Hundreds of construction jobs are on the horizon as the Queensland government declares the $1.4 billion Sconi project as a prescribed project.
An accommodation village and 24/7 medical facility will be constructed for the project with improvements made to the water supply, regional public roads and the regional airport.
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.
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.
Declaring a project 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.
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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 there is more than a billion dollars or capital expenditure proposed, with Queensland companies prioritised for the work.
“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,” he said.
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.