North West Queensland zinc producer New Century Resources has signed a deal with gas company Santos which will generate 240 jobs.
Santos will supply nine petajoules of gas over four years to meet the demands of New Century’s tailings operations to produce high-grade zinc concentrate.
The news comes a week after the revitalised mine signed its first zinc offtake agreements.
New Century Utilities Manager Michael Pitt said the Santos deal provided the required gas supply volumes for restarting operations and significant flexibility during ramp up at the mine.
“After a highly competitive tender process, we are thrilled to have entered into a long term contract with Santos and look forward to a strong working relationship as we transition into full operations,” Mr Pitt said.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said this $100 investment was a shot in the arm for the north west.
“The agreement means that from July, New Century will have enough electricity to produce half a million tons of zinc concentrate annually from its industry leading economic rehabilitation project,” Dr Lynham said.
Dr Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government was driving the exploration and development of new gas fields by releasing land for gas production on the condition the gas can only be sold to Australian customers.
Santos Executive Vice President Marketing and Trading, Phil Byrne said Santos was delighted to have been selected to supply the gas.
“Santos appreciates the tremendous support of Minister Lynham and the Queensland government for the gas industry and the benefits it brings in terms of jobs, investment and economic sustainability for regional Queensland communities and for the state,” Mr Byrne said.
State member for Traeger Robbie Katter said it was good New Century could procure gas despite the extreme adversity they face by the lack of government legislation surrounding gas reserves.
“The North West Minerals Province is seeing a resurgence and we need to ensure that the locals also share in the benefits of this prosperity,” Mr Katter said.
“New Century’s record on employing first Australians has been better than that of Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest in WA and needs to continue into the future.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten this operation also props up a lot of services in the area such as flights in the gulf and dredging at Karumba Port.’’
APPEA Queensland Director Rhys Turner said the agreement was evidence of the industry’s strong commitment to provide competitively-priced gas to the domestic market.
“This is a win for Queensland jobs and for regional development,” Mr Turner said.
“More gas also means more royalties for the Queensland Government.
“Today’s announcement shows that Queensland’s gas industry is producing enough gas to meet its export commitments and supply the domestic market.