Sunday 20th Oct, 2019

QLD Government streamlines approvals for $1.4B Sconi project

Two million tonnes of ore per year is expected to be processed at the Queensland Sconi Project, which has been declared a prescribed project.

Located in Greenvale in Northern Queensland, the Sconi project aims to produce nickel, cobalt, and scandium for use in battery manufacturing, electric vehicles and other high technology applications.

It estimates average annual production of 8,500 tonnes of cobalt, 53,500 tonnes of nickel sulphate and 77 tonnes of scandium oxide for at least 18 years.

Declaring a prescribed project helps to streamline approvals and enables the Coordinator-General to intervene in the approvals process to ensure timely decisions are made for the project.

The proponent, Australian Mines Limited (AUZ), has also set a mandate to invest $500,000 each year into the region for training and skills development for process workers, with youth and indigenous programs to feature.

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project would create up to 500 jobs during its two-year construction period, with more than 300 full-time equivalent jobs for the 18-year operational period.

“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,” she said.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said Australian Mines Limited will provide upgrades to the local Greenvale infrastructure.

“There’s over $1 billion of capital expenditure proposed, and Queensland companies will be prioritised for this work, which AUZ should be commended for,” he said.

“This prescribed project status will help streamline approvals and fast-track delivery for AUZ. This status is also recognition of the significant positive benefits the project will bring to North Queensland and our state as a whole.”

Australian Mines Limited Managing Director Ben Bell welcomed the prescribed project 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,” Bell said.

Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with Australian Mines Limited to open a regional office in either Townsville, Charters Towers or Greenvale.