The Australian state of Queensland, under the leadership of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, has announced funding assistance for a proposed bio-refinery in Mackay to help accelerate the project’s development and construction.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the initiative could create up to 115 jobs and would position the Mackay region as an emerging bio-industry hub.
“Bio Processing Australia’s facility is proposed to be co-located at Mackay Sugar’s Racecourse Mill would deliver up to 70 construction and 45 skilled operational jobs and attract significant investment and further jobs in the region,” Pitt said.
“It is a game changing concept for Mackay and exactly the type of project we’ve been targeting to generate jobs and economic activity in Mackay.
“BPA complements the Mackay region’s existing industries and technical expertise, so I am very excited by the investment prospects of this bio-refinery, with construction scheduled to commence next year.
The AUD50 million (USD37.7 million) bio-refinery project, which will have the capacity to annually produce up to 26,000 tonnes of soymeal, 2,000 tonnes of yeast products for the animal feed market and 15 mega litres of biodiesel suitable for heavy transport industries.
“We have acted quickly to provide this decision at an early stage in BPA’s planning so that the company has the financial and government support it needs to prioritise the establishment of a bio-refinery in Queensland.
“We were not prepared to stand by and see this invaluable project go offshore to somewhere like Singapore or Malaysia, which BPA had been considering.
“But we have put sensible commercial conditions on the funding to ensure it delivers and we will be releasing the funding in stages on the completion of agreed construction milestones.”
Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham said the AUD8.64 million (USD6.5 million) state funding would come from the AUD130 million (USD98 million) Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
BPA will complete a full feasibility study with a view to making a final investment decision and potentially commence construction of the bio-refinery in 2018.
BPA’s production of biodiesel in Mackay would support Queensland’s bio-based diesel mandate, which now requires 0.5% of all diesel fuel sold in Queensland to be bio-based diesel.
Bio Processing Australia CEO John Lockhart welcomed the government’s investment in the project’s Mackay operation.
“I’d like to thank the government for working constructively with us to make this project a possibility,” he said.
“The Queensland Government’s support will enable us to explore, develop and commercialise biofuel and food biotechnologies here in Mackay.”