The State Government has declared the $1.4 billion Sconi project near Greenvale in North Queensland as a prescribed project.
Prescribed project status will help streamline approvals and fast-track the development.
Construction is anticipated to start this year, with proponent Australian Mines set to open a regional office in either Townsville, Charters Towers or Greenvale.
Australian Mines managing director Ben Bell welcomed the prescribed project declaration.
“With at least 80 per cent of the workforce for the project anticipated to be employed from the local region, and almost $1 billion of the project’s total capex expected to be spent with Australian businesses – with a preference for Queensland companies – Australian Mines Limited is committed to ensuring local communities and businesses continue to benefit from the development and ongoing operation of the Sconi project,” Mr Bell said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project would deliver much-needed jobs for the region and make significant contributions to the local economy.
“It’s a very happy new year for North Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We’re talking about a project set to create up to 500 jobs during its two-year construction period.
“And we’ll see more than 300 full-time equivalent jobs for the 18-year operational period.
“I met with the proponents of this project during the trade mission to South Korea last year and I’m pleased this project is progressing because it means jobs for North Queensland.”
State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said Australian Mines had pledged to invest $500,000 each year for training and skills development for process workers, with youth and Indigenous programs to feature.
“Upgrades to local Greenvale infrastructure will be made by the proponent,” he said.
“This will help improve water supply, regional public roads and the Greenvale regional airport, while an accommodation village and 24/7 medical facility will also be constructed.
“There’s over $1 billion of capital expenditure proposed, and Queensland companies will be prioritised for this work, which Australian Mines should be commended for. “
The $1.4 billion project aims to produce nickel, cobalt and scandium for use in battery manufacturing, electric vehicles and similar high technology applications for export markets.
Two million tonnes of ore per annum would be processed at the Greenvale site producing an estimated annual average production of 8500 tonnes of cobalt, 53,500 tonnes of nickel sulphate and 77 tonnes of scandium oxide for at least 18 years.