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SMEC has been appointed to lead engineering studies for Agripower Australia’s $663 million Fertiliser Expansion Project.

Agripower director Peter Prentice said SMEC’s Townsville office was carrying out that work, while Brisbane-based Ardent would carry out all environmental, permitting and approvals processes.

The State Government in May granted prescribed project status for Agripower’s plans for a processing plant near Townsville.

The project will also involve building a 45km overland conveyer from the company’s amorphous silica mine site north-west of Greenvale and the reopening of the 220km Greenvale to Yabulu rail corridor.

“There has been a massive amount of planning undertaken for the rail,  new plant,  and port facilities and this is now largely settled and we are presently working with the Co-ordinator General to run through all the approvals required and the process and timing,” Mr Prentice said.

“Separate to this, we have undertaken work on the rail corridor such as examining bridges and geotechnical work.

“Thus everything is progressing with no real delays but a lot to settle on in terms of the approval process and various reporting agencies to work with.”

He said the company would begin identifying potential sites for the new 1Mtpa fertiliser plant in the months ahead.

Agripower has recently completed construction of a processing facility near Charters Towers able to produce 240,000 tonnes of fertiliser per year.

Mr Prentice said some minor issues had delayed commissioning by a few weeks, but it was about to come online.

“We have to rebook ships and the first shipment going to India of 5000 tonnes will be now around August 19,  but there will be a smaller one (300 tonnes) going to Indonesia on the 11th of August,” he said

SMEC and Ardent move fertiliser project forward