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Queensland government invests big in biorefinery

Mackay, Queensland from the air
Mackay, Queensland from the air

The government of Queensland, Australia has announced it will inject $8.64 million (€5.8 million) into a proposed $50 million (€33.7 million) biorefinery, in a bid to help accelerate the project’s development and construction.

It is hoped the new biorefinery could create up to 115 jobs, positioning Queensland’s 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,” said Curtis Pitt, Queensland’s Treasurer.

“It is a game changing concept for Mackay and exactly the type of project we’ve been targeting to generate jobs and economic activity. BPA compliments the Mackay region’s existing industries and technical expertise, so I am very excited by the investment prospects of this biorefinery, with construction scheduled to commence next year.”

When completed, the planned commercial scale facility would have the capacity to 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 each year.

Keeping BPA’s project on Australian soil was a key part of the government’s decision to invest in it.

“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 biorefinery in Queensland,” said Pitt.

“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.”

The $8.64 million funding will come from Queensland’s $130 million (€87.6 million) Jobs and Regional Growth Fund. The completed facility will be made up of three main elements: a yeast processing plant, an oilseed crushing plant for the creation of non-food grade vegetable oil, and a biodiesel plant.

Bio Processing Australia CEO John Lockhart welcomed the government’s investment in the project’s Mackay operation.

“The Queensland Government’s support will enable us to explore, develop and commercialise biofuel and food biotechnologies here in Mackay.

“The Government, like BPA, has identified that regional Queensland has abundant resources for the modern bio-economy and their biofutures strategy is closely aligned to our own aims – using resources wisely to improve economic interests whilst improving the environment.

“There are global markets demanding our products and expertise, so this is really the start of something that can be an exciting boost for the region.”

 

Mackay, Queensland from the air