Gladstone nickel refinery project on track for 2016

IT'S been nearly two decades in the making, but the optimistic owners of the Gladstone nickel refinery project say it's still a sure thing.

The news comes amid concerns about the future of the Boulder Steel project after it went into voluntary administration last week, and a question mark over the fourth LNG plant proposed for Curtis Island.

The Environmental Impact Statement for the Gladstone nickel project expired on July 15, but Gladstone Pacific Nickel Ltd confirmed a second extension had been granted by the Queensland Government.

A planning department representative said the Co-ordinator General's evaluation report for the project was extended to February next year.

If the company's new projections are correct, the construction phase for the world's largest nickel/cobalt refinery could begin as soon as 2016.

GPNL executive director Blair Brewster said while the construction phase had not started, the project was progressing.

"We've been making applications with the council to help move the project forward ... everything's on track," he said.

Mr Brewster said the project had technically started at the Gladstone State Development Area site on the intersection of Hanson and Reid Rds.

"Wiggins Coal Terminal needed a lay down area and because we were behind them they used our land and now they're doing bunding works for us," he said.

"When Wiggins are done in 2016, when we get access to the site we can start the construction phase.

"We got an extension on the state EIS and we're meeting our obligations with the state."

Despite financial difficulties during the GFC, Mr Brewster said the company was financially sound.

"We'll raise capital when the time is right to construct on the site," he said. The project was relaunched in 2004 after a decade of uncertainty.

It faced delays in 2010 due to failed financing and a hostile takeover bid by Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer.

Nickel Refinery:

  • Production: a $3.65billion American ($A4.2billion) long-life nickel and cobalt refinery
  • Stage one: to produce some 63,000 tonnes of nickel and 5000 tonnes of cobalt per annum
  • Access: to 160 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves in the Pilbara Ranges, in remote Western Australia


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