Townsville in Queensland is a step closer to a huge industry and jobs boost from a proposed energy hub and advanced manufacturing facility at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct that will refine ore to produce critical materials for use in new-technology batteries.
The proposed Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) will create around 800 construction jobs and its operational phase will create an estimated 1700 jobs, including 300 highly-skilled advanced manufacturing jobs at the facility and 1400 jobs in support industries. Project proponent Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) proposes to build the facility in the Townsville City Council’s Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, approximately 40km south of Townsville.
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 Queensland 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.
Queensland Pacific Metals 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.
Queensland Pacific Metals has also has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a dedicated gas supply from the northern Bowen Basin.