Smelter a plum op­tion

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By TONY RAGGATT busi­ness ed­i­tor

CHAR­TERS Tow­ers has put its hand up for a lead smelter and re­fin­ery.

How­ever, it seemed yes­ter­day that any such de­vel­op­ments in the his­tor­i­cal gold min­ing town may be a long way off.

Char­ters Tow­ers Mayor Brian Bev­eridge con­firmed yes­ter­day the city was in­ves­ti­gat­ing de­vel­op­ment of a lead smelter and re­fin­ery.

He said Townsville had made it clear it did not want a lead smelter at any price and Char­ters Tow­ers, with cheap land, a po­ten­tial sup­ply of wa­ter from the Bur­dekin River and power from a coal-fired power sta­tion at Pent­land, could of­fer the ba­sics needed to sup­port a smelter.

‘‘There’s a pos­si­bil­ity of a re­fin­ery . . . (but) there are long lead times, they take a while,’’ Cr Bev­eridge said.

He said he had talked to miner Xs­trata and ‘peo­ple like that’ to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity.

The city was also putting its case through the Re­gional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Projects Group un­der the aus­pices of de­vel­op­ment body Townsville En­ter­prise.

He said the State Gov­ern­ment’s State De­vel­op­ment De­part­ment and Townsville En­ter­prise were sup­port­ing Char­ters Tow­ers’ bid.

‘‘I’m de­pend­ing on those peo­ple to shake the tree with the kind of peo­ple that want to build th­ese kind of things,’’ Cr Bev­eridge said.

‘‘The rest of the world doesn’t want to make lead but we’ve got to have it for things like car bat­ter­ies.

‘‘We are work­ing through that (Townsville En­ter­prise) group (look- ing) for any­body that has that in mind. ‘‘We want to be the pre­ferred site. ‘‘You need a com­mu­nity that sup­ports work­ers for th­ese things and we’ve got it.’’

The fact the coun­cil is in­ves­ti­gat­ing de­vel­op­ment of a lead smelter and re­fin­ery is men­tioned in a re­port on po­ten­tial trades for Townsville port.

The Townsville Port Ac­cess Road Eco­nomic Anal­y­sis, com­mis­sioned by the Main Roads De­part­ment, says road-based through­put at the port is ex­pected to grow rapidly from the de­vel­op­ment of large min­er­als de­posits in the Char­ters Tow­ers/Chilli­goe dis­tricts.

Gold, sil­ver, cop­per, zinc and lead are be­ing ex­tracted and par­tially pro­cessed from mines in the dis­tricts and stud­ies are un­der way to de­velop nickel re­sources.

Con­tro­versy has raged in Townsville for more than six years fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions that in 1996 the State Gov­ern­ment had given ap­proval to Sun Met­als owner Korea Zinc to pro­duce up to 150,000 tonnes of lead a year at its Stu­art site.

How­ever, State politi­cians have since ruled out lead pro­cess­ing at Stu­art.

Xs­trata is plan­ning a $150 mil­lion ex­pan­sion of its zinc-lead con­cen­tra­tor at Mount Isa to boost pro­duc­tion by 60 per cent to 8 mil­lion tonnes a year by the sec­ond half of 2008.

About 137,619 tonnes of lead in­gots and 347,622 tonnes of lead con­cen­trates, most of this from Mount Isa, were ex­ported from Townsville port in 2005-06.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.