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Meeting global silica demand, thanks to Indigenous miners



The Cape Flattery Silica Mines (CFSM) project in Queensland’s far north has been recognised for its Indigenous employment and production results.

The CFSM project is located 350km north of Cairns and exports more than three million tonnes of high quality silica sand every year.

The project is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation and has been owned by the company since 1977.

Queensland’s Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the project’s level of Indigenous employment is almost 10 times their representation in the state’s resources sector and almost 80 times their representation in the Queensland population.

“The mine has been operating since 1967 and employs about 100 people, with 40 per cent identified as Indigenous employees,” Stewart said.

“Businesses such as CFSM that fosters diversity and sustainability continue to play a vital role in Queensland’s economic recovery.”

Indigenous Australians represent just 3.3 per cent of the Australian population and 0.51 per cent of the Queensland population, which makes CFSM’s 40 per cent representation rate all the more impressive.

Queensland’s Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford said CFSM was fulfilling its role in the country’s economic rebuild.

“It’s wonderful to see CFSM engaging with the community, employing local people and helping generate economic stimulus,” Crawford said.

Metallica Minerals recently announced a significant 298 per cent increase to its resources at the CFSM, bringing the inferred resource to 38.3 Mt and the indicated resource to 5.4 Mt.

Stewart explained the integral role the resource will play in the future of high-tech products, and how silica mines take exceptionally well to rehabilitation.

“Silica sand is the primary raw material used in making glass products, and demand for high quality silica has been soaring for the production of ultra-clear glass for high-tech applications such as solar panels, smart phones, fibre-optics, TV flat screens and LED lights,” Stewart said.

“After extracting silica sand, native seeds are sowed into the soil to return the site to a scene of greenery, complete with trees and other natural vegetation.”

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