Clean TeQ mine to bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to Central NSW

A new mine located near Fifield is getting closer to development and is expected to bring a massive boost to the region.

And this is the week for Forbes residents to find out more about potential job opportunities, with an information session at Forbes Services Memorial Club at 6.30pm tonight (Tuesday July 3) and Trundle Golf Club on July 4.

The project, called Clean TeQ Sunrise, is owned and will be operated by Clean TeQ – a listed Australian company.

Clean TeQ Sunrise is one of the largest greenfield mineral processing development projects in Australia, one of the largest nickel and cobalt deposits outside of Africa, and one of the largest and highest-grade deposits of scandium in the world.

It will be an open cut, low-risk mine with a project area of about 2200 hectares and a shallow deposit that’s about two kilometres long and 30-35 metres deep.

Last Monday the Clean TeQ Sunrise’s Definitive Feasibility Study was completed and the results released.

The study confirms the project’s status as a globally significant cobalt, nickel and scandium resource which, once developed, will become a major supplier of critical raw materials to the lithium-ion battery market.

Lithium-ion batteries represent an important enabler of the clean energy revolution, such as resourcing the development of the rapidly emerging electric vehicle industry.

Clean TeQ’s Chief Executive Officer Sam Riggall said financial boosts will come in the form of taxes ($2.2 billion over the initial 25 years of the mine), royalties ($630 million), council rates, upgrades to local infrastructure, community enhancement contributions and other community initiatives.

“There will be an enormous amount of work for contractors and local businesses here,” he said.

“The sustaining capital requirements of business and annual operating costs of running it, a lot of it will be spent locally.

“Then there’s the impacts of training and employment opportunities, I think the regional focus on that is really important.”

The project has an estimated mine life of more than 40 years and construction – in total costing about $1.7 billion – is expected to start in 2019, with some early works to take place before then.

Clean TeQ is looking at a peak construction workforce of 1000 people and an operations workforce of 300 people.

The early works will involve installing a $35 million 70 kilometre pipeline from near the Lachlan River to the mine’s site, earthworks and laying the foundations for a construction camp that will house up to 1300 people seven days a week.

It’s predicted the mine will use 3154 mega litres of water a year. There are also plans to build a rail site just outside of Trundle.

But Mr Riggall said there are challenges to building the centre regionally.

“One of the challenges when thinking about locating it is can we bring a skilled enough workforce to a place like Central NSW, be it Parkes or Forbes or Condobolin,” he said.

“I think we can.”

Clean TeQ has been conducting community consultations since August 2017 and has community shopfronts in Trundle and Condobolin. 

While there’s been a mix of supporters of the project and concerned or curious residents, Mr Riggall said there will be challenges the team needs to solve.

In a formal ‘in principle’ agreement with the Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan councils, Clean TeQ has already committed to upgrading and maintaining the roads it will use, with an annual spend of about $340,000.

Clean TeQ forecasts over the first decade the project will produce high quality nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate products in sufficient quantities to manufacture about 500,000 electric vehicles per year.