STUDY TO SPEED BATTERY PLANT
Consortium could start $ 2b project within nine months
CONSTRUCTION of a $ 2 billion battery factory in Townsville could start within nine months, with members of the consortium behind the project signing off on a pre- feasibility study.
It comes just three months after the consortium, led by Boston Energy and Innovation, signed a memorandum of understanding with Townsville City Council to investigate the viability of building the 15GWh Lithium- ion Battery Gigafactory in the city.
Boston Energy and Innovation director Corey Cooney said ticking off on the scoping study was a major milestone for the project.
“The ( scoping) study looked at financial analysis, market analysis, technologies, chemistry, processes and equipment,” he said.
“The scoping has been done in a way that will fasttrack the feasibility study, which is expected to take between three to six months.”
The report will be handed to the council within 14 days.
Mr Cooney said the project was on track for operations to start by 2020, with construction to potentially start before April 2018.
A land parcel of 400ha at t Woodstock has been chosen for the project, with 60ha to be used specifically for the battery factory.
“If we’re going to be investing nearly $ 2 billion we want to ensure there’s room to grow,” Mr Cooney said.
“It will be ( for) industries that will be complementary to the project and it will also be different innovation and corporate technology.
“It’s not just a battery plant, it’s the beginning of a new- age battery hub.”
The factory would create 1000 direct jobs, with 80 per cent of workers to be trained on site. Mr Cooney said that figure did not include the “downstream” supply chain, which could total 7000 jobs.
The plant would be capable of producing 250,000 car batteries a year, one million home battery units, or s support 300 microgrids to power small towns. “Depending on the demand, it’s looking to combine a few ( products),” Mr Cooney said.
The consortium is in discussions with private investors as well as the State and Federal governments in relation to funding the project.
“We have had a lot of interest with private investors. There has been a lot of engagement,” he said. “We could have picked anywhere in Australia, however we are very passionate about Northern Australia.
“Northern Queensland is a very … strategic part of the world and Townsville has all the essential infrastructure.
“We will be speaking to multiple onshore and offshore funding partners and will be talking to government funding bodies.”
Mayor Jenny Hill said the battery factory was one of the largest projects the region had seen in a decade.
“I know that they’ve been meeting with the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility so there’s a lot of interest from government,” she said. “We obviously have to do our due diligence and this report is part of that.”
Consortium partner Magnis Resources is among a raft of companies suspended from trading on the Australian Stock Exchange amid concerns over the Tanzanian Government’s plans to increase taxes on mining companies.
CEO Frank Poullas told the Bulletin this week that the company, which plans to provide the graphite anode to the Townsville battery factory, did not expect any adverse effects on the project. He said the company wanted clarity on the regulatory charges.
GOOD TO GO: Boston Energy and Innovation director Corey Cooney ( right) with Dr Frank Houllis, CEO of consortium partner Magnis Resources.
How the Bulletin revealed the battery factory plan in April.