The Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) has approved a $71 million loan to help a fertiliser company in north Queensland grow its exports and create jobs.
Agripower Australia will use the funding to upgrade infrastructure and improve access to its mine site near Greenvale, along with its processing plant in Charters Towers.
Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt said the expansion is forecast to support around 345 jobs during construction and 171 ongoing jobs when completed.
“Agripower produces a range of natural silicon fertilisers for agriculture and horticulture use, and believes its mine could remain productive for 200 years,” he said.
“That means the project has the potential to generate real jobs and opportunities for generations to come, while injecting much-needed income into north Queensland as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said the expansion includes a multi-user rail line, water pipeline and sealing of a public road to help improve access to Agripower’s facilities.
“The Agripower expansion projects will deliver jobs to north Queensland and is forecast to inject around $256 million into the region’s economy over 20 years,” Landry said.
“Significantly, the investment decision means NAIF has now offered around $1 billion in funding to 10 projects in Queensland’s north, ensuring northern Queensland remains a great place to live, work and invest.”
Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald said new rules making it easier for NAIF to grant loans would result in similar job creation and economic benefits across the North.
“Anyone looking to invest in Northern Australia will take heart from Agripower’s example and I expect to see a surge in business activity powered by NAIF, especially after the new NAIF guidelines are passed by Parliament,” she said.
“This sends the message that NAIF is helping make North Queensland an exciting place to live and work, to raise families and do business.
“The region’s proximity to Southeast Asia and easy port access at Townsville should be a magnet for more businesses to make use of NAIF’s finance.”