Coal gasification plant declared “coordinated project”

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A $1 billion Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project is expected to deliver up to 1000 jobs in the region if approved, as well as being the first coal gasification project used to produce ammonia in the state.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, said Australian Future Energy’s (AFE) project, located in the Gladstone State Development Area (SDA), now requires an environmental impact statement to be prepared.

“If approved, this project will make a significant contribution to the regional economy, requiring a peak workforce of 800 jobs during the two-year construction period and up to 200 full-time equivalent jobs for the 30-year operational period,” Mr Dick said.

“In an Australian first, Brisbane-based AFE proposes to convert 1.5 million tonnes per annum of coal to produce up to 330,000 tonnes of ammonia per annum, six to eight petajoules of synthetic natural gas per annum and up to 96MW of electrical power generated from waste gas and heat.

“This ammonia and synthetic natural gas will then be used by major industrial users, including those focusing on agriculture, the mining industry and advanced manufacturing.”

Ammonia is used to make a range of products used in agricultural and mining industries, like ammonium nitrate as an explosive in mining and nitrogen based fertilisers in agriculture.

“While ammonia is produced elsewhere in Australia, this is the first time that the proposed coal gasification technology will be used to produce ammonia in Queensland,” Mr Dick said.

“The project also proposes to use coal sourced from existing regional mines located close to Gladstone, further strengthening regional employment and job security.”

Mr Dick said the Coordinator-General’s decision to declare this project a coordinated project will help streamline approvals and fast-track delivery of this significant project.

A coordinated project approach also means that all the potential impacts and benefits of the project are considered in an integrated and comprehensive manner.

Member for Gladstone, Glenn Butcher, said “Locating this proposed project within the Gladstone SDA will support our region’s growing manufacturing industry, make a fundamental contribution to the local economy and provide numerous flow-on employment and economic benefits for our community.

“The proponent has estimated that 1,280 indirect jobs would be created during the operational phase, generating significant additional jobs for regional suppliers and contractors as well as increased employment opportunities for local communities.

“Manufacturing in Queensland is thriving thanks to our government’s commitment to building this sector, so initiatives which convert coal into resources which support this growing industry, along with agriculture and mining, are the types of projects we want our region to host now and into the future.

“To have an Australian-first project of this scale proposed to happen right here in our backyard also sends a strong signal that Gladstone is open for business and ready to embrace innovative energy initiatives which tap into our resource-rich region.

“The Gladstone SDA supports economic development in a way that considers environmental, cultural and social issues as well as existing industry and surrounding infrastructure within the region, and it makes Gladstone an attractive destination for new and existing business and industry looking to expand and invest.”

A key advantage of an SDA is that industries cluster together and promote economic development and growth by taking advantage of good transport facilities, such as major road and rail networks.

The next step in the project is preparation of draft terms of reference by the Coordinator-General, who will then invite community comment on the matters that must be addressed in the EIS.

The project is estimated to commence construction mid-2020, with the first ammonia production proposed in mid-2022.

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