The biggest news in the region in the last couple of days is the announcement that the New Century Mine has signed up with the state government for a deferred royalty program.
The state government announced this policy in 2017 as the Resources Regional Development Framework to unlock development in the Galilee and Surat Basins and the North West Minerals Province as well as new jobs and new business opportunities.
Under the policy royalties are deferred to a later date (but must be paid eventually in full and with interest) if a project meets certain requirements including the provision of third party access infrastructure and projects must have significant regional employment, generation of royalties and economic opportunity benefits, such as the potential to assist in opening up undeveloped resource basins. Investors would also have to meet a financial assurance model to ensure compliance with environmental conditions to cover rehabilitation costs.
The policy was originally intended to serve Adani's Carmichael coal mine but that project has been delayed
Enter New Century Resources, an innovative mob restoring MMG's old zinc mine at Lawn Hill, and a company which told their story at this year's MineX. As well as having an unusual means of extracting zinc from tailings using hydraulic mining, they have a longer-term plan to start conventional mining of in-situ resources.
Their growth plan ticked off all the state government boxes around jobs and economic development supporting more than 260 construction and 240 operational roles.
They also ticked off the third party infrastructure requirement with their dredging of the Port of Karumba, making the port available for other commercial users such as cattle exporters.
Minister for Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said New Century's investment underlined the region's potential.
"While New Century is using its own dedicated slurry pipeline to and port facility at Karumba, we're reducing freight costs for users on the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line and contributing towards the construction and operation of containerised freight loading and unloading facilities at the Port of Townsville," he said.