Townsville the heart of Queensland’s new minerals processing era

3 June 2021

Queensland is entering a golden new era of minerals processing and Townsville is right at the heart of the action, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said today.

Mr Macfarlane will be in Townsville next week to host a QRC networking event on Tuesday, June 8 at The Ville Resort-Casino featuring an address by Resources Minister and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart.

The QRC event is expected to attract major resources operators and service providers in the region, keen to hear the Minister speak about how the newly launched Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (QRIDP) will impact the sector.

“The resources industry is looking to partner with the Queensland Government to map out a path via the QRIDP to sustained growth right across the sector, and to address the barriers restricting our international competitiveness,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Queensland has fallen to 16th in the world* in terms of our attractiveness to global resources investors, which needs to be turned around.

“The QRC has high expectations of the QRIDP delivering much-needed improvements across our industry and we’ll continue to work collaboratively with the government to achieve this.”

A national commodity outlook report released by the Minerals Council of Australia this week shows demand for Australian commodities will increase over the next decade, largely due to a rapidly modernising Asia Pacific region.

“Queensland is set to benefit from a predicted increase in global demand for our minerals to support emerging technologies,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Last year, Queensland produced 65 percent of Australia’s silver, 60 percent of its lead, 56 percent of its zinc and a quarter of its copper – with the vast majority going through the Port of Townsville – so we’re in prime position to benefit from increased demand for these commodities.

“Value adding is the name of the game in minerals processing and with excellent regional facilities like JCU’s Economic Geology Unit and the Department of Resources Core Library in Mount Isa, the greater Townsville region is well placed to be a powerhouse in finding, producing and most importantly processing both base and new economy minerals.”

The Commodity Outlook Demand 2030 report released by the MCA predicts that by 2030, world zinc consumption will grow by 12 percent and demand for rare earth elements such as neodymium – which has already grown by 327 percent since 2010 – is projected to increase by up to 113 per cent.

“History shows global copper consumption has doubled every 25 to 30 years, and demand is expected to accelerate with the electrification of the global economy,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“If we do our homework properly, the forecast increase in demand for these commodities will deliver huge local benefits for Townsville in terms of increased economic activity and more jobs.”

According to the latest ABS data released yesterday, exploration expenditure in Queensland rose by 24 percent over the past 12 months

“Queensland minerals exploration expenditure in particular has kept increasing throughout COVID,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Looking at the performance of individual commodities over the 12 months, copper exploration expenditure is up 13 percent since March last year and gold is up 33 percent.

“That’s very good news for the Townsville region.”

To attend the QRC’s networking event at the Ville Resort-Casino, Townsville on June 8 please contact [email protected]

* based on the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2020.