Feb 11, 2021

Townsville earmarked for silica processing plant

Townsville earmarked for  silica processing plant Water boring at Diatreme's Galalar silica project on Cape York.

Diatreme Resources is eyeing sites in Townsville for a potential downstream processing plant for silica sand from its Galalar project.

The company is targeting first production in 2022 from the Cape York silica project, located near Mitsubishi’s major Cape Flattery sand mine.

While Diatreme remains focused on Galalar’s permitting and approval process, it revealed today that it is also evaluating opportunities to add further value to the project’s premium quality silica product.

Representatives have undertaken site visits in Townsville to examine potential available land and supporting infrastructure for potential downstream processing or manufacturing opportunities.

“The Lansdown Industrial Precinct was one of the areas we looked at, along with a number of other potential sites closer to and directly within the port area” chief executive officer Neil McIntyre said.

Targeting solar panel market

Diatreme is examining the potential for a low-iron (sub 100 ppm Fe) silica product from its mine to undertake further beneficiation.

This would likely be a hot acid immersion process to produce an ultra‐low iron silica product suitable for high‐end, high value electronics manufacturing and other specialist uses.

“In conjunction with this initiative, the company has consulted with various parties considering establishing onshore glass manufacturing operations to supply the solar panel market and who require reliable supply of the high‐quality photovoltaic grade silica used as direct feed product for the solar panel sheet glass manufacturing process,” Diatreme said in a statement today.

Meanwhile the company has stepped up its community engagement activities in the Hope Vale region after the recent opening of a community office.

It recently hosted community consultation meetings in Hope Vale and Cairns as part of the social impact assessment process (SIA).

“We are working as hard as we can to deliver the best project possible for the people of North Queensland,” Mr McIntyre said.

“Demand for Galalar’s product continues to rise on the back of the solar energy boom and with the clean energy revolution accelerating, our project has the right product at the right time.”

An independent economic study estimated the project has the potential to create up to 110 full‐time equivalent jobs and inject up to $42 million into the region during its operation.

Affected native title holders will have a 12.5 per cent stake in the Galalar project.