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Leaf turns to next stage of Queensland biomanufacturing hub plans

Australia-headed biotech company Leaf Resources Ltd is advancing plans to develop a bio-manufacturing hub in a sugarcane producing region of Queensland (QLD), thanks to the support from the Palaszczuk Government, according to Cameron Dick, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.

Minister Dick recently met with representatives from Leaf Resources at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Philadelphia, USA to confirm the company’s next steps in advancing a potential regional Queensland biorefinery.

Leaf Resources, based at Eight Mile Plains, is proposing a biorefinery that would use a patented technology known as Glycell to speed up and reduce the cost of converting plant waste such as sugarcane fibre into sustainable chemicals, biofuels and bioplastics. This is a world-leading technology with the potential to attract other biorefinery companies to the state, seeking the industrial sugars produced by the technology, said Minister Dick in a statement

Minister Dick said the company will use its funding from the Palaszczuk Government’s Biofutures Acceleration Program to now embark on validation works and pre-feasibility studies into plant waste and biomass.

The company sees the potential for Glycell technology to support the development of a bio-manufacturing hub in regional Queensland. As part of these investigations, the company will explore locations for the proposed biorefinery, with a likely focus on Bundaberg, Mackay, the Burdekin and Far North Queensland, Dick said.

Leaf Resources Managing Director Ken Richards said he was looking forward to working with the Queensland Government to move into the next phase of the proposed biorefinery project.

As a proud Brisbane-based company, we know first-hand the significant opportunities offered by Queensland for biorefinery development, in terms of abundant feedstock such as sugarcane fibre, a highly-skilled workforce, and quality infrastructure and transport systems. We’re excited to continue to work with the Queensland Government as we move forward with developing local opportunities to further commercialise Leaf’s Glycell process, Richards said.

Minister Dick said his recent trip to the BIO World Congress provided a unique global forum for him to promote Queensland’s advantages to the world.

With more than 1000 global business leaders, investors and policy-makers in attendance, the Congress provided a platform to establish or strengthen direct relationships with many leading companies, individuals and institutions on behalf of our government. It was also a prime opportunity to roll out the welcome mat for global companies to locate and grow industrial biotech business in Queensland, and I have high hopes that reinforcing our position in the international bio community will translate into further investment and projects in our state, Minister Dick said.

Mr Dick said in addition to meeting up with the Leaf representatives, he also engaged with other global leaders including Calysta, Lygos, Genomatica, Gevo, and Agrisoma, and Mercurius Biorefining, a company Queensland partnered with at last year’s Congress in Montreal.

Through incentives from our AU$20 million Biofutures Roadmap and Action Plan, Mercurius is progressing plans to use plant waste to produce fuels, chemicals and plastics at commercial-scale biorefineries here in Queensland. The Congress also gave me a global stage from which to announce our support for the World Business Council on Sustainable Development’s below50 initiative and to promote our AU$1 million Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program. I left Philadelphia with the message ringing out loud and clear that Queensland is the place to do biofutures business in the Asia-Pacific, and in October this year, we’ll have another opportunity to show the world just that, ended Minister Dick.

The Palaszczuk Government’s Biofutures Acceleration Program is supporting a multi-million-dollar pipeline of planned biorefinery projects that could generate more than 330 jobs for regional Queensland. The Palaszczuk Government is a platinum sponsor for the Bioenergy Strong 2018 Conference, which will be held in Brisbane October 17-18.

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