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TOWNSVILLE is a step closer to establishing an advanced manufacturing facility at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct that would refine ore to produce critical materials for use in new-technology batteries.

Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles said the proposed Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) had been declared a prescribed project and would support north Queensland’s economic recovery.

“The TECH project has the potential to provide a massive boost to Townsville and regional industry,” Mr Miles said.

“The project will create around 800 construction jobs and its operational phase would create an estimated 1700 jobs, including 300 highly-skilled advanced manufacturing jobs at the facility and 1400 jobs in support industries.

“Now that the prescribed project declaration has been made, the Queensland Coordinator-General can work with project proponent Queensland Pacific Metals to ensure all necessary project approvals are obtained in a timely manner.”

QPM proposes to build the facility in the Townsville City Council’s Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, approximately 40km south of Townsville. The company is planning to export the high-tech products through the Port of Townsville.

Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct is northern Australia’s first environmentally sustainable advanced manufacturing, processing and technology hub.

QPM chief Stephen Grocott said Townsville is the perfect location, with its existing infrastructure and a skilled workforce.

“Construction of The TECH facility could begin in 2022 with production commencing late 2023,” Mr Grocott said.

“The facility proposes to process 1.5 million tonnes of ore annually to produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate and high-purity alumina which are sought after chemicals for use in the emerging electric-vehicle battery manufacture.

“Furthermore, we will do this in a sustainable manner with industry leading low carbon emissions, zero process liquid discharge and no tailings dam.

“This is a global first, consistent with the TCC’s aims for the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct.”

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Queensland Pacific Metals has offtake agreements in place to sell product to Korean companies LG Energy Solutions, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, and POSCO.

QPM has also has signed a memorandum of understanding for a dedicated gas supply from the northern Bowen Basin.

Minister for resources Scott Stewart said the QLD government has already committed $12 million to support rail and road infrastructure to develop the Lansdown precinct and assist projects such as the TECH.

“High-grade ore from New Caledonia would be imported through the Port of Townsville and transported to the facility,” Mr Stewart said.

“Lansdown and projects like TECH will kickstart a new age in industry that will create jobs which Townsville and North Queensland is ready to take advantage off.”

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