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The proposed high voltage transmission network that will connect Queensland’s North West to the National Electricity Market, the CopperString 2.0 project, is set to begin, with project developers stating it will be ‘shovel ready’ by October 2021. 

CopperString 2.0 is due for completion in 2024, supporting 750 construction jobs and 3,560 long-term indirect jobs.

Townsville businessman John O’Brien, speaking at a Regional Reference Group (RRG) meeting in Townsville, chaired by Hon Tony McGrady AM, CuString Pty Ltd Chairman, said the project would be ready to “pull the trigger” by October, pending final government approvals.

Mr O’Brien said, “With the support of the Queensland and Australian Governments who are critical to orchestrate the growth of Northern Queensland’s clean industrial economy, we will be ready to pull the trigger on our open access, game-changing infrastructure and commence construction before the end of the year.

“CopperString 2.0 will extend the national transmission grid through a 1,100km power network, which will not only create greater energy security, but it will also power the growth of new opportunities for minerals, industrial manufacturing, clean energy large-scale agriculture and greater access to faster broadband at a time when governments around the world are intensely focused on secure mineral supply.”

CopperString 2.0 development priorities are:

  • Finalise the remaining items under the Implementation Agreement with the Queensland Government, as committed to during the 2020 State election
  • Finalise relevant environmental approvals and engagement with traditional owners and landholders
  • Finalise negotiations with the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility on its financing offer for CopperString
  • Finalise the Federal Government-funded study into the potential of CopperString 2.0 to support the development of a “clean industrial ecosystem” across the Townsville to Mount Isa corridor and the North West Minerals Province

Mr O’Brien told the RRG meeting that other announcements important to local communities will be made in coming weeks, including information sessions regarding procurement opportunities. 

Including the broadband initiative that will see CopperString’s high-capacity fibre optic cable become available, to strengthen communications services across the Townsville to Mount Isa corridor.

Mr McGrady said the strong support from the Queensland and Australian Governments was recognition of the transformational potential of CopperString 2.0.

“The North West Minerals Province has the critical, new economy minerals that are in great demand around the world. We need to develop these mineral reserves not just for ourselves, but for the rest of the world. 

“The development of renewable energy, advanced manufacturing and battery storage technologies is dependent on access to these minerals. Our ability to develop these mineral reserves relies on clean energy and we have the best in the world and we need to build it at scale,” Mr McGrady said.

Mr McGrady said that CopperString 2.0 provides the infrastructure to energise those ambitions, and that he is very pleased with the project’s progress and the momentum it has had with leaders, Ministers and senior government officials in both Brisbane and Canberra. 

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