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JOINT STATEMENT


JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE, SENATOR ROBERT HILL, AND THE MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, TERRITORIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, SENATOR IAN MACDONALD

20 July 2000

GREEN LIGHT FOR JOB GENERATOR IN REGIONAL QUEENSLAND

Australian developed technology has helped secure environmental clearance for a $1.1 billion magnesium project which will provide more than 400 new jobs in regional Queensland, Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, and Federal Regional Services Minister, Ian Macdonald, announced today.

Senator Hill has given environmental approvals for the Australian Magnesium Corporation project at Stanwell, 25 kms south-west of Rockhampton.

Senator Macdonald said he had been pushing for this project because of the significant employment impact it would have for regional Queensland, and the Central Queensland Area in particular.

Senator Hill says the project will set new environmental benchmarks for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from magnesium production.

"Magnesium producers currently use sulphur hexafluoride as a cover gas in the production process to prevent molten magnesium from burning. This gas has a global warming potential 24,000 times that of carbon dioxide," Senator Hill said.

"Using a new cover gas technology, the Australian Magnesium Project will replace this gas with a new process to dramatically reduce the global warming impact. This Australian technology could deliver enormous greenhouse gas reductions in magnesium plants around the world.

"The project will also utilise the leading edge technology to maximise the energy efficiency of the production process, leading to more savings in greenhouse gas emissions."

Senator Ian Macdonald said the environmental clearance paves the way for a major investment boost in regional Queensland.

"The Australian Magnesium project will create more than 400 direct jobs while supporting an estimated 1,000 indirect jobs in the region. The first stage of the project will have a capital expenditure of $1.13 billion and is expected to return annual revenues of $400 million," Senator Macdonald said.

"The economic flow-on effects to Rockhampton and to Queensland are enormous. It's another example of the Howard Government delivering for regional Australia."

"Australia has the potential to be the world's biggest and best producer of processed magnesium through the local technology breakthrough AMC have developed and I am strong supporter of this project."

Senator Hill says the company has agreed to work with the Australian Greenhouse Office to further investigate the use of renewable energy sources or natural gas for each of the next three stages of the plant.

"The company will also do further work on its cover gas technology to try to establish a lower or even zero global warming impact.

"The Kyoto Protocol does not mean that we can't pursue economic growth and new developments. What it does mean, however, is that we must be smarter about how we grow our economy and ensure we utilise technology that will minimise the global warming impact.

"This project measures up to that standard and if its new cover gas technology spreads to other plants around the world, it will make a major contribution to delivering a better global greenhouse outcome."

Media contacts:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill) on 0419 693 515
David Moore (Senator Macdonald) on 07 4771 3066 / 0417 77

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