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More than $4 million in federal funding will help kickstart Mackay’s Riverfront Revitalisation Project, enhancing the city’s tourism offering and liveability.

Federal MP George Christensen said the work was among four projects in Mackay and the Whitsundays to share more than $4.3 million in funding under Round 5 of the Building Better Regions Fund.

“I am very pleased to announce that more than $4.1 million in funding under this tourism-focused round of the Building Better Regions Fund will go to Mackay’s Riverfront Revitalisation Project,” Mr Christensen said.

“This is a component of the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA) and it will deliver the first stage of revitalisation works within the riverside project area.

“I am a strong supporter of Mackay Regional Council’s vision for the Waterfront PDA and I have repeatedly advocated for the project in Canberra.

“This is about re-orienting the city to the water – the river and the sea – and in the process building on our tourism offering and liveability. 

“It was one of the final things I wanted to leave the city with, to finish off my time as the Federal MP – a final gift if you like – to help diversify our economy by boosting our tourism offering.”
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said it was a very exciting day for Mackay, with the Federal Government’s $4.1 million the key to starting the $9 million project.

“We’re putting in about $5 million to kickstart this whole Waterfront project,’’ Cr Williamson said.

“We’re hoping we’ll get the tenders out by the end of this month, which means, hopefully, we’ll see early in 2022 a start on this project.

“What that means is from about the area in front of the Fish Market right back to Paxton’s becomes a huge public realm component.”

The former Don Daniels and Marias Donkey restaurant and bar building over the river will also be upgraded and made safe. A $2 million pontoon will also be built as part of the project.

“We are now delivering on what we’ve been saying for years – we need to celebrate this fantastic river we’ve got,’’ Cr Williamson said. “It’s  great for our community and great for tourism.’’

Image: Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen with Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson at the Pioneer River.

Hydrogen Utility has moved its H2-Hub Gladstone green hydrogen and ammonia project a step closer with the signing of a letter of intent with Gladstone Ports Corporation.

Hydrogen Utility (H2U) founder and chief executive officer Dr Attilio Pigneri said the Port of Gladstone was in an ideal location for green ammonia exports and would create an exciting hub in the global transition to decarbonised shipping fuels.

“We see great potential in this project driving the global transition to a new internationally tradeable, decarbonised energy,” Dr Pigneri said.

The proposed $1.6 billion H2-Hub is set to be Queensland’s first, export-oriented green hydrogen and ammonia manufacturing facility, using 100 per cent renewable energy from solar and wind developments.

The two-stage project is expected to drive more than $4 billion dollars in investment and create hundreds of jobs.

A 171ha site has been secured in the Yarwun State Development Area (SDA) under a 
GPC chief operating officer Craig Walker confirmed a letter of intent had been signed between GPC and H2U to advance discussions on ammonia export facilities.

“Hydrogen is an exciting opportunity for the region and GPC is readying to position Queensland into the global markets,” Mr Walker said.

“As well as discussions with H2U, GPC is working with a number of other proponents to facilitate hydrogen trade in the region.”

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni, who is opening the CQH2 Hydrogen Forum on Friday, said renewable hydrogen was a multi-billion dollar opportunity that would create decent, secure jobs for Queenslanders, particularly in regional areas like Gladstone.

“We know Queenslanders have what it takes to create new industry,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Gladstone is a powerhouse that was at the heart of creating our LNG export industry and can do it again with renewable hydrogen, with new, decarbonised industry and the jobs for Queenslanders.”Sale of Land Agreement with the Queensland Minister for Economic Development (MEDQ).

Image: GPC chief operating officer Craig Walker and Hydrogen Utility (H2U) founder and chief executive officer Dr Attilio Pigneri at Gladstone.

North-West Queensland copper producer Austral Resources Australia has appointed Thiess as preferred mining services contractor for the Anthill copper project.

The Anthill copper project, about 80km north-west of Mount Isa, will extend copper production from the company’s existing Lady Annie operations.

Austral plans to begin mining at Anthill by the end of the year, with ore deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2022 and 1,000t of cathode produced per month by mid 2022.

The company has notified Thiess of its intention to enter exclusive negotiations to finalise the terms of a three-year mining services contract.

Under the scope of work, Thiess will operate and maintain two mining fleets, undertaking mining services to support Austral’s copper production requirements. 

“Thiess has a long history operating in the Mount Isa region dating back to the early 1960s, and we’re very pleased to be back,” Thiess chief executive officer and executive chairman Michael Wright said.

“With our selection as preferred contractor, Austral Resources has recognised our team’s specialist mining capability and our flexible approach to meet the needs of their mine.”

“This project is very important to Thiess as we continue to diversify our business across commodities, mining regions and services.

“We are positioned well to support Austral Resources and the local community, with the right equipment, technical capability and operations team.”

The Millennium mine near Moranbah was officially opened last week as new owners work towards achieving first coking coal exports by the end of the year.

MetRes is investing $464 million to re-start and operate the formerly mothballed mine – creating more than 230 jobs in the process.

The re-invigorated site produced first coal late last month and production is set to hit more than 1.2 million tonnes each year from July 2022.

It comes after a joint venture of M Resources and Stanmore Resources (MetRes) acquired the mothballed Mavis Downs and Millennium site from Peabody Energy in July, with M Mining acting as joint venture manager and operator of the restarted mining activities.

MetRes chair Matt Latimore said with the opening of the mine, local community would be supported once more.

“Through existing infrastructure and a substantial resource remaining, we know that Millennium has more to give, and we are pleased to see the mine again generating jobs and opportunity for the region and economy,” Mr Latimore said.

“Millennium mine is heading into fortunate times with high prices and a world hungry for metallurgical coal resources.

“Millennium will make high-quality coal for steel making available to our trading partners which will support a global green energy transition.

“Every wind turbine, solar panel, energy transmission upgrade, every single hydrogen pipeline and storage tank requires steel. As the world invests in a low emissions future, there will only be more demand for Queensland’s premium coking coal.”

Mr Latimore said he was particularly pleased to have an emphasis on local employment, with around 75 per cent of the Millennium mine operating workforce coming from Central Queensland.

“Our partners and contractors share our values of making a positive difference in the communities where we operate. We are focused on safety, economic growth, sustainability and maximising employment from around Moranbah and Central Queensland,” he said.

Image: MetRes chair Matt Latimore(second from left) with with Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation chair Luarna Walsh, Isaac mayor Anne Baker and State Resources Minister Scott Stewart at the official opening of the resurrected Millennium coal mine.

A surge in imports of motor vehicles and containerised goods helped boost Port of Townsville profits for the past financial year.

This was despite a drop in mineral concentrate imports, with refineries sourcing larger volumes from mines in the region instead of overseas, Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said.

In 2020-21, the Port of Townsville delivered an operating result of $14.3 million, up 3.3 per cent on the previous year, despite the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. 

While overall trade dropped to 7.7 million tonnes compared to 8.2 million tonnes the previous year, containerised trade rose 17 per cent and motor vehicle imports increased 34 per cent.

The port also recorded increased trade in exports of fertiliser and refined metals and imports of cement, fertiliser and petroleum products.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ms Crosby said the result was a positive one as the global landscape continued to be redefined by uncertainty.

“As the world changes, we have maintained a strong focus on keeping vital trade moving to support the people and the economy of North Queensland,” Ms Crosby said.

“An overall decline in trade was driven by changes in mineral concentrates supply chains, with refineries sourcing larger volumes from mines in the region instead of overseas.

“This highlighted the strength of the North West Minerals Province to service refineries in our region.

“We welcomed strong growth in containerised and motor vehicle imports, and North Queensland’s resilience in such times demonstrates how vital it is that we continue to facilitate trade for the diverse range of industries. 

“On top of that our continuing capital works program will guarantee our region’s growth for the years to come.”

Port of Townsville investments throughout 2020-21 included:

  • Continuation of the largest infrastructure project in the port’s history, the $232 million Channel Upgrade project. Construction of the 2.2km rock wall and 62ha reclamation area is now complete and capital dredging is due to begin in late 2021.
  • Completion of the $30 million Berth 4 Ship-to-Shore Crane and Cargo Area to grow container and general cargo trade in the region.
  • Completion of a $4.5m truck staging area to reduce congestion and improve safety and efficiency of truck movements.
  • Commissioning the new $3.3 million custom-built pilot vessel, Mantaray.
  • Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Origin Energy to export hydrogen to Asia, and advanced investigations with a number of other proponents including Ark Energy and Edify Energy to develop clean energy projects that could drive significant economic growth for the region.

The 2020-21 financial year also saw the release of Port Vision 2050, a strategic roadmap for the next 30 years.

“We took some big strides toward achieving Port Vision 2050 in its first six months including the launch of a $50,000 Port Community Fund through which we were proud to support 17 community initiatives by charities, not-for-profits and community groups,” Ms Crosby said.

“Other commitments under Post Vision 2050 are well underway including our efforts to become carbon neutral for port operations by 2025, planting one million additional native trees by 2050 and delivery of the $1.6 billion Port Expansion Project by 2050.”

Genex Power will use Tesla’s Megapack lithium-ion battery technology to develop its Bouldercombe battery project at Rockhampton after executing a supply agreement with Tesla Motors Australia.

Genex says the deal represents a major milestone for the project and will support the sompany in rapidly progressing it to financial close.

The 50MW/100MWh battery at Bouldercombe will comprise 40 Megapacks and is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2023.

“Genex is pleased to have executed the supply agreement with Tesla for the Bouldercombe Battery Project,” Genex chief executive officer James Harding said.

“This is a key milestone in the project’s development and one the company has been working towards since Tesla’s appointment as the preferred supplier and integrator in 2020.

“The project is Genex’s first large-scale Battery Energy Storage System and is part of our Como strategy to broaden our footprint in energy storage.”

The Bouldercombe Battery Project is to be constructed adjacent to Powerlink’s Bouldercombe substation, having received development approval from Rockhampton Regional Council in May 2021.

Mr Harding said negotiations with Powerlink on the connection terms were well advanced, and Genex expected to receive an Offer to Connect within the next couple of months.

This should enable it to proceed to financial close by early 2022, he said.

“The development of our battery storage strategy in conjunction with our pumped hydro project and operating solar energy assets further positions Genex as the leading Australian renewable energy and storage company,” Mr Harding said.