Hopes high for industry's big year

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

SEVERAL potential new projects, plus the expansion of others, has Gladstone crossing its fingers that 2005 could deliver some big things for local industry.

Gladstone Economic and Industry Development Board chief executive Ken King said the project everyone was sweating about was stage two of the Comalco Alumina Refinery (CAR).

Mr King described CAR stage two as 'the real one we'd like to see go sooner rather than later.'

'The stars would have to align quickly for Comalco, but we'd like to see them align fairly quickly,' Mr King said.

Another project being watched carefully is the proposed Aldoga Aluminium Smelter. Mr King said he was hopeful there would be movement on the Aldoga site during 2005, saying the Aldoga team had spent considerable money on engineering and planning stages.

A third proposed project for the city is Gladstone Nickel Limited (GNL) ? a nickel plant which would create 450 permanent jobs.

Mr King said 2005 would be a year of securing the necessary funds for GNL proponents before moving into a feasibility phase.

Last year there was also talk of Xstrata constructing a zinc plant in Gladstone.

Mr King said the project was still open for the global market, with the proponents looking at a number of locations world wide.

He said a decision on its location was still a long way off.



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