Big builder takes a shine to Sun project
THE prospect of actual jobs from the Sun Metals expansion project is getting closer, with national construction company Watpac looking to become involved.
Watpac is seeking subcontractors and suppliers to work on the $300 million expansion of the Townsville zinc refinery.
It’s understood that by ten- dering for companies to work with it, Watpac, which is also building the Townsville Stadium, will try to win the refinery contract.
Tenders for working with Watpac close on January 25.
A Sun Metals spokesman said the company had started the tendering process for the plant expansion announced in December.
“The first tender, relating to the civil works, has gone out and closes on January 31,” he said.
The expansion is due to be finished in the first half of 2021.
Acting Premier Cameron Dick said the expansion was a “jobs bonanza” for Townsville and the region.
“It’s exciting to see the ‘wanted’ ads in the paper for some of the 350 jobs which will be created during construction to get the project under way,” he said.
“There will also be around 100 additional permanent refinery and logistic workers once operational.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to creating jobs in regional Queensland and this expansion demon- strates confidence in the North Queensland economy and its workforce.”
Townsville Chamber of Commerce CEO MarieClaude Brown said the open tenders was a “significant step forward”.
“Sun Metals has been a quite achiever in the region for many, many years,” she said.
“They have been very consistent employers and they have decided to invest and back themselves.”
Ms Brown said other companies should take a look at Sun Metals as an example of a company that continued to invest in regional Australia and employ local people.
“They are very good at purchasing locally too,” she said.
The refinery’s expansion will increase ingot production by about 20 per cent.
The price of zinc had a poor finish to the year, dropping by 23 per cent from the first quarter of last year compared with the last quarter of the year, according to the World Bank.
However, it stabilised in the back end of the year.
Watpac did not respond to a request for comment.