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There is no shortage of takers for products from Greenvale Mining’s Alpha torbanite project as it targets major domestic supply gaps with Queensland-made diesel and bitumen.

In fact, managing director Neil Biddle says the company is looking to produce enough bitumen from Alpha to fill the equivalent of the whole state’s demand for the next 10 years at least.

“We’d expect that to run into the New South Wales market as well,” he said.

“We don’t expect we’d get the whole Queensland market, but post-COVID Queensland will be going through big infrastructure, building programs, massive roadworks around the state and at the moment all of our bitumen is imported.

“It’s getting harder to get imported products to this country, particularly seaborne (commodities).”

With prices increasing rapidly, Mr Biddle said Greenvale Mining would offer a much better bitumen price for asphalt producers than the imports.

“So the interest is extremely strong and it will be good for Queensland because it’ll be the only state in Australia with a local supply of bitumen and diesel….

“We can produce diesel out of this project at a very low cost. So yeah, of course, we’re going to be able to sell it quite readily and for the local market.”

The company already has buyers lined up for Alpha’s bitumen output and a client planning to source the diesel for the Bowen Basin mining industry.

Mt Biddle was reluctant to quote production figures with a feasibility study still underway, but said each tonne of torbanite contained about 650 litres of hydrocarbon – and two thirds of that would be diesel.

That translates to about 200 million to 300 million litres coming out of Alpha each year.

Greenvale Mining is also exploring options for another key Alpha offtake – carbon.

“We haven’t started work on upgrading the carbon to activated carbon yet,” Mr Biddle said.

“… We can sell all the carbon as it is – just as spent torbanite – for at least a hundred dollars a tonne. So we will start work on the activated carbon once we’ve got everything else bedded down, because at a hundred dollars a tonne, the project’s extremely viable.

“So it’s not an issue, but activated carbon sells for quite a premium. And again, it’s fully imported. It’s used extensively in water purification and emission controls in most industries. So there’s a big market for it.”

The proposed operation at Alpha – 500km west of Rockhampton – will include a hydro desulphurisation plant to take the sulphur out of the gas and diesel in the resource.

This will produce sulphuric acid, in demand in the fertiliser industry and base metal extraction.