More than 5,500 jobs as Queensland fast-tracks 2 Townsville-Mount Isa projects

The Queensland Government has declared two major projects in the Townsville-Mount Isa Corridor, both with the potential for more than 5,500 jobs, as “prescribed projects”, allowing the State’s Coordinator-General to fast-track them with local governments and regulators.

Project Green Poly will create one of Australia’s first integrated mine-to-manufacturing polysilicon supply chains, with the $7.8b investment expected to create 4,400 jobs around Townsville during construction and operation of a facility that will run for 30 years or more.

The Eva copper mine project near Mt Isa and Cloncurry will add a new stream of copper mining and smelting, boosting local supply for solar, wind and battery energy manufacturing.

The mine is expected to operate for at least 15 years and generate up to 1,250 jobs in construction and operations and extend the life of local copper mining and smelting jobs.

Queensland State Development and Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace says the State is ready to be the home to renewables-linked mining, manufacturing and exporting.

“Project Green Poly will create the Queensland-based polysilicon supply chain the world needs to expand solar and battery energy generation,” she said.

“It will further boost the Townsville region as a renewable energy mining, processing and manufacturing hub.

“The Eva copper mine project plans to provide a new source of copper concentrate that has the potential to feed Mount Isa’s copper smelter.

“Harmony Gold Mining Company already has key mining approvals for the project and my 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.

“The project will support Mount Isa’s future, in line with our $50m Mount Isa Transition Fund support package, announced in February 2024.

Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited chief executive Peter Steenkamp says the recognition of Eva’s distinct strategic importance and potential to contribute to the economic development of Queensland’s North West supports Harmony’s confidence in the project.

“The Eva copper project near Mount Isa, Queensland is transformational for Harmony as we transition into a global gold-copper producer,” he said.

“As one of the world’s largest gold producers, sustainability is embedded in our operating practices.

“Our people are our most important asset and this support from the Queensland Government will enable Harmony to continue creating long-term value for all its stakeholders, wherever we operate.”

Queensland Resources and Critical Minerals Minister Scott Stewart says there is a “bright future ahead for the North West Minerals Province and the broader Mount Isa region”.