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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    New NQ fertiliser mine could have 200-year life

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    New NQ fertiliser mine could have 200-year life

    Almost 1,000 industrial resource-based jobs are a step closer for North Queensland after the Palaszczuk Government granted prescribed project status to a processing plant for a resources project near Townsville.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Agripower Australia Limited’s $663 million Fertiliser Expansion Project could create 490 jobs during construction and 470 ongoing operational jobs.

    “Agripower’s amorphous silica is sourced from what is believed to be the world’s largest deposit of the mineral near Greenvale,” the Premier said.

    “Agripower believes that a two billion tonne deposit could create a mine life of 200 years.”

    The Premier said Agripower had recently completed construction of a processing facility near Charters Towers able to produce 240,000 tonne of fertiliser per year.

    That facility is expected to become operational next month, with the first shipment of 5000 tonnes to be exported to Indian from the Port of Townsville in July.

    “The completion of the processing facility is good news for Charters Towers and North Queensland,” the Premier said.

    “But I am pleased to see Agripower planning for the future demand for this Queensland resource by looking to develop a $663 million processing facility near Yabulu.

    “Each year, Agripower expects to produce one million tonnes of fertiliser from the new facility, to be exported to the world – and to do that with a project life of up to 200 years.

    “This can mean local jobs for local skilled workers for generations to come.”

    State Development Minister Cameron Dick said prescribed project status enables Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General to assist the proponent to progress the project efficiently by ensuring timely approvals across all agencies.

    He said the Office of the Coordinator-General would work with the proponent to identify and navigate the most efficient approvals pathway for the project.

    The project is the latest in recent activity from the Palaszczuk Government which has also included:

    • Approval for the $1 billion Olive Downs Metallurgical Coal Mine, supporting 1500 jobs
    • Coordinated status for the $1 billion Winchester South Metallurgical Coal Mine, supporting 950 jobs
    • Approval of nine new mining leases for the Resolute Mine near Ravenswood, supporting 380 jobs

    Since January 2015, 199,000 jobs have been created in Queensland.

    More than 1000 jobs have been created in the Townsville region in the past year.

    Media contact: Geoff Breusch 0417 272 875

    Background

    Agripower has been undertaking open pit mining at the mine site near Greenvale since 2012 where it processes amorphous silica at their Charters Towers processing facility.

    The silica has been used to create a silicon fertiliser as part of a pilot study involving product trials in over 14 countries.

    The silicon fertiliser is used in broadacre agriculture, horticulture, viticulture and organic agriculture.

    Agripower advises it has invested more than $100 million over the past 18 years to develop the resource and holds a mining lease, two mineral development permits, and four exploration permits required for the project.

    The Greenvale mine is the world’s largest known resource of amorphous silica. At the processing rate and scale proposed by Agripower, the mine is capable of supporting a 200-year operational life.

    A 45-kilometre overland conveyer system will need to be constructed to transport the product from the mine site north west of Greenvale, from where it is proposed to be transported by train through the reopening of the 220-kilometre Greenvale to Yabulu rail corridor.

    The new rail line is proposed to be a multi-user rail operation that could potentially be used for new and existing industries within the region and further reduce reliance on road transport.

    The product will then be processed in a new facility around Yabulu, before being exported as Agrisilica from the Port of Townsville for use by international customers. Agripower plans to export Agrisilica to Europe. Asia, Africa and the Americas and is working towards finalising key commercial sales agreements.

    The next three-year phase of the expansion project will involve identifying a suitable site for the plant, detailed engineering and design phase starting in May 2019, including pursuing the relevant project approvals.

    The key approvals needed include a development permit for a material change of use and environmental authorities for the Yabulu processing plant and various permits relating to vegetation clearing and management associated with the overland conveyor and the rail corridor.

    For construction to commence in 2023, the approvals processes need to start now, with the multi-user rail line and overland conveyer system expected to take 24 months and create 330 new jobs. The new Yabulu processing facility is expected to take 18 months to construct and create 160 new jobs.