The coal seam gas industry is a driving force behind the region's positive outlook.
The coal seam gas industry is a driving force behind the region's positive outlook. Simon Green

$1b Gladstone ammonia plant another step closer

THE company behind a proposed project tipped to create 1000 jobs is set to delve into what environmental impacts it could have on the region if it goes ahead.

Australia Future Energy's $1billion Energy and Ammonia project proposal has reached a new stage now the State Government has outlined what it wants in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The project planned for the state-owned land near Yarwun would use above-ground coal gasification technology to convert 1.5million tonnes of coal into ammonia and synthetic natural gas.

Gladstone State MP Glenn Butcher said he was glad to see it was progressing "quite quickly" - a sign the State Government saw merit in it.

The facility is expected to take two years to build and have a construction workforce of 800 and an ongoing workforce of 200 for 30 years.

Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett, Australian Future Energy chief executive officer Kerry Parker and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher at the site of $1 billion Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project located in the Gladstone State Development Area at Yarwun.
Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett, Australian Future Energy chief executive officer Kerry Parker and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher at the site of $1 billion Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project located in the Gladstone State Development Area at Yarwun. Matt Harris

"The terms of reference will ensure potential impacts on the natural, social and economic environment are appropriately considered," Mr Butcher said.

CEO Kerry Parker estimated it would take 18 months to finish the EIS and release it for public comment.

He said since announcing the project in September, the company had worked on securing long-term contracts for the sale of its ammonia and gas and securing feedstock.

The company had also completed environmental and cultural heritage surveys at the State Development Area in preparation for the EIS.

In the EIS the company is expected to outline the project's short and long-term impacts and how it would minimise environmental risks.

In its initial impact statement the company said it would generate about two million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Of this, 1.8 million tonnes would be captured, sequestered (locked up in other compounds) or sold.

It said the plant would be lined and bunded to ensure any leak or spill would not result in contamination to land.

The project will also make some of its own electricity out of waste gas and heat created through the process. Any surplus power would be exported to the grid.

Mr Butcher said the EIS process gave residents the opportunity to have their say and the State Government time and information to assess its viability and its impacts.

"There is a process to follow and this company will be no different to Adani, or to a mine or port expansions, this is the start of those processes," he said.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2020, with the first ammonia produced in mid-2022.



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