Eco-industrial precinct strides ahead with four new proponents signing on to Lansdown

Date published: 8 December 2021

The development of the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct is going from strength to strength, with four more companies signing on to establish themselves at the nation-leading precinct.

RTE Energy Pty Ltd, Origin Energy Future Fuels Pty Ltd, Solquartz Pty Ltd and North Queensland Gas Pipeline have been tentatively allocated space in the precinct following a tender process conducted by Townsville City Council.

The news comes after Council formally agreed to partner with the Queensland Government to deliver a $16 million suite of road and rail projects to enhance access to Lansdown and the Australian Government committed $12 million for enabling infrastructure.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the four companies signing on as proponents was another show of strength for the precinct following Edify Energy, Queensland Pacific Minerals and Imperium3 Townsville signing on previously.

“The confidence in Lansdown is clearly on display. We are now entering into the most exciting phase, with long-term proponents preparing to move into construction and new proponents from across Australia putting their hand up to also establish themselves at the precinct,” Cr Hill said.

“That RTE Energy, Origin Energy, Solquartz and North Queensland Gas Pipeline want to establish themselves at Lansdown for their environmentally-sustainable businesses is a tremendous vote of confidence for both the city and the precinct.

“These four companies will provide a significant boost to the local economy through the potential for sustainable high-value jobs for many Townsville residents. Our city has a wealth of workers who will be ready to take on this new challenge and do their part to support these projects right here in North Queensland.

“Council is building a circular economy in Townsville that advances business and moves towards zero waste and net-zero emissions. Embracing these clean energy businesses in Townsville will help us future-proof our city both environmentally and economically.”

RTE Energy proposes to deliver a world class, best practice photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility with low emission outcomes while manufacturing 100% recyclable products.

The project would be partially powered by solar panels to be constructed as a solar park. The project would support around 450 full-time equivalent direct and indirect jobs during its construction phase and around 825 jobs once operational.

Construction of the factory is forecast to commence in 2022, with construction of the solar farm starting in 2023. Manufacturing would start in 2023, with full production by March 2024.

Construction is expected to add around $59 million to Townsville’s gross regional product (GRP), while the total project budget is expected to add around $290 million.

Solquartz proposes to construct a multi-module silicon smelter, which will supply silicon to the solar PV and battery manufacturing industries.

The facility would produce 52,000 tonnes per annum of silicon metal and 9,100 tonnes of silica fume (powder).

The first phase of the smelter construction is forecast to start in 2023, with phase two to start in 2025.

Construction is forecast to support around 860 direct and indirect jobs, while operation of the smelter is expected to support around 240 jobs.

Construction is expected to add around $111 million to Townsville’s GRP, while the operational phase is expected to add around $94 million.

Origin Energy Future Fuels is proposing to develop a commercial-scale green hydrogen production facility within the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, enabling zero carbon fuels to be exported to Asia and Europe.

Subject to project feasibility, construction could start in 2026, with production in 2028.

Preliminary economic modelling indicates a project of this scale has the potential to support around 2,500 direct and indirect jobs during construction and add around $350 million to the Townsville’s GRP, with operations potentially supporting over 700 jobs and add around $270 million to GRP per annum.

North Queensland Gas Pipeline proposes to build and operate a gas let-down station that would connect to the adjacent North Queensland Gas Pipeline, accessing untapped gas resources to provide reliable, low-cost gas supply to put Townsville and the surrounding region at the centre of the transition to a low carbon economy over the long term.

Subject to financial investment decision, construction would start in January 2023, with operations to commence in August 2023.

Construction of the station is expected to support around 45 jobs and add around $7 million to Townsville’s GRP. As enabling infrastructure for the precinct, the station is expected to attract other proponents to the Precinct.

Planning and Development Committee chairperson Mark Molachino said Lansdown was going from strength to strength, with businesses tendering to come on board the precinct.

“Lansdown is on the way to becoming Northern Australia’s first environmentally sustainable advanced manufacturing precinct and that means environmental and economic benefits for our community,” Cr Molachino said.

“We have said from the start that Lansdown would provide a foundation for Townsville and North Queensland’s economic future, creating thousands of jobs and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with these proponents.

“The proposed projects would support close to 6,000 direct and indirect full time equivalent jobs and add a massive $1.2 billion to Townsville’s gross regional product.

“Council approved Edify Energy’s development application to build and operate up to a 1 GW green hydrogen production plant as well as a behind-the-meter solar photovoltaic and battery storage facility at the precinct in September.

“Days later, the Queensland Government declared Queensland Pacific Metals’ Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) project, also to be built at Lansdown, a prescribed project.

“Through this tender process, we are conditionally committing further land to these four companies, as they have shown their projects fit within our expected outcomes for the precinct.

“From this point, they will need to submit development applications and wait for approval in the same way Edify Energy did before commencing construction.”

Two men standing by a solar farm
Caption: Four companies have signed on to establish themselves at Lansdown. Picture: Roslyn Budd – Budd Photography