A North Queensland delegation is headed for Brisbane next month to discuss progress toward a “Sustainable Resources Corridor” vision and development of the $1 billion CopperString power project.
The Northern Queensland Sustainable Resources Corridor Regional Reference Group (RRG) was established in April to provide community and industry input into the development of the CopperString 2.0 project and associated major investment activities.
The RRG will be joined by CopperString 2.0 executives to brief ministers and MPs, highlighting the significance of the supply chain that delivers minerals from the North West Minerals Province to export markets via the Port of Townsville.
CopperString 2.0 project executive director and RRG deputy chair John O’Brien said CopperString 2.0 analysis over the past 18 months had shown that at least $4 billion would be added to the state economy by connecting the NWMP to the national grid.
“This will not only support new mining and processing, it will reduce electricity prices across the state through the integration of more than 1000MW of new electricity generation in North Queensland, including around 400MW of dispatchable gas-fired generation that already exists in the NWMP,” Mr O’Brien said.
The CopperString 2.0 proposal involves a 1100km, 275-kilovolt overhead high-voltage electricity transmission line connecting the North West to the National Electricity Market (NEM).
Construction is anticipated to commence in late 2020 once all approvals have been achieved.
Mr O’Brien said wholesale electricity prices in the NWMP were more than double those on the east coast and this was undermining the future of the export supply chain.
“The NWMP is isolated from the national electricity grid and there is not the depth and diversity of supply to deliver internationally-competitive energy costs to support or expand the mining and industrial base that deliver billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the Queensland economy,” he said.
Former State Minister, Member of Parliament and Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady is RRG chairman.
Mr McGrady said the RRG would be excited to have the opportunity to meet at Parliament.
“At the top of our agenda is promoting economic benefit for North Queensland and understanding how the CopperString 2.0 project can stimulate growth and jobs. We want to understand how it aligns with priorities for greater adoption of renewable energy, development of ‘new economy’ minerals in the North West, and putting downward pressure on electricity prices,” Mr McGrady said.
The RRG will be meeting at Parliament House on August 22.