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News

An official sod-turning has got the balling rolling on the $24.2 million stage one redevelopment of Mackay’s Harrup Park sporting complex.

The Great Barrier Reef Arena development is expected to support 80 jobs during construction and cement the city’s place as a national destination for AFL and cricket.

Stage one of the project starting now is jointly funded by the State Government ($10 million), Australian Government ($10 million) and Mackay Cricket Association ($4.2 million).

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the project would deliver a new covered grandstand, facilities for elite players, match officials and broadcast TV crews, plus room for an extra 10,000 spectators.

“Mackay’s Great Barrier Reef Arena precinct development includes the North Stand – a two-level grandstand with nearly 2000 undercover seats,” she said.

“With six sporting ovals, broadcast quality lighting, change rooms, and function facilities, Harrup Park is primed for a game-changing development.

“These works, in partnership with the Australian Government and Mackay Cricket Association, will create an international standard sporting venue capable of hosting major national and international games and carnivals.

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“The venue has just wrapped up three hugely successful women’s One Day Internationals between Australia and India, so imagine what we can do once the redevelopment is complete.”

Ms Gilbert said completion of stage one was expected late next year and would also include new food outlets, toilets and change rooms, and a community events precinct.

“This will also be a fantastic venue for major sporting events, community cultural events, gatherings and concerts for use all year round,” Ms Gilbert said.

Stage two of the Great Barrier Reef Arena development is in planning and is expected to include a gym, community sport training facilities, room for regional sport programs and high-performance training capacity, which will be an asset in the leadup to the Brisbane 2032 Games.   
Queensland Pacific Metals’ planned Townsville battery materials plant has won prescribed project status, as the company looks to begin construction as soon as 2022.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the proposed Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) had the potential to provide a massive boost to Townsville and regional industry.

“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,” he said.

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

QPM plans to process 1.5 million tonnes of ore annually at TECH to produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate and high-purity alumina- all in demand in the emerging electric-vehicle battery manufacturing market.

It announced last month that it had moved to due diligence phase in a bid to attract Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility funding for the project, which would be based at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct on Townsville’s outskirts.

Battery maker LG Energy Solution and Korean steel producer POSCO are backing the project to the tune of more than $19 million ($US15 million).

They have entered into a binding agreement for equity investment in Queensland Pacific Metals, as well as binding offtake agreements for 10,000 tonnes contained nickel and 1000 tonnes contained cobalt from the project.

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Vitrinite is ramping up to full-scale production at the Vulcan coking coal project in the Bowen Basin after its mining lease was granted last week.

Director Nicholas Williams said the company expected to start exporting premium low-volatility (PLV) hard coking coal from next month.

“Mining commenced in June 2021 under our MDL (mineral development licence) approvals. Since then we have co-shipped small amounts of coal into Korean and Japanese markets,” Mr Williams said.

“Our ML was granted this week, so production is now ramping up to full scale rate of up to 2mtpa.”

State Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the $160 million mine was the first mining operation for Vitrinite and showed ongoing investor confidence in Queensland’s world-class resources, infrastructure and skilled workforce.

“Queensland’s resources industry has been integral to our economic recovery, operating through the pandemic and now supporting a sector record 85,000 jobs in our state,” he said.

The Vulcan project, which sits between Moranbah and Dysart, already has a workforce of about 80, and this will increase to 150 in full-scale production.

The mining lease approval was welcomed by the Queensland Resources Council, which said it not only paved the way for 150 full-time jobs, but for $170 million in royalties to the State Government over the next four years, and even more money through taxes and spending.

Vitrinite has contracted Turners Engineering to conduct mining operations at Vulcan and Kalari for haulage.

Mr Williams said Vitrinite had awarded its drill and blast contract to a new player in the field, Blackrock Drilling, founded and operated by highly experienced local people who had recently gone out on their own.

“We also have long-standing arrangements with Metserve for all of our environmental assessments and approvals and we are finalising tender appraisals for a major road relocation project, which is critical for the continuity of production at the Jupiter Pit,” he said.

The mining lease for the Jupiter Pit paves the way for the first four to five years of open-cut mining at the 2mtpa rate.

Plans are in place for a continuation of open-cut mining after Jupiter at the Vulcan South pits for a further eight years at the same production rate.

“In parallel, we are advancing plans for contour-based highwall mining, producing up to 3mtpa. Highwall mining is currently planned to commence in parallel with open-cut mining at the Vulcan South pits, increasing ROM production to 5mtpa,” Mr Williams said.    


Full steam ahead for new Vulcan coal mine
Greenvale Mining is looking to include a ‘green’ power station as part of its Alpha torbanite project in Queensland.

The company flagged the plans as part of an update on the commercialisation pathway it is developing for the project, which is expected to cost $125million to $200 million to bring online.

And it said it was on track to deliver a maiden JORC mineral resource by late 2021 to underpin the project feasibility study and ore reserve estimate, targeted for completion in the first quarter of 2022.

The updated commercialisation strategy incorporates a “green” power generation model, with Alpha aiming to become a long-term provider of power into the local power grid from a 100MW solar and gas-fired hybrid power station.

Greenvale Mining aims for a useful life of more than 30 years for the hybrid plant, providing an additional source of revenue and helping the Alpha project become carbon neutral.

Current planning is based on having a 50MW turbine, which would produce enough waste heat for the Alpha retorting process.

This would be coupled with a 50MW solar farm (or alternative renewable energy system), which would offset all carbon emissions over the life of the project.

The company said sighter testing had confirmed that the Alpha material was high yielding, with the site’s torbanite yielding up to 65 per cent synthetic hydrocarbons and the cannel coal yielding around 42 per cent synthetic hydrocarbons.

“Our commercialisation strategy for the unique Alpha torbanite deposit is rapidly taking shape, supported by the successful Retort Testing Program – now in its final stages,” Greenvale managing director Neil Biddle said.

“Importantly, sighter testing has confirmed historical data which indicates that the Alpha material is high yielding and shows that the deposit can produce a range of high value products with excellent commercialisation potential.

“These include industrial carbon products, bitumen products, liquid fuels, electricity and sulphuric acid.”

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Bowen Rail Company has celebrated the arrival of its first locomotives through the Port of Townsville, as the business ramps up to start transporting coal for the Carmichael mine.

The company said its fleet of locomotives, from Caterpillar’s Progress Rail business in the USA, were the most technologically advanced freight locomotives Australia had seen.

It has taken delivery of three locomotives in this batch of arrivals, building towards an initial Bowen Rail Company fleet of 360 wagons and 10 locomotives.

NSS were the appointed stevedores for these locomotives and safely arranged the smooth discharge of the units from the vessel.

“The locomotives boast new safety technology which improves braking and ease of operating, providing a safer environment for our train crew,” Bowen Rail Company chief executive officer Trista Brohier said.

“They have highly intelligent IT systems that enable us to operate the trains and track their movements from anywhere in the country and they are also more fuel efficient, using 10 per cent less fuel than the existing diesel trains in Australia.”

The arrival of the locomotives comes as Bowen company Hillery Group continues work on a rail yard construction project, expected to create more than 100 jobs.

Recruitment is underway for train drivers and other roles including supervisors, maintenance planners, trainees and corporate positions which will see more than 50 new people employed for Bowen Rail Company throughout this initial phase.

“Despite the cutting-edge technology of our fleet, all our trains will have drivers. We will provide real jobs for real people,” Ms Brohier said.

“We’re proud that our business is headquartered in Bowen, delivering long-term economic benefits for the region, while also enabling us to draw on the highly-skilled rail and resources sector expertise that resides across the Whitsundays.”

Locos unloaded for Carmichael coal fleet


New estimates show EQ Resources is sitting on a $3 billion critical minerals resource at Far North Queensland’s Mount Carbine tungsten mine.

The company has released an updated resource statement for the project as it prepares to start mining at the site, in addition to its ongoing operations to extract tungsten from the historical mining operation’s low-grade stockpiles.

Remodelling of the resource for the ongoing Bankable Feasibility Study resulted in significantly higher-grade ore blocks, tightening the tonnages required to be mined.

The revised in-situ hard-rock resource stands at 9.21 million tonnes at 0.63 per cent tungsten oxide.

When combined with the 12 million tonne stockpiles grading at 0.075 per cent tungsten oxide, this takes the total metal contained to about 6.7 million mtu (metric ton unit, equal 10 kg).

In today’s APT price environment of US$310/mtu this represents a metal value in excess of US$2.1 billion, or about $2.9 billion in Australian dollars.

The company says it is committed to a path to commence mining in the short term and benefit from high tungsten prices and high-grade mineralisation at Mount Carbine.

“We are delighted that the results of the diamond drilling program has changed the way we are looking at mining at Mount Carbine,” chief executive officer Kevin MacNeill said.

“At the time we said it would be a game changer and that has turned out to be the case. What we are trying to do here is mine a lot smarter and greatly reduce barren rock reporting to the gravity plant.”

The bulk of the indicated resources at Mount Carbine are located immediately beneath the Andy White pit floor at the old mine.

EQ Resources said these resources were well placed to be reached by a pit expansion, especially as much of the high-grade mineralisation sat along the lower strip side of the old pit.

“We are pleased that we now have a clear picture of where the high grade tungsten lenses are located for our mine planning,” Mr MacNeill said.

“This indicated resource at 0.74 per cent WO3 has five times the historical bulk grade of 0.14 per cent WO3, meaning much better economics.

“Very few tungsten mines achieve such high mineable grades. With these high grades we anticipate most of the indicated resources will make their way into reserves.”

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