The Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory owned by TNG Limited (ASX: TNG) has been designated a federal major project by Canberra.
The company says the decision by federal industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews is a recognition of the strategic significance of the Mount Peake project to Australia.
This is because the project is expected to expand and diversify Australia’s critical resources and contribute to the economic development of the Northern Territory.
With major project status, companies receive support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency in Canberra.
This includes the federal agency working closely with state and territory governments to coordinate approvals.
Stage one development has been estimated to cost $824 million with an eventual mine life of 37 years.
Mine in NT, process at Darwin
TNG’s plan is to build a mine and concentrate plant at the site 235km north of Alice Springs, then truck the concentrate 85km by road to connect with the Alice Springs-Darwin railway.
The concentrate will then be railed to a processing plant at Middle Arm Precinct in Darwin.
Mount Peake is intended to be a long-life project producing a range of high-quality, high-purity strategic materials including vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment, and iron ore fines.
The production forecast is 100,000 tonnes per annum of titanium pigment, 6,000tpa of vanadium pentoxide and 500,000tpa or iron oxide.
It is expected 1,600 jobs will be created in the development phase, with 1,000 jobs once production begins.
About 90% of titanium dioxide is used in the pigment industry, including as a component of paints, coatings, paper and inks.
Current global demand is about 6.7Mt a year, and the planned output from Mount Peake will equate to about 1.5% of world supply.
Growing battery demand for vanadium
The main use of vanadium is as an additive in high-strength steel, which accounts for about 92% of global demand. At present, more than 90% of vanadium is produced by South Africa, China and Brazil.
A growing segment is the supply of vanadium oxide for battery applications.
In addition, TNG intends to generate hematite fines for export into the seaborne iron ore market for steel making.
Managing director and chief executive officer Paul Burton said Mount Peake is a “world class project” and the awarding of major project status is a testament to the economics and strategic significance.
“Securing the support and involvement of the Australian government in helping to facilitate the development of a global-scale critical minerals project like Mount Peake is significant for TNG and its shareholders,” he added.