Explorer’s remarkable lithium find in North Queensland

AN exploration company says it has discovered a significant lithium province in North Queensland that could secure the region's future in battery manufacturing.

The find, at tenements near Georgetown and Forsayth, will be announced today at a lithium conference in Western Australia where the industry is emerging as a major job creator with the development $1 billion refineries south of Perth.

Explorer Strategic Metals Australia has been working on the North Queensland deposit, the largest identified on Australia's east coast, for about three years.

The company's CEO, Graham Willett, said it was the style of the deposit - a lithium mica mineralisation - which had the company excited.

"The difference with this one is that its processing will be low cost and it contains a series of by-products including potash fertiliser," Mr Willett said.

"The by-product almost pays for the processing of lithium. It will come in as low cost and that's what is very exciting."e

Strategic Metals is a private company specialising in early exploration, discovery and development of strategic metals deposits.

It is focused on lithium and tungsten and its Georgetown tenement of 32,339ha is the largest lithium holding on the east coast of Australia.

Strategic Metals exploration director Bradley Crighton said the discovery was significant for Queensland.

"It opens up the potential for Queensland to become a significant miner and processor of lithium salts for battery manufacture in the state," Mr Crighton said.

Mr Willett said Strategic Metals had been in initial discussion with a leading Australian technology provider to licence their processing technology.

He said they had also been speaking with the Imperium3 consortium investigating developing a $2 billion battery manufacturing plant in Townsville.

"The project would not only produce lithium salts for battery manufacture but also by-products including tantalum, tin and caesium plus premium grade potash fertiliser for the agricultural industry," Mr Willett said. He said the North Queensland lithium deposit was similar to those in Europe which typically were low to medium grade but very large.

"We would expect a minimum of 10 years' supply to a manufacturer in Townsville," he said.

One of the Imperium3 consortium members, Magnis Energy Technologies managing ­director Marc Vogts, said the discovery was a "very positive sign" for North Queensland.

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