Thursday, April 25, 2024

Major minerals projects prescribed for Townsville-Mt Isa Corridor

Two major projects with the potential for more than 5,500 jobs in the Townsville-Mount Isa Corridor have been declared as prescribed projects, meaning the Queensland Coordinator-General can work with local governments and regulators to help progress them.

Queensland Resources and Critical Minerals Minister, Scott Stewart said Project Green Poly represented a $7.8 billion investment to create one of Australia’s first integrated mine-to-manufacturing polysilicon supply chains.

It is expected to create around 4,400 jobs in and around Townsville during construction and operation of a facility that will run for 30 years or more.

“There is a bright future ahead for the North West Minerals Province and the broader Mount Isa region because of projects like this,” said Minister Scott.

The Minister said the second prescribed project, the Eva Copper Mine Project, located near Mt Isa and Cloncurry, will add a new stream of copper mining and smelting, boosting local supply for solar, wind and battery energy manufacturing.

The mine is anticipated to operate for at least 15 years and generate up to 1,250 jobs in construction and operations and extend the life of local copper mining and smelting jobs.

“Harmony Gold’s Eva copper project will support jobs during construction as well as operationally and will add another source to the smelter in Mount Isa,” said Mr Scott.

Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Grace Grace today confirmed prescribed project declarations for both projects.

“With our critical mineral resources and growing list of projects we are ready to be the home to renewables-linked mining, manufacturing and exporting,” she said.

“Project Green Poly will create the Queensland-based polysilicon supply chain the world needs to expand solar and battery energy generation.

“It will further boost the Townsville region as a renewable energy mining, processing and manufacturing hub.

“The Eva Copper Mine Project plans to provide a new source of copper concentrate that has the potential to feed Mount Isa’s copper smelter.”

Minister Grace said Harmony Gold Mining Company already has key mining approvals for the project and the prescribed project declaration means the Office of the Coordinator-General can now provide additional assistance to coordinate remaining approvals.

“Priorities will include establishing a renewable energy source that can help run mining operations until the project connects to CopperString 2032,” she said.

“The project will support Mount Isa’s future, in line with our $50 million Mount Isa Transition Fund support package, announced in February 2024.”

Quinbrook Investment Partners Managing Director, Regional Leader for Australia, Brian Restall said Townsville had the potential to be a world-leading location to produce polysilicon, “given its proximity to high quality quartz resources, its great access to the Port of Townsville and the fact that the Lansdown Eco-industrial park, where our manufacturing is proposed, can be powered by 100% renewable energy”.

Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited CEO, Peter Steenkamp said the Eva Copper project would be transformational for the company as it transitions into a global gold-copper producer.

“As one of the world’s largest gold producers, sustainability is embedded in our operating practices,” said Mr Steenkamp.

“Our people are our most important asset and this support from the Queensland Government will enable Harmony to continue creating long-term value for all its stakeholders, wherever we operate.”

Last year, Harmony Gold Mining Company received a grant from the Queensland Government’s Collaborative Exploration Initiative.

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