The Queensland Government has reached a pivotal moment in the planned $1 billion overhead high-voltage electricity transmission line, due to connect major energy users and North West Queensland’s public to the national electricity grid.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, said Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General today declared CuString Pty Ltd’s CopperString Project a coordinated project.

“The proponent will now have to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project, which could create up to 400 full-time jobs during its three-and-a-half-year construction phase and up to 30 full-time jobs once fully operational,” he said.

“The project is a 1100km 275 kilovolt overhead high-voltage electricity transmission line connecting the North West Minerals Provence and Mount Isa to the National Electricity Market grid south of Townsville.

“The proponent has stated the project will provide reliable electricity to communities and mines in the area, as well as offering an alternative electricity supply to the North West.”

Subject to approvals, CuString proposes to commence the first stage of construction, a 720km overhead high-voltage electricity line from Woodstock, south of Townsville, to the Chumvale Substation, near Cloncurry, by the end of 2020, with operations commencing by the end of 2022.

Member for Mundingburra, Coralee O’Rourke, said the project traverses eight local government areas including Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Flinders, Richmond, McKinlay, Cloncurry and Mount Isa.

“This is great news for local job creation and economic development in our region,” she said.

Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said the whole North West region would benefit from a project like this.

“The flow on effects of a project this size would see more jobs and investment opportunity for the entire region, with potential industrial manufacturing in the larger centres, as well as the potential benefits of a more economical power supply,” Mr Stewart said.

Member for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper, said subject to approvals, construction could commence in 2020, with initial commissioning of the connection to Chumvale in 2022.

“CuString then proposes to extend the line from the Chumvale Substation to Mount Isa and south to the Phosphate Hill Power Station and Cannington Mine as early as the beginning of 2024, subject to demand,” Mr Harper said.

Mr Dick said the independent Coordinator-General will now prepare draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement (EIS) that the proponent must produce and invite the community for public comment.

“The proponent will then have to produce a comprehensive EIS for the project that considers all potential environmental, social, economic and infrastructure impacts,” he said.

“The EIS will look carefully at these impacts, and ultimately, it is up to the proponent to justify the economic need.”

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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