An element used in the manufacture of large-scale renewable batteries that can be "charged thousands of times without degrading" will be mined in remote Queensland for the first time.
Vanadium is used in high strength, low alloy steel and is emerging as a "critical battery storage commodity" for its use in large-scale electricity grids.
Saint Elmo is the first mine approved in what the Queensland government describes as a "potential vanadium hub" in the far northwest, with several companies investigating the area.
In giving the project the green light, premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described vanadium as a "new economy mineral" that is also important in the manufacture of specialty steel.
She said the $250 million Saint Elmo mine near Julia Creek was the "first cab off the rank" for a new era in Queensland resources.
"This also lays the foundation for a potential next level new industry in Queensland manufacturing vanadium redox flow batteries," Ms Palaszczuk said in a statement on Wednesday.
First production from the mine is expected in late 2023 with an initial output of up to 5000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide per year predicted.
Queensland exploration and mining company Multicom, which owns the mine, has forecast production to increase to 20,000 tonnes annually as the project expands.
Ore processing will occur on site with product to be shipped from the Port of Townsville, chief executive officer Shaun McCarthy said.
Australian Associated Press