NAB backs Queensland battery gigafactory plans as financial advisor

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Townsville “gigafactory” for battery production moves forward with NAB coming on board as financial advisor and help in search for funding.

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Plans to build a battery storage gigafactory in Townsville in north Queensland  have gained new ground, with the appointment of big four Australian bank, NAB, as financial advisor to the project.

Magnis Resources, an Australian graphite producer and member of the consortium behind the Imperium3 Townsville project (iM3TSV) said on Thursday that NAB had been tapped to advise on the $2 billion battery plant.

The appointment comes as the proposed 18GWh lithium-ion battery cell plant proposal moves into the development approvals process with Townsville Council, and starts the search for debt funding.

“Having NAB on board has taken place after significant due diligence by all parties involved,” said Magnis chairman Frank Poullas in comments to the Townsville Bulletin.

“The fact they are confident they can work with us raise the necessary funds to get Townsville up and running is a huge testament to us.

“This is huge for us,” Poullas said.

As we have reported, the iM3TSV consortium is headed by Boston Energy and Innovation, a company led by former Macquarie Bank senior executive Bill Moss, and also includes Eastman Kodak and US battery storage production specialists C4V and C&D Assembly.

Magnis, which has a 33 per cent stake in the project, said on Thursday that a nearly completed draft feasibility study and report had proposed developing the 18GWh gigafactory in three 6GWh phases.

“This not only reduces the upfront capital requirement but also allows for the project expansion to occur in line with market development,” the statement said.

The proposed site for the gigafactory is the Lansdown Industrial Precinct, an environmentally sustainable advanced manufacturing, processing and technology estate being developed by council in Woodstock, about an hour south of Townsville.

The precinct will be powered by the neighbouring 200MW Majors Creek Solar Farm that is under development by Edify Energy.

Magnis said on Thursday that the Townsville City Council would assume a small stake in the project for the provision of land at the site.

The plan, now, is to focus on getting a development application submitted to Townsville City Council, and to ramp up engagement with local business.

Magnis said the project continued to receive strong support from all levels of government.

“Having NAB as the financial advisor … is a huge step forward as we continue to tick the boxes,” said Magnis managing director Marc Vogts.

“From day one we believed that the Townsville project is imperative for Australia’s energy security, and I believe that all forms of government share my sentiments,” he said.

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