Quinbrook reveals $3.5 billion ‘green iron’ project

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Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners said it has commenced the development phase of a $3.5 billion (USD 2.34 billion) green iron project that will draw on renewable hydrogen produced by the Central Queensland Hydrogen Project (CQ-H2) being developed near Gladstone on the central Queensland coast.

A specialist investor in renewables and storage projects in Australia, North America and Britain, Quinbrook will develop the green iron project in partnership with Central Queensland Metals (CQM) which holds exploration permits for the Eulogie magnetite iron ore deposit, about 80 kilometres west of Gladstone.

Iron ore will be mined at the Eulogie site, which is estimated to contain 465 million tonnes of magnetite ore, and then transported to a new facility planned for Aldoga, about 20 kilometres northwest of Gladstone, where it will be converted to green iron using renewable hydrogen.

Quinbrook said it will sponsor the evaluation and testing of the Eulogie ore deposit to prove its quality and scale and has secured exclusive rights over land adjacent to the CQ-H2 facility being developed by a consortium led by Queensland state-owned utility Stanwell Corporation.

The CQ-H2 project, which will initially involve the installation of up to 640 MW of electrolysers to produce green hydrogen for domestic use and exports commencing in 2028. The facility is expected to scale up to more than 3 GW of electrolysis capacity producing up to 292,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually by the early 2030s.

An artist’s render on the proposed CQ-H2 green hydrogen production facility.

Image: Stanwell

Quinbrook, which is developing a portfolio of renewable energy and storage projects in Australia, said it is engaged in joint venture discussions with Stanwell on both hydrogen supply and the delivery of firm renewable power to support the CQ-H2 facility and the power needs of the green iron project.

Quinbrook co-founder and Managing Partner David Scaysbrook said Gladstone had all the ingredients for a “world-class green iron project”, including proximity to an existing port, high-voltage transmission infrastructure, and renewable energy sources.

“These are the exact fundamentals that hopeful green steel producers need and are scouring the planet for, and we have them right here in Gladstone,” he said.

The project announcement comes just days after the federal government detailed its Future Made in Australia program, a $22.7 billion suite of subsidies and incentives designed to promote domestic clean energy manufacturing and minerals processing.

Among the initiatives contained in the budget was more than $8 billion of support measures to grow the domestic hydrogen industry and $1.7 billion to help unlock private capital across new industries including green metals projects and the processing of critical minerals such as lithium, a key component in electric vehicle batteries.

“This is exactly the type of project the Made in Australia and critical minerals policies … are designed to support and the recent federal budget announcements have given us and our partners the confidence to get on with it,” Scaysbrook said.

Brian Restall, Quinbrook Managing Director and Regional Leader Brian Restall said the “unquestionably ambitious” project directly addresses the hopes for Australia’s manufacturing renaissance.

“Whilst in its early stages, we believe the project has the potential to create a significant new infrastructure investment and export opportunity in the same way that Queensland’s coal seam gas resources have already done,” he said.

Quinbrook said planning approvals for the Gladstone Green Iron project are already underway but expects the development phase to take several years.

The company said it has already received several expressions of interest from global industry players regarding the project and expects to commence a process to select a partner to take over the design, construction and operation of the green iron elements of the project once development work is further progressed and approvals secured.

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