Initial construction works for Powerlink’s $5 billion CopperString project in North Queensland are now underway. 

The project’s first and largest workforce accommodation site will house those charged with building the 840km high-voltage transmission line. 

CopperString is an almost 1000km high-voltage transmission line that will connect Mt Isa to the Queensland SuperGrid for the first time. It is expected to be completed in 2029, weather and construction conditions permitting. 

ATCO Structures will deliver the workforce accommodation, which is due to be completed by early 2025. 

The workforce accommodation will house up to 550 construction workers at its peak. These workers will construct a nearby substation and progress early stages of the transmission line development, heading west from Hughenden out to Mt Isa. 

Construction includes site preparation and civil works, as well as installation and maintenance of accommodation quarters over the site’s five-year life span. 

Work on the high-voltage transmission line itself is due to commence mid-2025 from Hughenden, travelling west towards Mount Isa. Once complete, work will then commence on the Eastern portion of the line from Hughenden back to Townsville.  

Construction on workforce accommodation at Richmond will commence in September 2024. 

Queensland Premier, Steven Miles, said that CopperString will be the catalyst for transforming Queensland’s north and north-west, and that it will open up mining opportunities, create more jobs and unlock critical minerals that will be essential in developing renewable technologies. 

“Queenslanders deserve cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy – to power their homes, our schools, hospitals, shopping centres and more,” Mr Miles said.  

“That’s why my government is embarking on the biggest ever expansion to the state’s publicly owned energy system.  

“This is the start of a long and exciting future for the region and our state.”  

Minister for Energy, Mick de Brenni, said, “CopperString is supercharging North Queensland jobs, industry and economic future, and today’s groundbreaking is a further demonstration of why having a plan for Queensland’s future really matters.  

“The renewable energy transition presents the biggest jobs opportunity our state has ever seen, and with the majority of Queensland’s clean economy jobs based in regional Queensland, towns like Hughenden will be some of the first to benefit.  

“We’re powering ahead with this transformational project, and with the kick off of construction on workforce accommodation, Hughenden, and the Flinders Shire can look forward to a big boost in economic opportunity as the central hub for about 500 workers in clean economy jobs,” Mr de Brenni said. 

Since acquiring the project, Powerlink Queensland has powered on with progress and recently announced the purchase of significant equipment critical to the delivery of the project, including shunt reactors, transformers and high voltage powerline. 

A 100-strong project team has also been established, alongside Joint Venture partners UGL and CPB Contractors, with all detailed design on the transmission corridor well underway. 

At a historic ceremony at Hughenden on 9 July 2024, Powerlink was officially welcomed by Traditional Owners, the Yirendali People. This was the first time in more than 50 years some of the remaining Elders have returned to their Country. 

Powerlink Chief Executive, Paul Simshauser, said that CopperString will be calling Hughenden home for the next five years.  

“This is a significant milestone for this project marked at a historic ceremony in Hughenden today and is testament to more than twelve months of hard work to get the project to this stage by the CopperString project team,” Mr Simshauser said.  

“It was a personal highlight to see the meaning of being back on Country to the Yirendali People, a clear indication that our team are committed to respecting local communities and building a lasting legacy for generations.  

 “We are proud to be building the future of North Queensland, starting right here in Hughenden.” 

The Queensland Government said that this is all part of Powerlink’s commitment to developing and building a lasting legacy for communities, businesses and industry along the transmission corridor for generations to come. 

Commencing in late July 2024, Powerlink will be offering free sessions for businesses along the CopperString corridor to build their capabilities. 

The program includes five workshops and one-on-one assistance to help businesses build confidence to bid on major projects and supply chain work in the region. 

The first workshop will be held in Hughenden on July 23, followed by one in Richmond on July 25. For more information, visit 

Featured image: Scott Stewart, Cameron Dick, Steven Miles, Aaron Harper, Mick de Brenni on the CopperString construction site. Image/Queenland Government.

©2024 Utility Magazine. All rights reserved


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