Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the proposed Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) had been declared a prescribed project and would support North Queensland’s economic recovery.
“The TECH project has the potential to provide a massive boost to Townsville and regional industry,” Mr Miles said.
“The project will create around 800 construction jobs and its operational phase would create an estimated 1700 jobs, including 300 highly-skilled advanced manufacturing jobs at the facility and 1400 jobs in support industries.
“Now that the prescribed project declaration has been made, the Queensland Coordinator-General can work with project proponent Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) to ensure all necessary project approvals are obtained in a timely manner.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said QPM proposes to build the facility in the Townsville City Council’s Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, approximately 40km south of Townsville.
“Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct is northern Australia’s first environmentally sustainable advanced manufacturing, processing and technology hub,” Cr Hill said.
“The precinct is perfectly positioned to spur economic growth and job creation for Townsville and North Queensland for decades to come.
“The declaration of QPM’s proposed hub is another shot-in-the-arm of our Lansdown precinct as well as the Townsville and North Queensland economy.”
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the precinct will benefit from cheaper, cleaner energy.
“Thanks to Queensland’s cheaper, cleaner electricity, our renewable energy target and zero net emissions target we can expect to see more and more investment in local manufacturing, particularly in regional Queensland,” Mr de Brenni said.
Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Palaszczuk Government has already committed $12 million to support rail and road infrastructure to develop the Lansdown precinct and assist projects such as the TECH.
“High-grade ore from New Caledonia would be imported through the Port of Townsville and transported to the facility,” Mr Stewart said.
“Lansdown and projects like TECH will kick-start a new age in industry that will create jobs which Townsville and North Queensland is ready to take advantage off.”
Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said Lansdown was ideally placed with easy access to the Port of Townsville.
“QPM is planning to export the high-tech products through the Townsville Port,” Mr Walker said.
“This would see Townsville manufactured materials form part of the fast-growing global supply chain for the battery sector.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said today’s announcement was a step toward unlocking a new industry in North Queensland.
“This will mean jobs and stable employment in new and existing manufacturing industries for the locals in Townsville,” Mr Harper said.
QPM Managing Director & CEO Stephen Grocott said Townsville is the perfect location, with its existing infrastructure and a skilled workforce.
“Construction of The TECH facility could begin in 2022 with production commencing late 2023,” Mr Grocott said.
“The facility proposes to process 1.5 million tonnes of ore annually to produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate and high-purity alumina which are sought after chemicals for use in the emerging electric-vehicle battery manufacture.
“Furthermore, we will do this in a sustainable manner with industry leading low carbon emissions, zero process liquid discharge and no tailings dam. This is a global first, consistent with the TCC’s aims for the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct.”
Queensland Pacific Metals has offtake agreements in place to sell product to Korean companies LG Energy Solutions, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, and POSCO.
QPM has also has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a dedicated gas supply from the northern Bowen Basin.