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News

Genex Power has revealed plans for a big battery project in Central Queensland, with construction planned to begin next year.

The 50MW/75MWh Como battery storage project will be built near Rockhamption and is expected to cost around $50 million to bring online.

Genex Power is also continuing to advance its Kidston pumped hydro project south-west of Cairns, with an expected cost of $700 million.

“This battery project is very consistent with our strategy of being Australia’s leading renewable energy company and energy storage company, across technologies,” executive director Simon Kidston said.

“We’ll have pump storage hydro, we’ll have batteries on the storage side. On the generation side we’ll have wind and solar and also pump storage hydro. It’s a very exciting time actually delivering these projects into the grid.”

Mr Kidston said the company had identified a Rockhampton site for the lithium ion battery project adjacent to a Powerlink substation.

“Where we are with that project is we’re in the market at the moment getting pricing from suppliers and, in parallel with that, doing the connection process and permitting,” he said.

“We’ll look to get that project financed and in construction next year with the intention of having it operating by the end of next calendar year.”

Genex Power already operates a 50MW solar farm at Kidston, where it plans to use two mining voids from a former gold operation for its 250MW pumped storage hydro project.

A 150MW wind project and a solar farm expansion up to 270MW are also proposed for that site.

And construction is underway on Genex Power’s 50MW Jemalong solar farm near Forbes in New South Wales.

The Como big battery project would operate on an arbitage/FCAS (Frequency Control Ancillary Services) revenue model – charging from the grid at off-peak times and discharging at other times, such as during the evening peak.

The plan was unveiled in a presentation to investors yesterday, along with news that Genex Power had signed a new $25 million agreement with J-Power to help finance the Kidston hydro project.

Genex chief executive officer James Harding said the signing of the agreement helped cement the company’s relationship with J-Power as a long-term partner to finance and provide technical assistance for the construction of the project.

“The investment by J-Power secures the funding required for Genex’s equity component of the project,” Mr Harding said.

“The balance of the equity funding is to be secured via the project equity investor process, which is in the final stages as we continue to finalise the project financing arrangements with all our stakeholders.

“We will continue to keep the market informed of developments as we progress toward financial close, which is targeted for September 2020.”



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Kroymans Developments has plans afoot for a major masterplanned residential development in the Mount Peter area outside Cairns.

Property Shop Cairns sales and marketing director Ben Johnston says the developer will be putting the project out to tender, looking to employ a local civil construction company, as soon as council approvals come through.

Pinecrest will include more than 800 residential lots, more than 9ha of space earmarked for potential aged care development and a number of medium density sites for uses such as child care.

“We have Frederik Kroymans, an experienced developer looking at creating probably one of the biggest masterplanned communities to be developed in Cairns,” Mr Johnston said.

The first stage of the development would involve 45 lots. Applications have been lodged with the Cairns Regional Council and the developer is expecting news by the end of the month .

Mr Johnston said Pinecrest would feature larger than usual lot sizes, with a diversity of lots across the masterplan.

The project, spanning more than 100ha, is expected to be rolled out over eight to 10 years, with an overall value of more than $500 million.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said he was very pleased to see the confidence Frederik Kroymans was showing in developing the southern corridor of Cairns with the Pinecrest subdivision at Mount Peter.

“However I am concerned that lack of capacity in terms of water and sewerage infrastructure at Mount Peter and Gordonvale may hamper development that will produce much-needed housing construction jobs,” he said.

Mr Pitt said he had written to State Development Minister Kate Jones to ask that the region’s share of the recently announced $200 million Building Acceleration Fund be used to support Cairns Regional Council to enable the necessary trunk infrastructure to support these developments.

“This is important to help our recovery from COVID-19 and to allow homebuyers to take advantage of federal and state housing support packages,” he said.

He said expected population growth in the southern corridor was already supported by the $481 million Bruce Highway duplication between Edmonton and Gordonvale, which has just commenced, as well as the Cairns South State Development area which will support industrial growth south of Edmonton.

“The Queensland Government’s previous Catalyst Infrastructure Program helped support councils and private proponents to build roads, water, sewerage and other infrastructure, including MacKillop Catholic College, Mount Peter and Kenfrost Homes’ Mount Peter Estate.”



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RMS Engineering and Construction has won the contract to build a $4.5 million truck staging area at Port of Townsville.

The project, which will cater for up to 20 triple road trains when completed, is due to commence this week and is expected to be completed in early 2021.

RMS also recently completed civil construction work for the port’s Berth 4 cargo terminal, which involved excavation and removal of a range of materials from site, erosion and sediment control, drainage works, earthworks and pavements.

RMS managing director Richard McDonald said that the truck staging project would support the company’s growth in Northern Australia.

“This project will see around 16 people full time employed and many part-time trades,’’ he said.

“The multi-lane truck staging area project involves construction of approximately 13,000sq m of asphalt pavement for staging of road trains and other trucks prior to entry to the port.

“Included in the scope is an upgrade to existing stormwater culverts and pits, electrical work and landscaping and revegetation works. We are very proud to be involved.’’

Townsville Port general manager of infrastructure and environment, Marissa Wise said the facility would reduce congestion and improve safety within the port and along port access roads, while improving the efficiency of cargo handling and freight operations. 

“The facility will also include amenities and an outdoor rest area for truck drivers. Only port-authorised trucks will be allowed to access the facility, which will have surveillance cameras monitored by port security,’’ she said.

IMAGE: An artist's impression of the planned development at Port of Townsville.



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The new $7 million Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence has officially opened its doors to students and industry.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said the one-of-a-kind facility in Queensland featured an Underground Simulator Mining Facility, control room, workshop, laboratory, and classrooms.

“This is about creating jobs and ensuring locals have the training they need to fill them,” Ms Jones said.

“The government has a clear strategy to rebuild Queensland’s economy and save jobs. Projects like this are vital to that strategy.”

Assistant Minister for Treasury and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the coal mine simulator spanned more than 6800sq m and replicated the physical conditions of working underground.

“The centre will provide safer and more accelerated training options for students and apprentices, and support companies developing new products and researching the field,” she said.

“It’s infrastructure like that will attract more private sector investment and create new jobs.”

The centre will be run by the Resource Industry Network.

BMA asset president James Palmer said BMA was proud to support the Resources Centre of Excellence.

“It is a world-class facility that will drive innovation in the mining and METS sector across the entire region,” said Mr Palmer.

“The collaborative nature of the RCOE will mean that the brightest minds can connect with this experience to drive innovation and growth, critically as we all turn our attention to Queensland’s economic recovery.”

“We want to see people have the best skills and training in the world and we want them to be proud to say it all started for them in regional Queensland.”


IMAGE: RIN chairman David Hartigan and acting general manager Mark Walter at the opening of the Resources Centre of Excellence with Innovation Minister Kate Jones and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert.



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Work has kicked off on a $6 million upgrade on the Mount Isa Rail line, bolstering flood resilience on the critical freight route between the North West Minerals Province and Port of Townsville.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said also that $20 million had been accessed from the State Government’s $80 million, four-year incentive scheme, encouraging freight operators and the resource industry to use the rail line.

The $6 million upgrade will take place along roughly 320km of the line, starting just west of Hughenden and continuing right through to near Cloncurry.

The works include bridge abutment and scour repairs in nearby drains and creeks, stonework including gabion flood protection to embankments, and further drainage and cleaning works as required.

About 10 workers from each of three regional Queensland businesses – Morton’s Earthmoving, Townsville Earthmoving and Schwartz Excavations – will be involved in the project.

Work is expected to take place along the line until October, and follows major repairs last year to the line, which saw a 400-strong Queensland Rail taskforce rebuild the line following unprecedented monsoonal weather.

Mr Bailey said in addition to investing in more resilient rail infrastructure, the Palaszczuk Government was also encouraging more freight line usage through its incentive scheme.

“Since we introduced the scheme, more than four billion gross tonne kilometres of eligible freight has moved along line to the Port of Townsville,” he said.

“This is an increase of more than one million in tonnage from the year prior to the scheme being introduced.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the incentive scheme would help exports at a time when the State needed them the most.

“QRC’s own recovery strategy pointed to the Mount Isa rail line as a key economic corridor for regional jobs and contributor to the billions of dollars in royalty taxes paid to government from our resource exports,” Mr Macfarlane said.



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Drilling is underway at the Camel Creek gold project, 200km west of Townsville, for the first time since 2006.

Great Northern Minerals has announced the start of its maiden drilling campaign at the site – the largest system of its three North Queensland gold projects based on historical workings.

Eagle Drilling NQ is carrying out the work, which will include 15 holes for about 2180m and comes as gold prices hit highs above $US1900 an ounce.

Camel Creek is part of the Golden Ant group of projects Great Northern Minerals acquired in August 2019, which also includes the former Big Rush and Golden Cup gold mines.

At Camel Creek a total of 28 pits were mined over a 4km strike length, with more than one million tonnes of ore extracted for treatment by the heap leach process.

Ore below the pit was sulphide bearing and could not be recovered through that process. Great Northern says most pits were shallow (12-25m deep) when terminated.

Great Northern said the current drill campaign was designed to follow up on drill intersections recorded from old pit floors including 12m at 8.4g/t gold, 22m at 2.94 g/t gold and 9m at 10.4g/t gold.



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