Member for Mirani Jim Pearce, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert ahead of a meeting at Racecourse Mill.
Member for Mirani Jim Pearce, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert ahead of a meeting at Racecourse Mill. Emily Smith

Minister remains tight-lipped about biofuels deal

INTENSE negotiations are apparently under way between companies vying to get a foot in the door to Mackay's emerging biofuels sector.

But during a trip to Racecourse Mill at Mackay on Wednesday, State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham refused to divulge any details surrounding these reported negotiations, due to commercial sensitivities.

He also said a number of key projects were at an advanced stage of planning in sugar growing areas across the state and more opportunities were likely to be identified by the end of the year, thanks to the $4m biofutures acceleration program.

He encouraged the public to stay posted for announcements later in the year.

This year's state budget followed through on a promise made in February, to include a $20m Biofutures Road Map and Action Plan, an initiative geared at bringing private sector investment to the biofuels industry.

Due to the proximity of the Bowen Basin mining hub, Dr Lynham believed biodiesel would offer substantial opportunity to the local biofuels sector.

Despite concerns biodiesel would prove an unrealistically expensive fuel source for an industry struck by economic downturn, Dr Lynham believed in the long term the shorter supply chain would create efficiencies and make it a competitive alternative.

He said there was still interest from the American Navy, Virgin and Qantas airlines in tapping into the fuel source once it was available.

Although the biofuels sector is widely believed to benefit cane growers, this is only through diversifying the markets for their product.

They receive no extra payment for their cane's use in biofuels.


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