Gladstone Pacific Nickel Ltd (GPNL) is proposing to build and operate a nickel/cobalt refinery. The project, known as the Gladstone Nickel Project (GNP), will consist of a high pressure acid leach plant (HPAL) and metals plant with supporting facilities (collectively called the refinery) to be located at Gladstone, Queensland.
The refinery site will be approximately 8 km west of the Gladstone central business district, and will be located at the intersection of Hanson and Reid Roads in the Yarwun Precinct of the Queensland Government’s Gladstone State Development Area (GSDA).
The refinery will process ores from a nickel laterite mine near Marlborough, approximately 180 km north-west of Gladstone, together with nickel laterite ores imported from the south-west Pacific region. The ores from Marlborough will be beneficiated at a plant adjacent to the mine site and then pumped as a slurry through a pipeline to the refinery. Residue from the refinery will be pumped to a residue storage facility (RSF) located in the Aldoga Precinct of the GSDA and approximately 15 km south-west of the refinery site.
The HPAL process selected for the refinery has lower greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product compared to other process alternatives. The lower emissions are achieved because the bulk of the power and steam requirements for the refinery's operation are raised from the exothermic reaction of burning sulphur to manufacture sulphuric acid (the leaching reagent).
The use of seawater as process water in the HPAL plant reduces the project's fresh water requirements and simultaneously increases the productivity of the project.
The refinery will add value to Australian and imported ores by producing nickel and cobalt metal which will be exported to the growing world market, primarily to meet the increasing demand for stainless steel. This Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared to identify the environmental effects of the GNP.