Jobs to flow with $1.4b mine on fast track
HUNDREDS of jobs are expected to flow in North Queensland, with the State Government moving to streamline approvals for a $1.4 billion ore mine.
Australian Mines Limited's Sconi project, west of Townsville, will today be granted ''prescribed project status,'' in a bid to get it off the ground faster.
Construction is anticipated to start this year, with the mine to produce nickel, cobalt and scandium for use in battery manufacturing, electric vehicles and similar high-technology applications for export markets.
The listed company is also promising to spend $500,000 each year on training and skills development for workers, with a particular focus on youth and indigenous programs.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project was expected to create 500 jobs during its two-year construction phase.
"And we'll see more than 300 full-time equivalent jobs for the 18-year operational period," she said.
"I met with the proponents of this project during the trade mission to South Korea last year and I'm pleased this project is progressing because it means jobs for North Queensland."
Having ''prescribed project status'' means the Co-ordinator-General can stream-line approvals and fast-track delivery, if necessary, to ensure decisions are made in a timely manner.
Two million tonnes of ore a year will be processed at the Greenvale site (about 250km west of Townsville), producing an estimated annual average of 8500 tonnes of cobalt, 53,500 tonnes of nickel sulfate and 77 tonnes of scandium oxide, for at least 18 years.
AML managing director Ben Bell welcomed the Government declaration.
"With at least 80 per cent of the workforce for the project anticipated to be employed from the local region and almost $1 billion of the project's total capex expected to be spent with Australian businesses - with a preference for Queensland companies - Australian Mines Limited is committed to ensuring local communities and businesses continue to benefit from the development and ongoing operation of the Sconi Project," he said.
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said some upgrades to local infrastructure would also be undertaken by AML.
"This will help improve water supply, regional public roads and the Greenvale regional airport, while an accommodation village and 24/7 medical facility will also be constructed," Mr Dick said.
"There's over $1 billion of capital expenditure proposed, and Queensland companies will be prioritised for this work, for which AML should be commended."
The company has purchased 5ha of land within 10km of the proposed mine site and is looking to obtain finance by March.
It also has plans to open a regional office in one of three locations - either Townsville, Charters Towers or Greenvale.