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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Paul Lucas


    Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    Friday, January 16, 2009


    The State Government has approved plans for a nickel refinery at Gladstone that could create 2600 new jobs and add $500 million a year to Queensland’s economy, subject to Federal Government approval and investment decisions by the proponent.

    Acting Premier Paul Lucas said the Gladstone Pacific Nickel project would be Australia’s largest nickel refinery.

    “I welcome the Coordinator-General’s decision to approve this project with strict conditions, based on an extensive Environmental Impact Assessment, but now it must gain approval from the Federal Government,” said Mr Lucas.

    “I want to stress this project is also subject to decisions by the company and its bankers.

    “In tough economic times this is great news not just for the people of Gladstone but all of Queensland.

    “This project has the capacity to create 2000 construction jobs in Gladstone, with another 1750 if it is expanded to a second stage later on.

    “Once it’s built, the refinery will employ around people 530 here in Gladstone in permanent operational jobs.

    “The project also includes a mine at Marlborough, 180 kilometres north west of Gladstone, that would generate 600 construction jobs and 150 new ongoing jobs.

    “The economic benefits are huge, the first stage of this project alone will cost $3.8 billion to build.

    “Once operating, it will inject $513 million into Queensland’s economy each year, with around $159 million of this going into the local economy here in Gladstone.

    “And if the multi-billion dollar stage two expansion proceeds, the expanded operations would bring $1.36 billion to the Queensland economy each year.

    “That’s real jobs and dollars that will help Queensland families.

    “Queensland will lead Australia out of this economic downturn and projects like this only brighten our future.”

    John Downie, Gladstone Pacific Nickel’s Chief Executive Officer, said the company expected construction to start in early 2010 and the refinery would be operating by late 2012 with Stage 2 potentially following five years later.

    “This refinery will be ideally positioned to meet the future worldwide demand for stainless steel, which incorporates nickel,” Mr Downie said.

    “It could eventually produce a tenth of the world’s nickel supplies.

    “It will treat ores from the south-west Pacific, starting with New Caledonia, plus ore from our Marlborough deposits and promote development of more local ore deposits.

    “I’m also pleased to announce that once construction commences Gladstone Pacific Nickel will spend $9 million on projects for this community over three years.

    “This money will be spent on a range of services to mitigate potential impacts on the community during the construction and operational phases.

    “It could provide medical services, childcare, support for the elderly or disabled, industrial training and skills programs, rental support schemes and affordable housing.

    “That initial outlay will be followed up by annual top-ups for the fund of $500,000 in each year that the nickel plant meets profitability targets.

    “Gladstone Pacific Nickel will also contribute up to $10 million assisting other industries with high levels of sulphur dioxide pollution to reduce their emissions in Gladstone.

    “This efficiency of this plant means it will have low levels of air emissions, consistent with world’s best practice.

    “By helping existing industries with any projects that can reduce sulphur dioxide levels by 5000-10,000 tonnes a year, Gladstone Pacific Nickel is investing in this community’s future.”

    Coordinator-General Colin Jensen said the Gladstone Nickel Project (GNP) has been subjected to a rigorous and technically complex Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

    “Gladstone Pacific Nickel spent three years working through the EIS and addressing potential impacts of its proposed high-pressure acid leach refinery,” Mr Jensen said.

    “Now it is over to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts to assess the project under federal legislation concerning matters of national environmental significance.

    “As part of my approval, the company must submit a performance report for stage one of the refinery when operating near capacity for 12 months before it can begin stage two so emissions licence conditions can be tightened if needed.

    “This report to the EPA must include analyses of the concentrations of heavy metals and pollutants in the water discharge to Port Curtis and in marine sediments, monthly dust testing and monitoring and checks of particulates and other air pollutants near the refinery’s south-east boundary.

    “Feedback from community consultation has resulted in improvements to the project’s design and treatment systems with an extra dilution step for wastewater and cleaner air emissions.”

    The refinery will be built on old degraded grazing land identified as unfit for agricultural purposes that falls within the Gladstone State Development area.

    Stage one of the refinery, could produce 63,000 tonnes of nickel, 6,000 tonnes of cobalt and around 175,000 tonnes of ammonium sulphate a year from 2013.

    The Department of Infrastructure and Planning conducted three community briefings on the project and its EIS, which was displayed at Gladstone’s library and council chambers plus the departmental website, attracted 21 submissions.

    For a copy of the Coordinator-General’s report visit or contact 3405 6205.

    Media contact: Matthew Klar 0437 435 223.