
  • Global Medical Solutions – $23 million for the Australia Precision Medicine Enterprise project
  • Masdar Tribe – $48.2 million for a energy from waste facility in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria
  • Turbine Sunshine Coast – $33.4 million for the Turbine Collaborative Food and Beverage Manufacturing Precinct at Sunshine Coast Airport
  • Zoetris Australia – $53 million for the Animal Health and Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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