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Local businesses will gain insights into major infrastructure prospects for north Queensland, when the Queensland Major Projects Pipeline Report 2018 is launched in Townsville next week.

The report will be released at a breakfast event hosted by Regional Development Australia Townsville and North West Queensland (RDA), Queensland Major Contractors Association and Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ) on June 14.

RDA chief executive officer Glenys Schuntner said the report had showed that northern Queensland had the strongest growth prospects in the pipeline for all regions compared to the past five years.

“The report indicates that North Queensland has projects in the pipeline worth $8.2 billion over the next five years,” Ms Schuntner said.

“So it’s important that our local businesses and those working in construction, engineering, planning and development attend the launch event to learn more about the opportunities that will come with renewed growth in our region.

“Our keynote speaker will be the chief executive officer of Building Queensland Damian Gould, followed by the report curator and associate director BIS Oxford Economics Adrian Hart.”

The report covers construction activities and major projects, planned, in progress and completed across the state and has identified 190 projects with a combined expenditure of $39.9 billion over five years.

“As last year’s report launch was a sell-out event, I encourage people to purchase their tickets as soon as possible to avoid missing out on a ticket for the upcoming 2018 launch,” Ms Schuntner said.

The breakfast event will start at 7.30am at The Ville Resort-Casino on Thursday, June 14.

More at
Spotlight on major projects pipeline
The BIO Convention in Boston has formed the backdrop for Townsville City Council and Imperium3 signing an agreement to progress a north Queensland lithium-ion battery plant.

Mayor Jenny Hill said signing the agreement was the next crucial step to establishing the battery plant in Townsville.

“This battery plant has the potential to transform Townsville and charge the city’s economy for decades to come,” Cr Hill said.

“The battery plant project has generated huge interest already at the BIO Convention and Townsville is well and truly on the map for investors here.

“I’d like to thank the Premier for the invitation to the US to showcase our plans to turn Townsville into an advanced manufacturing hub.”

The Imperium3 consortium consists of Magnis Resources, C4V LLC New York and Boston Energy and Innovation.

The battery plant, expected to create up to 1000 direct jobs, would be built at Woodstock after Townsville City Council last year agreed to partner with the consortium and provide the land.

Imperium3 has submitted financial details to the Department of State Development as part of the Queensland Government’s approval process for $3.1 million contribution to complete a feasibility study.

Magnis Resources said the agreement signed in Boston would help fast-track the Townsville plant.

The company also announced that it had secured commitments from new partners including SIEMENS, Celgard, Probuild, Norman Young & Disney, Ausenco and WT Partnership.

Probuild Group managing director, Simon Gray said the Townsville battery plant was unquestionably a significant
project for the Northern Australian region.

"Probuild is excited to be involved in the delivery of this project that will underpin the smart technology hub,” he said

Agreement to fast-track NQ battery plant
Queensland Nickel is sitting on a multibillion-dollar cobalt resource that has those in the know scratching their heads as to why more is not being done to open it up.

In the days when the QN refinery was operating, it was primarily a nickel plant. Since cobalt occurs with the mineralisation, it was also processed and sold.

Like interest on a bank account, this wallflower mineral accumulated for 40 years waiting for its time in the sun.

It’s arrived with the advent of electric cars and the much-vaunted exponential demand for elements including nickel and cobalt, lithium and graphite.

The estimates by former Yabulu refinery general manager Orestes Trifilio (1998–2003) and metallurgists point to a resource of 56,000 to 70,000 tonnes of cobalt and 216,000 to 270,000 tonnes of nickel in on-site tailings.

The cobalt price was at a 10-year high of $US40/lb at the time of printing. Nickel has a 52-week high of $US7.13/lb. That put the combined value above $8 billion, Mr Trifilio said.
An estimated $700-$800 million injection of capital would be needed to build a processing plant producing about 20,000 tonnes of nickel a year and 5000 tonnes of cobalt on the existing Yabulu site, he said.

“That can only be made to work by blending the tailings with low nickel grade-high magnesia ores, of the (type) found in small deposits in the area, or even imported, rather than installing separate new plants at those sites (and) turning the new Yabulu into a virtual tolling facility,” Mr Trifilio said.

“This can be a win–win for many.

“At current prices, even when individually processed, the resource is north of being profitable,  even more (by) using a new, patented process.”

Otherwise Mr Trifilio said the process would help address the refinery’s perceived environmental legacy, by reducing the amount of tailings and creating a green by-product.

“I must say there are several motivators (that) make it sensible. No. 1 is that we would be turning what you call an environmental liability … the actual weight and composition of the tailings; to about half of what it is right now,” he said.

“The rejects have a little bit of nutrient in it, nitrates in it, which make it perfectly suitable for rehabilitating mine sites.

“This is not pie in the sky, this has been tested and shown to work in pilot work in Australia. My message is very simple. I think Yabulu definitely deserves a second opportunity.

“Honestly, the people in charge, the people responsible for this must, they must at least, have a serious look at this thing from a global perspective.”

Estimates of the amount of tailings in the dams vary at between 80 and 100 million tonnes.

Cobalt-rich tailings offer new opportunity
The State Government has granted development approval for the $1 billion Lacour Energy wind farm project at Clarke Creek, 150km north-west of Rockhampton.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the project would involve about 350 jobs during construction.

“In addition to building the turbines, associated infrastructure will include substations, temporary workers’ accommodation, staff and operational facilities and powerlines,” Mr Dick said.

“This means jobs for the region over the project’s 36-month construction period and more clean energy that our State can tap into."

Director of Lacour Energy Mark Rayner said the Clarke Creek wind farm, with up to 195 turbines, would have a power output of more than 800MW of electricity.

“It is a unique renewable energy project which combines excellent wind and solar resources at a location directly adjacent to the backbone of the Powerlink 275 kV transmission network,” Mr Rayner said.

“The wind farm development approval is a significant milestone for the project. We look forward to completing the feasibility study by the end of the year so that construction can begin early next year.”

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the new wind farm was part of Queensland’s $20 billion pipeline of energy projects – with projects worth almost $4.5 billion under way or financially committed.
Clarke Creek $1b wind farm approved
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) is selling its mothballed Gregory Crinum coking coal mine to Sojitz Corporation for $100 million.

Sojitz said today it planned to recommence operations at Gregory Crinum as soon as the acquisition process was complete.

The Gregory Crinum peration, 60km north-east of Emerald, comprises the Crinum underground mine, Gregory open cut mine, undeveloped coal resources and on-site infrastructure including a coal handling and preparation plant, maintenance workshops and administration facilities.

Gregory Crinum Mine’s capacity was six million tonnes of hard coking coal per annum when production ceased and it was placed into care and maintenance in January 2016.

Sojitz subsidiary Sojitz Coal Mining operates the Minerva mine, south of Emerald, and recently brought into production Meteor Downs South coal mine.

"The acquisition this time will not only leverage off the expertise at Minerva and MDS, but will also strengthen Sojitz’s coking coal business and rebalance its coal assets currently weighted towards thermal coal, in view of the rising global concern for the environment and long-term business sustainability," the company said in a statement today.

Completion of the sale is subject to the fulfilment of conditions precedent including customary regulatory approvals, which could take several months.

BMA said it would be providing appropriate funding for rehabilitation of existing areas of disturbance at the site, with all rehabilitation liabilities transferred to Sojitz.

Sojitz to restart Gregory Crinum coal mine

South32 will assume operational control of the Eagle Downs metallurgical coal project in Queensland’s Bowen Basin after signing a deal with BaoWu Steel Group subsidiary Aquila Resources.

South32, which owns north-west Queensland’s Cannington mine, will acquire a 50 per cent interest in the project.

The deal includes an upfront payment of about $US106 million upon completion of the acquisition and a deferred payment of
$US27 million due three years after completion.

A coal price linked production royalty will also be payable and is capped at $US80 million.

Eagle Downs is a large, high quality and fully permitted metallurgical coal development project located about 25km south-east of  Moranbah and down dip of BMA’s Peak Downs mine.

The project was placed under care and maintenance in late 2015 after initial development work that delivered site
infrastructure including water supply and high voltage systems, office buildings and water and sediment dams.

Dual 2km drifts are also about 40 per cent complete.
South32 chief executive officer Graham Kerr said, “We have a long-standing relationship with BaoWu as a supplier of manganese ore and alloy. We are very pleased to be able to further strengthen this relationship by assuming operatorship of Eagle Downs.”

Mr Kerr said the high-quality metallurgical coal project had the benefits of prior investment, which opened the way for accelerated
development to deliver significant value to South32 and Aquila.

Prior work undertaken by Aquila has indicated that Eagle Downs has the potential to export 4.5Mtpa of coal (on average) from one longwall over the first 10 years of full production.

Following completion of the acquisition and assumption of operatorship (expected in early 2019), South32 proposes to
commence a final feasibility study which will seek to optimise the mine’s design and development.

The company said today that subject to the findings of that study and requisite approvals, South32 in partnership with Aquila
would construct a multi-seam underground longwall metallurgical coal mine and processing plant with a dedicated rail spur and train load-out facility.

South32 buys into Eagle Downs coal project