Billion Dollar Mining Boost

Posted by Design & Construct on 15-Mar-2016 08:14:58

In Construction

NSW Specialty Metals Project

Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, recently announced that a billion dollar mining project in New South Wales has now passed its final hurdle and will go ahead.

The $1B Dubbo Zirconia Project (DZP) will be located 25km south of Dubbo, New South Wales and is expected to produce zirconium, hafnium, niobium, light and heavy rare earth elements.

The mine is considered one of Australia's most valuable rare metal and rare earth projects and has been granted an Environment Protection Licence. The mine meets the rigorous government approval process and was granted a mining lease last December.

Mr Roberts said, “The Dubbo Zirconia Project is a prime example of what discoveries may be made in NSW. During the past decade, junior explorers have been punching above their weight and are responsible for 81 per cent of deposits unearthed in the State”.

The Economic Benefits associated with the DZP include:

  • creation of a construction work force of approximately 450
  • creation of 250 permanent local jobs for operations
  • approximately $50M per annum in wages
  • state royalties of $9.5M per annum
  • annual payroll to the State $34M per annum
  • corporate taxation of $70M annum

The workforce will be primarily sourced from Dubbo's surrounding region of approximately 80,000 people and the long lifespan of the mine, will provide genuine, long-term career opportunities to many people in the Central West NSW.

The mine will produce up to 30,000 tonnes of specialty metals and rare earths per year which are highly sought after to support modern technology including:

 Zirconium

  • replacement joints, false teeth, fillings and kidney dialysis machines
  • mobile phones and phone towers
  • a paint drying agent, water repellent on fabrics and fire retardant
  • catalytic converters in modern car exhausts

Niobium 

  • used in steel manufacturing to increase strength and reduce weight
  • water, gas, oil and chemical pipelines
  • power stations rely on niobium stainless steel turbine blades to turn at extreme temperatures for electricity generation
  • superconducting wires of niobium, conduct electricity 100 times that of traditional copper wires
  • magnetic resonance imaging machines contain superconductive magnets made from niobium-titanium alloys

Rare earth metal 

  • wind turbines and solar cells contain rare earths to operate and or improve their power efficiency
  • fluorescent light bulbs and LED lighting for efficient and bright white light
  • hybrid and electric cars
  • rare earth based drugs also provide treatments for lung, prostate, breast and bone cancer and rheumatoid arthritis
  • tablets, smartphones and iPods require rare earths for better components with reduced weight and increased efficiency
  • rare earths are essential for electronic devices including computer components, global positioning systems, sonar and lasers

Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo, Troy Grant, has welcomed the enormous investment in the region and the effect it will have on the local economy and said, “more than $1 billion will be invested in the project and about $50 million spent in the Dubbo region each year.

The Dubbo Zirconia Project will not only stimulate the local economy but also boost regional manufacturing and showcase Australian industry and exports across the globe.

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References:
Alkane Resources Ltd. (2016). Retrieved 14 March, 2016 from http://www.alkane.com.au/index.php/faq/dubbo
NSW Government media release. (2016). Retrieved 14 March, 2016 from http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/597986/Billion-Dollar-Dubbo-Mine-an-Economic-Boon.pdf