A $300 million investment by Korea Zinc Company will fund a major expansion of the Sun Metals Zinc Refinery just outside of Townsville, increasing zinc production and creating hundreds of new jobs.

Korea Zinc will make the investment via its Australian subsidiary Sun Metals Corporation (SMC), which operates a number of enterprises in the Townsville region, including the zinc refinery and a co-located solar farm.

Announcing the news on 7 December, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the expansion would create new jobs both during and after construction.

‘The expansion is expected to support an estimated 350 jobs during construction, and there will be around 100 additional permanent refinery and logistic workers once operational,’ she said.

‘Zinc production will increase from around 220,000 to 270,000 tonnes per year, which is great news for North Queensland and Sun Metals Corporation.’

Sun Metals CEO Mr Yun Choi said that the company had worked closely with the Queensland Government to make the expansion possible.

‘SMC has consistently said the key to making today’s announcement was working out logistics around port access and access to the road network,’ he said.

‘Thanks to the leadership of the Premier, those issues have now been resolved.’

In August this year, Sun Metals also opened a 125-megawatt solar farm at the refinery site, which is located 15km south of Townsville.

Energy generated by the solar farm will help to power the expanded refinery.

The refinery expansion project was confirmed during the Premier’s trade mission to Korea in early November.

The project is scheduled to begin immediately, and is likely to be completed by the first half of 2021.

Increasing investment in Queensland is a key target of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.