Queensland’s Palaszczuk government has committed up to $3.1 million if re-elected for a feasibility study into a proposed $2 billion lithium-ion battery factory in Townsville, boosting the capital raising by former Macquarie banker Bill Moss’s consortium.
In north Queensland ahead of the November 25 poll, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said funds would come from Queensland’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund and the project could support up to 7000 jobs, including spin-off industries.
Mr Moss told The Australian that the support of the state and federal governments was essential for the factory to proceed.
“After the election we look forward to meeting with the next premier to Queensland so we can fast-track the project,” Mr Moss said yesterday.
The Imperium3 consortium includes US heavyweights Eastman Kodak, C4V and electronics manufacturer C&D Assembly, along with Mr Moss’s Boston Energy and Innovation and Australian-listed miner Magnis Resources. The group plans factories in New York, the Middle East and Australia capable of delivering batteries for home and automotive use and renewable energy storage.
Earlier this month the consortium’s local arm launched a $12m capital raising to fund the feasibility study and a detailed engineering design for a 15-gigawatt plant in Townsville.
Mr Moss said the consortium had interest from Australian and international institutions and high net worth investors.
Townsville mayor Jenny Hill yesterday welcomed the Labor government’s commitment, saying the council was hopeful the LNP would match the Premier’s funding pledge.
“There’s no doubt Townsville has done it tough over recent years and many of our residents have been struggling, and that’s why council has been fighting so hard to bring jobs back into the city,” Ms Hill said. “Building this battery plant in Townsville will create 1000 direct jobs and position the city as a leader in hi-tech manufacturing.”
The Townsville council will grant part of a former CSIRO research station to the consortium in exchange for equity, although no contract for a portion of the Woodstock site has been signed.
Mr Moss said the group was in advanced discussions with 30 suppliers, mostly based in Europe and the US, and many of which had said they would want operations alongside the battery factory.
By Turi Condon