To purchase this space contact Gordon

North West Phosphate will begin mining operations on 65,000 square kilometres of untapped phosphate tenements in north-west Queensland, the ABC reported.

The $350 million project will focus on one of the largest deposits, Paradise South, with the company expecting to break ground as early as March 2024.

The phosphate will be used to supply the growing global demand for fertilisers, alongside miners with a focus on ethical production.

“Up until recently, countries like Morocco and China essentially dominated the market but the prices are currently at a sweet spot for us,” North West Phosphate managing director John Cotter told the ABC.

“That is being driven by growing populations that need to be fed and therefore a growing need for fertiliser coinciding with a decrease in the quality of phosphate coming out of those major producers.

“Another major driver is the movement of international investors and customers who want to support companies with environmental, social and governance policies.”

But fertiliser isn’t the end of North West Phosphate’s plans for Queensland, with the company looking to the future of battery technology.

“I don’t think anyone’s really got their heads around how big that market is going to be,” Cotter said.

“Everyone knows, you have a phone in your hand, it’s a lithium battery.

“Phosphate batteries, a little bit like vanadium, provide a slower discharge of energy to power your trains, your cars, your big gear and that market is going to grow quite significantly.”

The ABC said the Paradise South mine project would be a boon for north-west Queensland, with Cotter estimating the construction of a processing plant and ongoing operations at the mine would require around 200 employees.

With the life of the mine projected for at least 50 years, Cotter said the company hoped to recruit locally, rather than rely on fly-in, fly-out.