Collie identified as hub for concrete production to replace coal-powered industries

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
A Murdoch University research team worked with local industry in a Collie feasibility study.
Camera IconA Murdoch University research team worked with local industry in a Collie feasibility study. Credit: Colliecrete

WA’s first geopolymer concrete manufacturing hub is on the cards for Collie after a feasibility study said it had a viable business case.

A Murdoch University research team investigated using fly ash and other industrial by-products and waste materials as an ingredient in a low carbon concrete product called ‘Colliecrete’.

Field research, backed up by laboratory testing, showed Collie had all the by-products needed to make ‘Colliecrete’, which could be used to make wall blocks, sea walls, sound barrier walls, culverts, kerbing and storm water pipes.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who was in Collie on Thursday alongside Murdoch University and Colliecrete researchers to announce the study’s findings, said it would help the town as it moves away from coal-powered industries.

“The McGowan Government has been working hard to strengthen and diversify Collie’s economy through the development and attraction of new industries, including green manufacturing opportunities such as ‘Colliecrete’ as part of its economic transition,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“This study has shown there is significant potential to recycle coal fly ash in manufacturing a low carbon cement product, giving new purpose to a by-product left over from 60 years of burning coal in power generation plants.”

The feasibility study, which was supported through the Collie Industry Attraction and Development Fund, said there was potential to establish a geopolymer concrete manufacturing industry and create jobs.

The State Government announced in June Collie’s State-owned power stations would be closed by the end of the decade. There are already considerable stockpiles to support the manufacturing of ‘Colliecrete’ products well beyond that date.

About 300,000 tonnes of flyash is produced in Collie each year, with 60 years of stockpiles from coal-fired power generation that could be reclaimed long after the power stations close.

Muja Power Station C’s Unit 5 will close later this year, with Unit 6 to cease generation in 2024. The Collie Power Station will close in late 2027 before the last remaining Muja D generators are shut in late 2029.

Premier Mark McGowan unveiled nearly $550 million in additional investment to help Collie transition away from coal when the shutdowns were announced.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails