Date published: 15 September 2020
The new Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct is perfectly positioned to spur economic growth and job creation for Townsville and North Queensland for decades to come, business leaders say.
The precinct, around 40 kilometres south west of Townsville’s port, has been identified by all levels of government, including in the Townsville City Plan and NQ Regional Plan, as an ideal industrial estate and is currently the focus for strategic development by Townsville City Council.
It will become Northern Australia’s first environmentally sustainable, advanced manufacturing, processing and technology estate powered by locally-generated renewable energy, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the North Queensland economy.
TaskforceNQ is supporting Townsville City Council in its bid to attract $50 million in funding from the Queensland and Australian Governments to get the site investment-ready, and expediting the establishment by proponents.
The precinct has already attracted substantial private sector interest with over half of the developable land committed or conditionally committed to advanced battery manufacturing, clean energy, and battery minerals processing industries.
Three companies, Pure Minerals, Edify Energy and Imperium3 Townsville, have signed up to establish themselves at the precinct.
Pure Minerals plans to produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate from nickel-cobalt ore. It will also produce high-purity alumina, which is a by-product of the process.
Chief Executive Officer, Dr Stephen Grocott, said Townsville and the Lansdown precinct were ideal for the establishment of a high-tech refinery such as the QPM TECH plant.
“At Lansdown, we have access to an industrial site with easy access to the Port of Townsville through which we can connect to our suppliers and markets in Asia and the Pacific,” Dr Grocott said.
“There is also a skilled local labour force in Townsville, not only to carry out the TECH project construction but also to fill production roles.
“As a company focused on production of materials required for high technology industries, the other advantage of Lansdown is the opportunity to start from the ground up amongst other like-minded businesses using the latest green technologies.”
Edify Energy plans to build a renewable hydrogen electrolyser pilot plant at Lansdown, which will be able to provide hydrogen to other industry parties at the precinct and further reduce their carbon footprint.
Chief Executive Officer John Cole said the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct represented the future of Australian industry and energy.
“The precinct not only supports the use of natural mineral resources for advanced manufacturing and production, but also the use of renewable energy from the approved and co-located Majors Creek Solar Power Station to provide low-cost energy. This is an essential part of green hydrogen production and advanced manufacturing in Australia,” Mr Cole said.
“Existing infrastructure connecting Lansdown to the Port of Townsville makes the precinct an excellent location to lead the renaissance of exporting value-added Australian-made products to global markets.”
Imperium3 Townsville (iM3TSV) plans to develop an 18 GWh lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facility at Lansdown. iM3TSV recently announced that it was starting discussions with potential equity partners for the project.
Director Mitch Tolhurst said iM3TSV identified Townsville as being the most attractive location for its high-tech manufacturing plant.
“iM3 carefully considered strategic locations throughout Northern Australia for its high-tech manufacturing facility,” Mr Tolhurst said.
“Townsville possesses great access to material inputs and critical infrastructure, including an international port, and capable workforce that is required for our operations.
“It is critical that private and public enterprise work together to deliver this high-tech manufacturing hub, stimulating new industry and creating thousands of jobs for Townsville and the greater area.”
TaskforceNQ steering committee chairperson and Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill urged the Queensland and Australian governments to get behind the precinct’s establishment.
“Developing the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct has the potential to support 160 construction jobs, around 1600 ongoing jobs and more than 9100 indirect jobs,” Cr Hill said.
“Investing in the enabling infrastructure now would ensure we unlock the precinct’s full economic potential, which will benefit North Queensland for decades.
“With Australia entering a recession for the first time in 30 years and North Queensland fighting to recover from the COVID-19 global pandemic, this is an ideal project for governments to invest in.”
Townsville City Council is seeking a $50 million investment, which would deliver:
- intersection upgrades to provide road access to the precinct, which would also have positive safety outcomes for Woodstock residents;
- relocation of the rail infrastructure to maximise strategic opportunities for creation of a multi-user rail siding within the precinct providing a second method of transporting product to and from the site through to the Port of Townsville and the North West Minerals Provinces;
- provision of a raw water supply for proponents from the Haughton Pipeline Duplication Project located just 13km from the Precinct;
- creation of internal access roads that will immediately facilitate finalisation of the first stage of DriveIT NQ and enable operations for all early Precinct users to commence; and
- a precinct-wide gas microgrid that will support 24-hour industrial operations within the precinct, supplementing low-cost solar power feed for day-time uses.