Townsville Hub to supply critical minerals for global technology

The Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) Project, spearheaded by ASX listed Queensland Pacific Metals is a pioneering initiative.

The Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) Project, spearheaded by ASX listed Queensland Pacific Metals is a pioneering initiative aimed at establishing a sustainable and high-purity critical minerals refinery in the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct of Townsville City Council.

This innovative project is set to import high-grade ore from New Caledonia for processing in Townsville, utilising a groundbreaking circular manufacturing process. This process is unique in its use of captured waste mine gas to drive a significant net reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and is designed to have zero process liquid discharges, no tailings waste with all material converted into value-added products.

Central to the TECH Project’s mission is the production of critical minerals that are vital for the global technology sector, especially in areas focusing on emissions reduction, advanced manufacturing, and defence. The primary products of the TECH plant include nickel sulfate and cobalt sulfate, essential for lithium-ion batteries, and high-purity alumina, used in LEDs, microchips, and sapphire glass.

In addition to these key products, the TECH Project will also generate valuable co-products. These include hematite pellets for steel production; various fertilisers and soil conditioners like ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, gypsum, and magnesia; zinc sulfate; and engineered fill to support the local construction industry, offering an eco-friendly alternative to quarried materials.

At the heart of the TECH Project’s processing capabilities is the proprietary Direct Nickel Process (DNi ProcessTM), a patented nickel processing technology developed in Australia in collaboration with CSIRO. Owned by the Altilium Group, Queensland Pacific Metals has secured the rights to use the DNi ProcessTM. Through Australian research and development efforts, significant enhancements have been made to this technology over the last three years, paving the way for its commercialisation and the advancement of the TECH project.

Stephen Grocott, managing director and CEO of Queensland Pacific Metals, stated, “The TECH Project is a testament to our commitment to pioneering a sustainable future in the critical minerals industry. By harnessing groundbreaking technologies and forming strategic alliances, we are not only enhancing Australia’s position in the global technology sector but also contributing significantly to the local economy in Townsville and beyond.”

The TECH project provides significant strategic benefits for the company by creating key partnerships in the Pacific. QPM has secured binding ore supply agreements with four significant mining companies in New Caledonia, for up to 2.1 million wet metric tonnes of nickel laterite ore per annum for QPM.

Further to this, The TECH Project will deliver a major boost to the Townsville and north Queensland economy with benefits extending throughout Queensland and Australia.

The benefits to Townsville of Stage 1 of the TECH Project include:

●  578 FTE Jobs per year benefit over a three-year construction program

●  $1B Increase in annual economic output

●  30 per cent increase in local manufacturing activity

●  335 FTE Directly employed in high-skill positions in Townsville (80 per cent processing employees)

●  Investment in new infrastructure will incentivise the development of other industrial opportunities.

QPM stands at the forefront of addressing the critical gap in the global supply chain for green metals. Current supply chains are struggling to meet the soaring demand for these essential materials, often marred by poor Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) credentials. QPM is poised to revolutionise the critical mineral processing industry by delivering low-cost, world-first environmentally sustainable products.

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