Capricorn Copper and Chinova areamong nine exploration companies prospecting in the north west minerals province for deposits of base and precious metals with the help of the latest round of exploration grants, worth $1.13.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said that while the North West Minerals Province provided a golden opportunity for explorers, the positive flow-on effects for local business and the communities added to the impact.
“Funding through the Collaborative Exploration Initiative allows companies to kick-start projects that may have never have got off the ground due to the costs and risks involved in exploring in remote regions of Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.
“We have to get innovative if we are going to get these projects moving, and the Collaborative Exploration Initiative is an excellent example of how a small investment reaps big rewards for Queensland.
“Queensland explorers are using the complete array of techniques to make discoveries and so the funding initiative has been updated the reflect this,” Dr Lynham said.
The program has generated 48 new mineralisation discoveries over the past 10 years, including a contribution towards Australia’s largest copper-cobalt resource by Aeon Metals, and the Maronan deposit worth up to $9 billion.
Since it started, 58 companies – most junior explorers – have shared in funding to commence exploration. The companies have invested about another $21 million invested in Queensland by the companies themselves – a leverage of 3:1.
Photo: North west Queensland Supported projects Tenures represented at 300% scale 1. SECTOR PROJECTS PTY LTD 2. FOOTPRINT RESOURCES PTY LTD 3. RED METAL LIMITED 4. CHINOVA RESOURCES PTY LTD 5. AEON WALFORD CREEK LIMITED 6. MINOTAUR EXPLORATION LTD 7. TOPDRILL PTY LTD 8. CAPRICORN COPPER PTY LTD 9. FINDEX PTY LTD
MMG celebrated a major milestone in its $1.57 billion Dugald River project recently as the first load of zinc concentrate left site.
The achievement was celebrated in an official opening ceremony attended by MMG chairman Guo Wenqing, chief executive officer Jerry Jiao and other dignitaries.
But there is no lull in activity heading into 2018 as the operation brings its lead concentrate circuit online and ramps up towards its 1.7Mtpa zinc concentrate production target.
“There’s still a lot of activity and it’s still exciting,” MMG Dugald River operations manager Sam Rodda said.
“We’ve had our first trucking of concentrate to Cloncurry, our first train from Cloncurry to Townsville - that happened on November 15, and we’re working towards our first shipment around mid-December.
“We still have lots ahead of us in the short term.
“People are still energised and, while it’s good to stop and reflect and pat people on the back, it’s the start of even more excitement.”
Mr Rodda said 2018 would see the site continue to build toward its nameplate capacity of 1.7Mtpa through the processing plant, with a target of 170,000 tonnes of zinc metal in concentrate.
“We haven’t commissioned our lead concentrate circuit, so we still have some learnings and some upside around producing lead concentrate in early 2018,” he said.
“We will also get better at understanding our life cycle costs and we have good opportunity to expand our workforce on a few fronts, including through our trainee and apprenticeship program as part of our agreement with the Kalkadoon Native Title owners.”
The Dugald River mine - 65km north-west of Cloncurry - will be a top-10 global zinc producer when fully operational
At the official opening Mr Jiao voiced his pride that MMG had finally brought this challenging project into production and congratulated all involved.
“By taking the time to understand the characteristics of this complex deposit, we have delivered the right plan and invested at the right time,” he said.
“We remain positive about the long-term fundamentals for zinc and Dugald River has come into production at a time of tightening global supply and rising prices."
Mr Rodda said Dugald River’s success on the road to production came down to correct planning from the outset and an integrated project team with a ‘single team working together’ attitude in line with MMG values.
“Having people aligned with common values and common goals and common KPIs has been the major success,” he said.
Mr Rodda said the team involved in bringing Dugald River online had worked towards making it “a site and a company that you are proud to have on your resume.”
MMG Dugald River would continue to build on strong relationships with regional stakeholders to promote local employment and local expenditure as it moved out of construction and into operations, he said.
Australia has been upgraded to Category B of the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Australia was supported in the election by 143 of the 162 Member States present.
It has been on the IMO Council for almost 50 years and is the first country,along with the United Arab Emirates, to replace an incumbent from Category B.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said this better reflected Australia's status as one of the states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade.
“This election reaffirms Australia's contribution to the development and implementation of international standards on maritime safety, security and pollution prevention,” Mr Chester said.
“Through our role on the IMO Council, the Australian Government will do our part to ensure international shipping is safe, reliable and efficient, and protects the marine environment so that all countries can share the benefits of a strong international shipping sector.
“Australia will continue our search and rescue operations in an area that covers one-tenth of the earth's surface.”
Electricity produced from the Kidston Solar Stage 1 Project is now being transmitted into the National Electricity Market.
Genex Power announced today that, following successful transformer energisation of the project in late November, it had now generated its first revenue.
“The project has now transitioned from being technically operational to commercially active. This ground-breaking milestone marks the first earnings for the project and for Genex as a company," managing director Michael Addison said.
"This transition from a development company to generating operational cash flows will serve to strengthen our financial position as we seek to reach financial close for our Kidston Stage Two Projects in 2018.”
The solar farm is located 270km north-west of Townsville at the former Kidston gold mine site.
As commissioning is completed over the coming months, electricity generation will be ramped up to full capacity.
The Kidston 50MW PV Solar Project is the first phase in the proposed $580 million Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, which will also include the 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project (K2-Hydro), and the co-located 270MW solar PV Project (K2-Solar).
Arrow Energy has today signed off on one of the largest gas supply deals on Australia’s east coast, expected to drive the creation of 1000 jobs.
The 27-year deal between Arrow and the Shell-operated QCLNG joint venture, will commercialise the majority of Arrow’s gas reserves in the Surat Basin – about 5 trillion cubic feet (TCF).
Arrow Energy chief executive officer Qian Mingyang said the company’s equal shareholders, PetroChina and Shell, had approved Arrow’s execution of a binding Gas Sales Agreement (GSA) following 18 months of detailed work on upstream collaboration agreements.
“The deal offers long-awaited infrastructure collaboration in the natural gas industry, creating better cost efficiencies and enabling us to bring this gas to market in a challenging investment climate,” Mr Qian said.
“Collaboration between the parties will see use of existing QGC-operated infrastructure such as gas compression, processing and transmission infrastructure as well as water transport and treatment facilities. Utilising existing upstream infrastructure will reduce impacts to landholders and to communities.”
Mr Qian said phased development activity would commence from the expansion of Arrow’s Tipton fields, near Dalby, and build to new development areas from around 2021.
The project is expected to create about 1000 new jobs – 800 during peak construction and around 200 ongoing operational roles.
The current Queensland total gas supply is about 1450PJ/yr, while Queensland residential and industrial demand is about 178PJ/yr.
“Collaboration will accelerate first gas production to approximately 2020, bringing an additional 240 petajoules per year (PJ/yr) or 655 terajoules per day (TJ/d) of gas to the Queensland market at peak production,” Mr Qian said.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said today’s announcement brought the scale and infrastructure of LNG production to bear on Arrow’s proven gas reserves.
“That’s the only way to get this gas out of the ground at an affordable price”, said Mr Macfarlane
“More gas being produced is good news for all gas customers both domestic and export.
“The QRC congratulates Arrow and Shell’s QCLNG on this milestone agreement which again demonstrates that Queensland is leading the way when it comes to working to address the problem of the gas shortage.”
Arrow Energy said it was also continuing to progress development options in the Bowen Basin, where it operates one of the oldest and geographically largest domestic gas projects (Moranbah Gas Project, owned jointly with AGL Energy) for electricity and industrial uses.
The company recently invested more than $500 million in the Daandine Expansion Project (commissioned in late 2016) and commenced a $100 million-plus project this year to expand capacity at its Daandine and Tipton fields by 30 per cent.