EQ Resources – A Resourceful Company
CEO Kevin MacNeill discusses the operations of EQ Resources around Mount Carbine in Queensland, how EQ Resources is benefiting the local community, and their plans for the future.
EQ Resources is a company that works on extracting resources. It is primarily known for its work extracting tungsten from Mount Carbine in North Queensland, Australia. Tungsten has been recognised by the European Union as one of the most economically important resources, while the USA, Japan, India, and Australia all define it as a “critical mineral”. What this means is that while these countries recognise the importance of the mineral, there is also high risk in terms of the supply.
Tungsten is considered highly valuable and sought after due to its beneficial properties, including resistance to high temperatures, high density and resistance to corrosion. Among other applications, tungsten is used in the manufacture of cutting equipment, filaments in light bulbs as well as vibrating mechanisms in mobile phones. However, while the resource is important to the company, it did not want to be solely defined by it. At an AGM in 2020, the company Speciality Metals International Limited was renamed EQ Resources Limited, as it was felt that the abbreviation for Emotional Quotient was a better reflection of its core values.
A great all-rounder
In cricket, an all-rounder is someone who can be proficient in batting, bowling, and various positions. This can be applied to CEO Kevin MacNeill, as his skills apply to both the technical and financial sides of business. “I come from a technical background, I am a mineral and civil technologist by trade. I am also involved in the money raise side of the project, so I can multi-task. Sometimes I wear a suit, sometimes I wear coveralls!” MacNeill explains.
At present, the EQ Resources team is hard at work. “We are mining 1000 tonnes a day. It is a sizeable mine and it has traditionally been an area people have mined since the 1800s” MacNeill states. He then goes on to further break down some of the challenges the company has faced. “We deal with a lot of rain and flooding, so it can be difficult for two to three months in the year, in the cyclone alley in Australia” MacNeill further details.
Another challenge the company has faced is finding and retaining employees. As with any team, the difficulty can be in sourcing the right people only to find they leave for other opportunities. EQ Resources have lived up to their name by being more resourceful when it comes to recruiting people who want to stay on. “There is a lot of farming in the local area, so we bring them on board and train them. We hire people who want to stay in the local area. We used to hire people specifically trained in the mining industry but they used to come and go. This way it is easier to retain people.” MacNeill says. There is also the desire to foster a team spirit which is something that the company is keen to encourage. “We have a number of staff functions. We aim to build a team network made up of local people.” MacNeill adds.
EQ Resources has also been committed to supporting its local community. “In the town, we sponsor a local rodeo and football team. The company also offers a local after-school program to students in the local area” MacNeill states.
The company has a strong commitment to diversity in the workforce as well. “In terms of our workforce, 10 per cent of our workers are from the indigenous population and 20 per cent are women. It was important that we did not have women only working in the office but also in the trucks and other jobs on the ground” MacNeill emphasises.
Breaking new ground
In recent times, EQ Resources has broken records, with the company breaking more than 40 tonnes of 50 per cent tungsten concentrate at the Mount Carbine site last December. The company has partnered with the $4 billion rated metals group Cronimet, allowing for significant additional investment and allowing EQ Resources to recommission the processing plant based in the area.
This could potentially have a significant impact in terms of the market for tungsten. “Mount Carbine is ramping up production into a firm market for tungsten concentrates and a strong, stable price for the major end product ammonium paratungstate, currently around $325/MTU, compared with $230/MTU a year ago” MacNeill stated. “We are expanding our production and expanding our team at Mount Carbine as we create a sustainable mine for the future. We are delivering concentrates for the global market and re-purposed waste rock as by-product aggregates for the local market” he further added.
While this is significant, these are not the only projects that EQ Resources are involved in. “We are also looking to acquire some assets from a government tender, branching out from tungsten and expanding our portfolio alongside the Mount Carbine project,” explains MacNeill. In recent times, the company has also acquired a gold license to explore around New South Wales.
The area that EQ Resources are looking to explore includes Panama Hat, a region considered to be one of the richest in terms of metallogenic resources, and Crow Mountain, located along the Peel Fault and has been compared to the famous Mother Lode in California that led to the Gold Rush in the United States. The company is also looking into extracting tin, so there is a lot of potential. “We are currently looking at costing and power requirements” MacNeill confirms.
EQ Resources are expanding their operations and it is clear that there is a lot of passion for the project. The company places a great deal of emphasis on caring, tying in with the emotional quotient concept behind their name. With this combination of ambition, community and a resourceful approach, EQ Resources has every chance of living up to its name.