The Queensland Government will give the green light for further assessment of the $5 billion Hells Gates Dam proposal to help the project progress.

Natural Resources Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, announced that the state would sign a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth to progress further assessment.

“I know our three local Members of Parliament in Townsville and the people of North Queensland want to see this project progress,” Dr Lynham said.

“We’ve listened and we will work with the Commonwealth to continue the investigation of the Hells Gates proposal.

“However the Palaszczuk Government’s bottom line remains that any major investment like this needs to deliver value for money for Queensland taxpayers.

“And this includes conducting geotechnical assessments to determine the infrastructure and construction costs.

“The best way to establish that is for a detailed assessment that establishes all the costs and benefits.”

Townsville Enterprise Limited (TEL) conducted an initial assessment of the Hells Gates Dam last year for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund. TEL will lead the new assessment.

The Hells Gates Dam proposal aims to dam the Upper Burdekin River north of Charters Towers. Hells Gates is proposed to provide long-term water security for Townsville and supply water to a 50,000 hectare irrigated agriculture scheme.

The total project proposal is estimated to cost $5.35 billion, and it comprises:

  • A 2110GL dam
  • Pumped hydroelectric scheme of up to 1200MW
  • A 20MW solar farm and 15MW run-of-river hydro facility at the toe of the dam
  • A pipeline connecting the Hells Gates Dam to Ross River Dam

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