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Quinbrook to build polysilicon manufacturing plant in Australia


Australian-owned Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners is pushing ahead with plans to build a polysilicon manufacturing facility near Townsville, Australia, after the Queensland state government declared it a prescribed project, enabling the approvals process to be accelerated.


Queensland Development and Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace announced the declaration late last week, opening the way for the state’s Office of the Coordinator-General to work with local governments and regulators to ensure “timely decision-making in development approvals.”


Grace said Quinbrook’s proposed AUD 7.8 billion ($5.08 billion) Project Green Poly will create one of Australia’s first integrated mine-to-manufacturing polysilicon supply chains.

“This project plans to put Townsville at the centre of a new global supply chain for polysilicon wafers – an essential component for solar panels and energy storage batteries,” Grace said. “It will do everything from mining north Queensland quartz and processing it into polysilicon wafers to supplying local and global manufacturers and markets. Project Green Poly will create the Queensland-based polysilicon supply chain the world needs to expand solar and battery energy generation.”


Quinbrook unveiled its plans for the polysilicon manufacturing facility late last year, with the project earmarked for the Lansdown eco-industrial precinct 40 kilometers south of Townsville, where the company has been allocated a 200-hectare site. The facility will source silica quartz from the region and process it to manufacture polysilicon wafers for use in solar panels as well as battery technology.


The “state-of-the-art” facility is to be powered by a large-scale solar and battery storage project that Quinbrook plans to build on land adjacent to Lansdown.


Grace said Project Green Poly is expected to generate about 4,400 jobs in and around Townsville during construction and operation.


Quinbrook Senior Director Brian Restall said Project Green Poly will create one of Australia’s first integrated mine-to-manufacturing polysilicon supply chains.


“Townsville has the potential to be a world-leading location to produce polysilicon given its proximity to high quality quartz resources, its great access to the Port of Townsville and the fact that the Lansdown Eco-industrial park, where our manufacturing is proposed, can be powered by 100% renewable energy,” he said.


The Project Green Poly announcement came at the same time the Queensland government declared mining company Harmony Gold’s Eva Copper Mine project near Mount Isa a prescribed project.


Harmony said the Eva mine project will bring on-stream new copper mining and processing for solar, wind and battery energy manufacturing.


Grace said the company already has key mining approvals for the project and the prescribed project declaration means the Office of the Coordinator-General can now provide additional assistance to coordinate remaining approvals.


“Priorities will include establishing a renewable energy source that can help run mining operations until the project connects to CopperString 2032,” she said.

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