Return to About The QN Group

Our History

The Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery has been operational for more than 40 years. Read more about our key milestones below:

Year Milestone
1966 Geologists commence exploration of the Greenvale deposit, an area originally mapped by officers of the Bureau of Mineral Resources in 1957
1972 Construction of town and mine at Greenvale and the Greenvale to Yabulu railway commences
1974 Greenvale town, mine and railway completed
1974 Yabulu Nickel Refinery completed and commissioned
1986 First test shipments of imported ore arrived at Yabulu from Indonesia and New Caledonia
1988 First regular shipments of Indonesian ore arrive
1989 First regular shipments of New Caledonian ore arrive
1989 The Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery’s internationally patented ammoniac AL solvent extraction technology is introduced to the refining process to significantly improve the separation of nickel and cobalt
1992 QNI Limited incorporated on 30 April 1992 and then listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on 24 September 1992
1992 Mining at Greenvale ceases
1993 Last ore railment from Greenvale to Yabulu
1993 Mining at Brolga commences
1995 QNI Limited acquires 100 percent ownership of the assets of the QNI Group
1995 Mining at Brolga ceases
1995 All ore feed for the Refinery imported from overseas
1996 The cobalt plant is built at the Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery
1996 The imported ore handling system is built at Port of Townsville
1997 The Refinery is purchased by South African owned Billiton
2001 BHP and Billiton merge. The Refinery becomes a wholly owned BHP Billiton asset
2007 The Yabulu Expansion Project is completed. The completion of the expansion sees Yabulu processing ore from BHP Billiton’s Ravensthorpe mine in Western Australia
2009 Following an Options Study, Mr Clive Palmer purchases Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd and the Refinery
2016 Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery enters care and maintenance

Permanent link to this article: