A feasibility study for a $3 billion lithium-ion battery gigafactory to be developed in northern Queensland by the Imperium3 consortium – part-owned by graphite company Magnis Energy Technologies (ASX: MNS) – has been approved by the Queensland Government.
The news follows discussions between numerous parties including the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation, Imperium3 partners (Magnis, C4V LLC New York and Boston Energy and Innovation) and National Australia Bank.
As a result, the government acknowledged the project’s feasibility study was “sufficiently mature” to progress negotiations with potential equity partners.
The consortium is now preparing to seek investment partners for the next stages of the project which include a capital raising exercise prior to construction of the plant by 2022 and commercial operation by 2024.
Finance talks are being conducted with local, state and federal government agencies along with public and private entities.
The Imperium3 board has also approved an investment decision to proceed with the next stage of development relating to the Townsville-based plant.
Over the coming months, a development application will be completed and submitted to Townsville’s council for formal consideration and approval.
A project funding strategy will also be executed in accordance with advice from National Australia Bank.
The consortium has been working with local businesses and community groups to help advance the project, including Edify Energy regarding the supply of low-cost renewable power to the facility; the Port of Townsville regarding transport and logistics solutions; and James Cook University and the Queensland University of Technology for collaboration on future education and training, innovation and research facilitation.
Magnis chairman Frank Poullas said there have also been discussions with Queensland engineering firms Ausenco, GHD Group and Norman Disney & Young, quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall and construction company FKG Group to maximise local involvement and procurement.
“Energy security is a major topic along with the creation of local manufacturing and employment in this current climate,” he said.
“This project ticks all the boxes and we look forward to progressing [it] with our partners towards large-scale production.”
At mid-morning, shares in Magnis were trading 4.65% higher at $0.225.