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News

M Mining produced its first metallurgical coal from the Mavis Downs pit in Central Queensland over the weekend as prices for the commodity soared to new heights.

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.

“Since commencing operations in August with an innovative mine restart plan, this has been an important early production milestone for us,” M Mining owner and director Matt Latimore said.

“Achieving first coal so quickly is the result of a fantastic effort from our partners, suppliers, managers and workforce.”

First coal came the day after a new historic high of $US380/tonne for Australian hard coking coal.

The new owners of the Mavis Downs and Millennium site near Moranbah enlisted Coal Augering Services to kick off mining with auger production, to be followed by open-cut mining by the end of the year and underground mining in 2022.

Late last month M Mining awarded a $425 million contract to PIMS Group to provide the underground mining services.

The five-year contract is expected to spark up to 100 mine construction jobs and more than 125 direct full-­time mining jobs for the region.

“In the nine weeks since completion of the sale of Millennium mine, M Mining has established a strong operating team and issued $464 million in contracts for auger, auger support, open cut and underground,” Mr Latimore said

“Our work is underwriting the future growth of this operation, economic activity and local employment opportunities.

“Since announcing the acquisition of Millennium in April we have said that this will be a low-capital, fast-to-market asset, producing high-quality coal.”

Mr Latimore said the next key milestone for M Mining would be open-cut mining at Millennium by November this year.

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Renewable energy company Neoen has completed financial close for the $370 million Kaban Green Power Hub in Far North Queensland.

Civil works are already underway on the project after EPC contractor Vestas was provided with notice to proceed in May.

The project set to deliver more than 250 construction jobs and to generate 457 GWh of affordable clean energy each year from 2023.

It consists of a 157 MW wind farm located near Ravenshoe and a 320km transmission line upgrade of the North Queensland coastal circuit. 

The Kaban Green Power Hub was at the centre of a funding controversy in May when it emerged that Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt had vetoed a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan arrangemnet for the project.

Neon said today its project costs were being met by a syndicate of five lenders, BNP Paribas, HSBC, MUFG, NAB and NORD/LB.

The Queensland Government has committed funding towards the transmission network upgrade which will support the wind farm and establish the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

Neoen and Powerlink Queensland are partnering to upgrade the line between Cairns and Townsville, unlocking up to 500 MW of additional capacity for future projects.

“The Kaban Green Power Hub is pivotal to unlocking Queensland’s first Renewable Energy Zone,” Powerlink chief executive Paul Simshauser said.

“It forms part of $700 million worth of work Powerlink is delivering in North Queensland over the next five years.”

The project is underpinned by a 15-year capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with CleanCo, Queensland’s publicly owned clean energy company, for 100 per cent of the energy generated.

“The Kaban Green Power Hub project provides critical system strength support for North Queensland,” CleanCo Queensland chief executive officer Dr Maia Schweizer said.

“As an important part of CleanCo’s low emission generating portfolio, the renewable energy generated by this wind farm will allow us to offer affordable contracts to big energy users, translating to continued lower energy prices and increased competitiveness for Queensland businesses and communities.” 

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Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) is calling for tenders for construction of a new distribution hub at Cairns International Airport.

The State Government is supporting the development of the new Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) with an investment of up to $10 million.

“Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) is establishing a Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) in Cairns that will supercharge rapid airfreight access for agricultural producers, and aid Far North Queensland’s economic recovery,” Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said.

“We know that global appetites for Queensland’s world-class produce is growing, and this centre will make it much easier for our producers to export their produce faster and fresher.

“It will give Queensland producers easier access to export markets and that means more jobs for Queenslanders.”

The RTDC at Cairns International Airport will be the second export-focused centre of its kind, with the other at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport opened in late July.

AFHS managing director Barb Ford said the group was delighted for the project to now start becoming a reality.

“Our facility will feature state-of-the-art large cold and freezer rooms, and both temperature-controlled and ambient transit areas,” Ms Ford said.

“Advertising for local trades and sub-trades will start from Saturday 18 September, calling for local providers to get involved with this exciting project.”

Construction set to kick off on Cairns freight hub
Port of Mackay has recorded its biggest month of throughput ever, with more than 448,000 tonnes of cargo going through the port in August.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said it was the first time the port’s monthly trade figure had started with a ‘4’.

“Achieving a monthly output of 448,065 tonnes in August is a great result for the Mackay team, compared to 277,624 tonnes recorded in the same month last year,” she said.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said these trade volumes had provided a huge boost to the economy when it was needed most.

“Fuel throughput has been at record levels of the past two months, with the August figure of 173,479 tonnes well ahead of the comparative month last year (159,612 tonnes),” Mr Bailey said.

“Raw sugar exports set a new monthly record at 129,000 tonnes, outstripping last year’s August result of 101,895.

“Tonnages for other commodities were also up, including molasses and scrap metal. And for the first time in five years, August saw 44,00 tonnes of grain go through the port.”

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Mr Bailey said the state’s ports were preparing for the future, with two ground breaking agreements to export renewable energy recently signed off.

“In August we saw the Port of Hay Point, join Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure and international company ITOCHU in an agreement for hydrogen exports out of the Mackay facility.

“And now, the Port of Townsville and Ark Energy have signed an agreement to kickstart hydrogen production in the North.

“These transformative agreements will boost out economic development, create new jobs and substantially reduce our carbon emissions, backing Queensland exporters now and into the future.
A new business development grants program dedicated to Northern Australia will open to a strategic corridor across the north in early November.

Northern Australia Minister David Littleproud said the Northern Australia Development Program would offer  $111.9 million through two simultaneous grant streams for businesses to support their growth and diversification.

The first stream would target small to medium corporations with business expansion and diversification grants of between $50,000 and $2 million, Mr Littleproud said.

The second stream will offer corporations between $3 million and $10 million to establish a new industry or grow an existing industry.

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said this investment was needed to drive the development of diverse and profitable businesses and create jobs in Northern Australia.

“These grants will help businesses to fund new capital expenditure investments like the construction of infrastructure or assets, or to undertake business planning and feasibility studies,” Mr Entsch said.

“This grants program is another step towards levelling the playing field for businesses in the North.

“Growing existing, emerging, and new industries will also contribute to transformational change and make it a more attractive place to invest and do business.”

Grants will cover up to 50 per cent of an eligible project’s total cost.

The program is expected to open for applications in early November, with grants being awarded in February next year.

The eligibility guidelines will be released at the end of September.

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Multicom Resources plans to start construction of its $250 million Saint Elmo vanadium operation next year, paving the way for 250 mine jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Multicom was ‘first cab off the rank’ in an exciting new era for Queensland’s resources sector.

“Vanadium is a new economy mineral that will fuel Queensland’s future as a global resources supplier for decades to come,” she said.

“Vanadium is an important ingredient in the manufacture of specialty steel and will be used in large-scale renewable batteries around the world because it can be charged thousands of times without degrading.”

She said it also laid the foundation for a potential next-level industry in Queensland manufacturing vanadium redox flow batteries.

The Saint Elmo project, east of Julia Creek in North West Queensland, received Federal environmental approval in April.

Ms Palaszczuk, State Resources Minister Scott Stewart and Multicom Resources chief executive officer Shaun McCarthy today jointly announced the go-ahead for the mine.

Mr McCarthy said mine construction was planned to start in 2022, with first production forecast for late 2023.

Saint Elmo is initially forecast to produce up to 5000 tonnes per annum of vanadium pentoxide, supporting at least 150 mine jobs.

Production would ramp up to 20,000 tonnes per annum over time, bringing an additional 100 operational and 150 construction jobs, Mr McCarthy said.

With a mine life of up to 20 years , the project will involve shallow (20m-40m) open-cut strip mining with sequential mining, backfilling and rehabilitation of disturbed areas.

Ore processing will occur on site, with product exported through the Port of Townsville.
“We expect around three-quarters of the workforce to either live in Julia Creek or McKinlay Shire, or to travel from surrounding communities of Cloncurry, Richmond and Mount Isa,” Mr McCarthy said.  

“Multicom will also source our suppliers from the local region as much as possible and is well-supported by the well-established supply chain along the Townsville to Mount Isa corridor.”

The region is the epicentre of Queensland’s vanadium mining potential – with projects in the pipeline including QEM’s Julia Creek vanadium/oil shale project and Vecco Group’s Debella vanadium and HPA (high purity alumina) project.

Horizon Minerals and its Richmond-Julia Creek joint venture partner Richmond Vanadium Technology last month launmched a definitive feasibility study to mine the Lilyvale deposit.

Mr Stewart said the new Saint Elmo mine demonstrated the success of the Palaszczuk Government’s approach to enabling a prosperous resources sector.

“Consistent with our policy of fostering new economy minerals development, the Geological Survey of Queensland is constantly gathering data on the state’s mineral endowment,” Mr Stewart said.

“The Palaszczuk Government makes that pre-competitive data available to explorers free of charge to help de-risk their exploration activity.

“This data gives companies like Multicom the confidence they needed to support investment and a mining lease application.

“The Palaszczuk Government supports the sector with grants funding exploration activity, and vanadium has been a target of that.”




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