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Bowen will become headquarters for an authority overseeing key northern water projects, creating new local jobs.

The Federal Government plans to relocate the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority (NQWIA) from Canberra to Bowen and expand the organisation.

The NQWIA was established in 2019 to provide strategic planning and coordination of Commonwealth resources to implement the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme and the Hells Gates Dam project, including Big Rocks Weir.
Key water authority to be based in Bowen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce (pictured right) said moving the NQWIA north would put it at the heart of the region it supports.

“This shift will see the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority strategically located adjacent to the proposed Urannah Dam, and the same region where we are building the Big Rocks Weir project and investigating a future Hells Gates Dam,” Mr Joyce said.

“North Queensland is also where we will start on the long-term nation-building task of expanding irrigated agriculture by moving a portion of the abundant resource of water west.

“The authority will become a bigger organisation, with the people and skills to realise the economic transformation of North Queensland.

“This expanded organisation will have the task of delivering my strategy of moving water from where it is plentiful, to open up new opportunities for agriculture in the west.

“This will of course require new dams and pipelines. It will be a major undertaking and will change our vision for the future of that region for decades to come.”

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen welcomed the NQWIA shift to Bowen.

“This move will create skilled, highly paid jobs in the region, encouraging new families to move to the region to support the local economy, including local businesses and service providers,” Mr Christensen said.

“This will stimulate flow-on jobs later down the track – making this a truly exciting time for North Queensland.”
Former Queensland Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has been appointed as director and chair of Gladstone Ports Corporation.
Lynham to head Gladstone port board

Current chair Peter Corones advised the Queensland Government that, after many years serving on the GPC board, he would not seek reappointment when his term expires at the end of September.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said Dr Lynham’s recent role overseeing Queensland’s resources industry would bring unmatched experience to GPC’s boardroom.

“Dr Lynham was not only a well-respected colleague and minister, he was also tenacious in improving working conditions and driving investment in our state’s resources industry,” Mr Bailey said.

“There is a natural connection between Queensland’s resources sector and Queensland’s major ports.

“Around one in four jobs in regional Queensland rely on trade.

“Our investment in publicly-owned ports has ensured they can continue to deliver growth in exports, like we’ve seen this year with record LNG exports through Gladstone’s port, and I have no doubt Dr Lynham will continue to drive GPC towards even greater success.”

Dr Lynham’s appointment as chair commences on 1 October.

New Century Resources expects to announce the outcome this month of studies into potential mining at Silver King and the East Fault Block at the Century zinc operation.

Latest assays from recent Silver King drilling include 6m grading at 24.3 per cent lead equivalent, with 20.7 per cent lead, 5.1 per cent zinc and 109g/t silver.

New Century said the company had taken the strategic decision to expand exploration activities on its tenements surrounding the Century operations.

Further exploration at Silver King and Watson’s Lode will now be accelerated.

New Century said it had secured the ongoing use of IP equipment and an exploration drilling rig, with drilling set to begin in late September 2021.

New Century sees strong potential for the near-term development of Silver King and East Fault Block into mining operations and the future development of other in-situ deposits including Watson’s Lode.

It said today results from the in-situ feasibility study for Silver King and East Fault Block were nearing finalisation and were expected to be announced in September, together with a maiden ore reserve for the Silver King and East Fault Block deposits.

The company also released a maiden resource for Watson’s Lode, located about 10km from the existing Century processing plant.

It stands at 1.74 million tonnes, grading at 7.7 per cent zinc, 2 per cent lead and 10g/t silver, with more than 2km of strike identified to date, open in all directions.

The company described Watson’s Lode as being very much like the existing Silver King deposit, with similar potential for open pit and underground operations.

Century mining study results imminent
Queensland’s electricity regulator has approved a transmission authority for the group developing the $1.7 billion CopperString 2.0 project.

CuString managing director Joseph O’Brien said the approval was a major project milestone and a huge achievement for a local Townsville business.

“This transmission authority authorises CuString to operate a transmission grid in Queensland, including the connection of the transmission grid to another transmission network, to mines, industrial facilities and power stations,’’ Mr O’Brien said.

“This backbone infrastructure will power North and North West Queensland’s staggering economic potential which is linked to electrification and decarbonisation of the world’s economy.

“The unstoppable energy transition underway across the globe plays right into the hands of North and North West Queensland because of our immense mineral and clean energy resources, and our existing capability to produce and export these commodities.”

The CopperString project consists of a 740km overhead high voltage electricity transmission line stretching from a new sub-station at Woodstock, south of Townsville, to the Chumvale sub-station, near Cloncurry.

Subject to demand, the project may extend west to Mount Isa, with spur lines south and north to mines and renewable energy facilities.

It is expected to create about 750 new full time jobs in construction alone.

Mr O’Brien the transmission authority, administered by the Department of Energy and Public Works under the Electricity Act, was not the final approval required for the project.

He said the CopperString team was continuing to work with State and Federal governments, major minerals businesses, clean energy projects, and the Northern Queensland community to prepare the project for construction.

The Eloise copper mine is set to change hands in a $27 million deal between AIC Mines and owner FMR Investments.

The underground mine, 60km south-east of Cloncurry, is producing at an annual rate of 11,500 tonnes of copper and 7000oz of gold in concentrate.

“This is a tremendous development for AIC,” managing director Aaron Colleran said:

“Our acquisition strategy has been to target late-stage Australian gold and copper projects where we can add value through exploration and development.

“We are confident that we can add significant value at Eloise as we ramp-up exploration and extend the mine life.

“Eloise is an excellent first acquisition for AIC as it provides immediate positive cashflow and entry into a prolific base-metals region that is ripe for consolidation.”

AIC intends to undertake an equity capital raising to raise a minimum of $30 million and up to $35 million to fund the transaction.

The deal involves a payment of $5 million in cash and $20 million in AIC shares payable on completion; and a contingent payment of $2 million in cash payable six months after completion if certain production milestones are achieved.

On completion, FMR will hold approximately 28-30 per cent of the issued capital of AIC.

The Eloise mine was commissioned in 1996 and has since mined approximately 12.5Mt of ore grading 2.8 per cent copper and 0.8g/t gold to produce 339,000t copper and 167,000oz gold in concentrate.

Processing is via conventional crushing, grinding and sulphide flotation with capacity to treat 750,000tpa.

Infrastructure included in the acquisition includes the copper concentrator, offices, warehouse, mobile plant, 220 room accommodation village for FIFO workforce, bore-field and diesel generators with 12MW total generating capacity.

AIC said the exploration potential of the Eloise tenement holding was one of the main features that attracted it to the acquisition.

It said exploration expenditure had been constrained over the past three to five years.

“AIC plans to reinvigorate the exploration effort at Eloise and is very confident that it will be able to increase the resource and reserve base,” the company stated.

Townsville City Council has approved the application for the first stage of the Hive development, opposite Reef HQ at 1 Flinders St in the central business district.

Planning and development committee chair Mark Molachino said the development would be a welcome addition to the eastern end of Flinders St.

“There’s no doubt that this end of Flinders St has been ready for development for some time and I am delighted that this project is coming to fruition,” Cr Molachino said.

“Council’s planning team have undertaken a thorough assessment of the application and given it the green light, subject to a number of conditions covering issues such as landscaping, car parking and footpath upgrades.”

The development comprises a five-storey building with floor area of 6,472sq m and incorporates a mixture of office space, retail and service industries. The main tenant will be the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

As part of the Hive development, a shared pedestrian and vehicular laneway will be constructed providing access from The Strand through to Flinders St.

Cr Molachino said council officers would continue to work with project proponents, the Gleeson Group, to enable construction to start as soon as possible.

“The development is another vote of confidence in our city and region’s future,” he said.

“Importantly, this project will also support jobs during the construction phase, which is great news for our local economy.”

Gleeson Group managing director Therese Smith said the company would tender for a building partner in the coming months and construction of 1 Flinders St was expected to begin in mid-2022.

Ms Smith said future stages may include a concert hall and convention centre, renovation of the State heritage listed Queen’s Hotel, a new hotel, tertiary education, marine and tropical science research, tourism facilities, residential apartments, medical and allied health facilities, commercial office space, an indigenous art gallery, performance space, open spaces, and provide a link from the Strand to the CBD.