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The Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) will fund the expansion of EQ Resources’ (EQR) Mount Carbine tungsten mine in the state’s north with a $20 million loan.

The funding comes from the Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund, which aims to assist critical minerals development and the manufacturing of battery technologies.

EQR will welcome the funding in two instalments over the loan’s three-year period. The first round will see $12 million provided to assist in doubling the site’s processing capacity and commencing underground drill testing.

The second round of $8 million will be used to continue underground drill testing and start underground trial mining.

Queensland Minister Resources and Critical Minerals Scott Stewart said the Government is committed to developing the state’s critical minerals resources like tungsten.

“The resurgence of tungsten production is another remarkable success story in Queensland’s critical minerals boom,” Stewart said.

“Since returning to operation in 2019, Mount Carbine tungsten mine has become a major employer in the Far North, where 175 workers and contractors are on track to produce about 3000 tonnes of tungsten concentrate every year.

“The existing open-cut mine is forecast to reach its end of life by 2029, but the Queensland Government is committed to supporting these workers and the communities they call home.”

EQR chief executive officer Kevin MacNeill welcomed the funding, which will see drilling kick off this year.

“We are pleased that the opportunity has arisen for such extensive and attractive funding support from the Queensland Government,” he said.

“The provision of financing will support our recently announced expansion program to double capacity at Mt Carbine, but we also consider this a strong endorsement of the company’s corporate strategy to further establish ourselves as a leading and responsible producer of globally relevant critical minerals.”