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Copper Mountain Mining has earmarked almost $5 million to advance the Eva copper project in North West Queensland after a share offering.

The company – which owns the Copper Mountain Mine in British Columbia – has entered an agreement in which Industrial Alliance Securities will buy $C15 million (around $AU15.7 million) worth of shares.

Copper Mountain Mining said it planned to allocate about a third of the proceeds to advancing Eva and another third to exploration, the bulk of which will be spent in Australia.

The remainder will go towards general and administrative expenses and working capital

Copper Mountain Mining owns a 244,300 ha prospective land package in North West Queensland, including the advanced Eva copper and gold project, 95km north-east of Mount Isa.

It obtained the assets in early 2018 through the acquisition of Altona.

In May 2020, it filed an updated feasibility study on the Eva project, which estimated average annual production of 100 million pounds of copper over a 15-year mine life.

There are seven pits that make up the Eva project’s mine plan. Little Eva is the primary pit and would be supplemented by progressively mining six satellite pit areas at Blackard, Scanlan, Turkey Creek, Bedford, Lady Clayre, and Ivy Ann.

Total initial development capital for the Eva copper project is estimated to be about $587.5 million ($US382 million).

In outlining how it planned to use the proceeds of the Industrial Alliance Securities deal, Copper Mountain Mining listed expenses for Eva including amendment to the Environmental Authority permit and advancement of project financing.

Geotechnical investigations, dewatering plans, hydrogeology work and drill targets below and within current pit designs to convert inferred resources to indicated resources are also among the items covered to advance the project.

A planned $550 million-plus Townsville battery materials plant is a step closer with Queensland Pacific Metals formally securing the project site.

The company, a subsidiary of Pure Minerals, has entered into a binding reservation deed with Townsville City Council for the land in the
Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct.

“The reservation deed secures the TECH (Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub) project’s home at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct,” Pure Minerals chief executive officer Stephen Grocott said.

“We look forward to the TECH project becoming a cornerstone of this Townsville City Council initiative.

“QPM can now proceed with confidence with respect to other infrastructure and service agreements required to bring the TECH project into fruition.”

The company last month announced that it was looking at scaling up the TECH plant after scoring a major deal with South Korean chemical company LG Chem.

LG Chem is seeking to buy up to 10,000 tonnes of contained nickel and about 1000 tonnes of contained cobalt from TECH (the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub).

That demand goes well beyond the output considered in the TECH pre-feasibility study for a $554 million battery chemicals plant (producing about 6000 tonnes contained nickel and 650 tonnes contained cobalt).

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the signing of the land reservation deed was another important milestone in the development of the jobs-generating Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct.

“Lansdown will be Northern Australia’s first environmentally sustainable, advanced manufacturing, processing and technology estate powered by locally-generated renewable energy,” she said.

“It has the potential to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the North Queensland economy.”

The key terms of the reservation deed for the TECH project are:
• $50,000 reservation fee payable to the council, rebated against any future sale and purchase agreement;
• Land is reserved for Queensland Pacific Metals for a period of 24 months; and
• Queensland Pacific Metals and the council will negotiate a binding sales and purchase agreement for the land within this 24 month period.

Queensland Pacific Metals is working with James Cook University on research hoped to see the Townsville project become world’s first ‘zero waste’ nickel /cobalt production facility.

A key report shows a 19 per cent increase in the number of major resources and energy projects under development in Australia in 2020 compared to last year.

Meanwhile the value of the projects in the investment pipeline increased by 4 per cent to $334 billion over the 12 months from the start of November 2019 to the end of October 2020.

The 2020 Resources and Energy Major Projects was compiled by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Noteworthy trends include an upsurge in gold and battery/electric vehicle-related projects.

The value of these projects in the development pipeline rose by 33 per cent and 7 per cent respectively, reflecting strong gold demand and expectations of strong growth for electric vehicles.

Among the projects highlighted was Heritage Minerals’ $60 million Mount Morgan gold project in Central Queensland, with a definitive feasibility study recently completed.

The report covers 335 projects, including greenfields developments and expansion projects, that are valued at $50 million or more.

It takes in four stages of advancement – publicly announced, feasibility, committed and completed.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the report demonstrated Australia’s strength as an exploration and investment destination.

“The resources sector has provided the bedrock for the Australian economy through COVID and this confirmation of growing investment shows how important it will be to the Coalition Government’s COVID recovery strategy going forward,” Mr Pitt said.

“It’s been the capital investments of the past decade that supported the industry, and our economy, through 2020 and it’s good to see there’s a lot more investment on the way.

“The benefits to Australia from the investment pipeline will be significant.”

Mr Pitt said the list included $39 billion in committed project investment and more than $100 billion in early stage projects that were likely to proceed.

“The investment profile shows the emerging opportunity for Australia’s battery commodities, including nickel, lithium and cobalt,” he said.

“With strong investment in production and processing facilities, Australia is well positioned to take advantage of booming demand for these commodities.”

The news was not so good for coal and gas, where the report noted that the flow of projects from the ‘feasibility’ to the ‘committed’ stage remained slow

The report includes 45 coal projects at the feasibility stage, but many of these have been delayed and the summary noted a growing preference for coal expansions over new project investments.

“There appears to be a growing reluctance to commit to greenfield coal projects, and an expanding list of lenders/investors have announced plans to no longer finance thermal coal projects,” the report noted.

“Some pension and equity funds are also divesting from, or limiting, their exposure to thermal coal, narrowing the range of investment financing options available to coal projects.”

About 20,000 construction jobs and more than 7000 ongoing jobs were expected to flow from the committed and recently completed projects on the 2020 major prohect list.

  • The full 2020 Resources and Energy Major Projects report is available on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website HERE

Townsville zinc refinery owner Sun Metals Corporation has committed to power its entire operations with 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2040.

The company announced it had joined the global RE100 initiative, led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

It is among 15 Australian companies, with a combined market capitalisation of $470 billion, which have now joined RE100 – pledging to switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity by a set date.

Sun Metals chief executive officer Kiwon Park said the company would encourage all major smelters and refineries in Australia to consider joining RE100.

“The more we all move towards 100 per cent renewable, the more we can save money and create a cleaner future for Australia’s industry and the environment,” he said.

Sun Metals is the second largest single site consumer of electricity in Queensland and next year expects to use 1100GWh/yr of electricity.

In 2018, it invested $200 million in a 125MW solar farm to lower energy costs and underpin the expansion of its zinc refinery.

As part of its renewables transition, Sun Metals is also considering the purchase of wind assets in Queensland. This could deliver a combined wind and solar portfolio that would bring the business close to 90 per cent renewable electricity.

This will leave a small gap that will be filled by other technologies such as batteries, biogas and hydrogen.

Sun Metals Corporation has future investment plans in green hydrogen (hydrogen produced with renewable energy) and recently secured a $5 million grant from the Queensland Government to develop one of North Queensland’s first renewable hydrogen production facilities.

“We have already started our renewables journey,” Mr Park said.

“As the first major energy user in Australia to build its own large-scale solar farm, we’re already getting 22 per cent of our electricity from solar and based upon our development pipeline we will easily achieve 100 per cent renewable by 2040.”

RE100 Australian coordinator Jon Dee said Sun Metals was setting a positive example for Australia’s other industrial energy users.

“Now that Sun Metals is going 100 per cent renewable, we’re hoping that every smelter and refinery in Australia will follow suit and do the same,” he said.

The 15 Australian members of RE100 include: Woolworths Group, Westpac, Sun Metals, Suncorp, QBE, NAB, Mirvac, Macquarie, Interactive, Dexus, Commonwealth Bank, BINGO Industries, Bank Australia, Atlassian and ANZ.

Globally, there are now 269 members of RE100 and the organisation says more than 70 of these international companies have operations in Australia.

About 500 people are at work on Anglo American’s Aquila project as it heads towards first longwall production of hard coking coal in early 2022.

Aquila will extend the life of the Capcoal underground operations near Middlemount by six years and continue to utilise infrastructure at the complex as the Grasstree mine approaches end of life.

Anglo American has awarded nearly $200 million in contracts to six longwall equipment suppliers to deliver a walk-on, walk-off system using two complete longwalls.

It is also investing $20 million for an overland conveyor system and more than $20 million in civil works.

In addition to the construction contacts, Anglo American awarded a $95 million mining development contract to Mackay-based Mastermyne in 2019.

The project includes a $5 million reverse osmosis water treatment system to increase the use of recycled water and reduce the reliance on fresh water at the mine.

“Aquila is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners,” Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive officer Tyler Mitchelson said.

“More than 90 per cent of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers, and we currently have around 500 people working on the project in engineering, surface construction and underground development.

“Aquila will be a breakthrough project, designed to set a new standard of safety and performance by leveraging technology and focusing on operational improvements.

“The mine will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, with a remote operating centre on the surface of the mine, proximity detection systems underground to alert machine operators to pedestrians and the continued digitisation of our operations, using new technologies such as our Australian-first intrinsically safe underground electronic tablets.”

Last financial year, Anglo American invested $2.83 billion with Queensland suppliers, which was 77 per cent of the company’s total expenditure in Australia.

Mackay’s Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal business will be listed on the stock exchange next month under Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure, with a market value of more than $1.2 billion.

The prospectus for the float was released yesterday, with start of trading on the ASX expected on December 8. It is expected to be be one of the largest infrastructure listings in 10 years.

The offer price will be $2.57 per stapled security, to raise a total of $656 million. Indicative market capitalisation is listed at $1.286 billion.

Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure owns 100 per cent of the long-term leasehold in Dalrymple Bay terminal, one of the world’s largest metallurgical coal export facilities

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners expects to retain up to 49 per cent of the company, while the Queensland Investment Corporation will invest $128 million and hold a 9.9 per cent stake.

The Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal is a regulated multi-user export terminal within Port of Hay Point, 38km south of Mackay, and has a nameplate capacity of 85Mtpa.

Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure’s independent chair – former Queensland Government minister David Hamill – described Dalrymple Bay terminal as a highly strategic asset given its critical role in the global steelmaking supply chain.

“As the key export gateway for some of the highest quality product available to the global steel industry, it is a significant contributor to the Queensland economy, the world’s largest export region for metallurgical coal, handling more than 30 per cent of the state’s coal exports,” he said.

“As the terminal begins to accommodate expected future growth from the Bowen Basin, so too will it support further regional investment and jobs, particularly around the broader Mackay region.”

Mr Hamill stated in the prospectus that the group had made substantial progress toward the next phase of expansion of the terminal.

More information on Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure HERE