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Minister welcomes Comalco's announcement to pursue Gladstone option for alumina refinery.



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3 April 2000              00/83 

MINISTER WELCOMES COMALCO'S ANNOUNCEMENT TO PURSUE GLADSTONE OPTION FOR ALUMINA REFINERY  The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, welcomed today's announcement by Comalco that Gladstone is the site selected for the final feasibility study for its proposed alumina refinery.  

"For some time now we have been competing with an alternative site at Bintulu in Malaysia so it is great news to know that Comalco have announced their commitment to pursuing detailed site studies at Gladstone," Senator Minchin said. 

The Prime Minister announced in January last year that the Commonwealth was prepared to provide support of at least $100 million to enable the project to proceed contingent upon commercial negotiations on the supply of energy being settled. 

"Obviously, Comalco will not make its final decision until they have evaluated the results of their studies but we would expect an announcement later this year," Senator Minchin said. 

"In the meantime, the Government will continue to work with Comalco on outstanding issues such as the proposed energy sources and environmental approvals. 

"Should the project proceed, construction could create about 1,300 direct jobs with an operational workforce of 450 people. Stage 1 of the refinery itself involves capital investment of $1.4 billion and is expected to commence production in mid 2003.  

"This project has the potential to be a significant economic boost to not only the Gladstone region and Queensland but the rest of Australia as well." 

Contact: Steve Ronson, Senator Minchin's office, 02 6277 7580 

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