Namoi Cotton is looking to have a new gin up and running in North-West Queensland by the 2026 growing season.
The company’s plans for the region has featured in an industry networking event in Cloncurry with Eva copper mine proponent Harmony also among the presentations.
Chief executive officer John Stevenson said Namoi Cotton had not chosen the specific site for its new gin, which is expected to cost $40 million to $50 million to bring online.
“The Flinders catchment area is already well developed as a growing area, there are already crops there, so anywhere along that line makes sense,” he said.
Julie Creek and Cloncurry are among the locations Namoi Cotton is assessing.
Mr Stevenson said electricity supply was a major issue for the planned development.
“Generally none of them (towns in the region) have sufficient capacity to handle the amount of electricity we need, which means they need major upgrades, and we’re currently in the process of getting those assessments back from Ergon,” he said.
Establishing its own generation capacity, potentially through a solar facility, is among the options on the table.
While Mr Stevenson described the State Government’s plans to deliver the CopperString transmission project as good news for the region, Namoi is moving more rapidly in its plans than that project timeframe.
With the 2026 growing season in its sights, Namoi is looking to have the site and plans finalised by the end of this year to allow for an 18-24-month construction period.
Mr Stevenson said the development should provide a huge opportunity for local contractors and suppliers.
“We would be very keen to partner with local providers…anybody with the ability to provide a good stable workforce, I think we would be very keen to look to engage,” he said.
As well as providing job opportunities in the construction phase and gin operation, the development has the potential to boost cotton growing throughout the North West.
And the leftover byproduct – cotton seed – is a highly sought-after livestock feed source.
“That seed product can be fed into the livestock industry. It is used as a drought feed currently in North Queensland, but the freight makes it a very expensive product,” Mr Stevenson said.
“Having a gin in in that region and producing that feed opens up a whole new opportunity to think about how you are going to grow your herd.”
In addition to planning a new gin based in the Flinders catchment area, Namoi Cotton is eyeing the potential for another gin in the north of the state, potentially in the Georgetown area.
Mr Stevenson said the main objective of presenting at the upcoming forum in Cloncurry was to keep people updated on the gin project’s progress.
Secondly, he said Namoi was not looking to own the facility 100 per cent and was seeking potential stakeholders to partner it in the venture. It was also an opportunity to get the word out to potential growers in the area on the benefits of producing cotton.
Namoi Cotton has 11 operational cotton gins located from Goondiwindi in Queensland through to Hillston, NSW.