The Queensland Government has announced the delivery of the $5 billion CopperString 2.0 project, which will connect renewable wind and solar resources with critical minerals mining and processing in North Queensland. 

The Copperstring 2.0 is a 1,100km, high voltage transmission line proposal to connect the North West Minerals Province to the National Electricity Market and will unlock Australia’s largest renewable energy zone and more than $500 billion dollars in new critical minerals in North Queensland.

The project scope includes an increase in transmission capacity for the section between Townsville and Hughenden, from 330kV to 500kV, to unlock the renewable energy potential of the region. The estimated project cost has been updated for current global supply chain conditions. The Townsville to Hughenden section is proposed to contain 500kV, the Hughenden to Cloncurry section proposed to hold 330kV, the Cloncurry to Mount Isa section proposed to comprise 220kV.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said, “CopperString is the most significant investment in economic infrastructure in North Queensland in generations. Unlocking affordable renewable energy and our critical minerals will benefit Townsville, Mount Isa and every town in between – unlocking thousands of jobs and billions in investment.

“Townsville will become a renewable manufacturing epicentre between the world and the largest renewable energy zone in the nation and the world class North West Minerals Province.

“CopperString ensures that Mount Isa will continue to be the heart of the North West Minerals Province.

“CopperString and the Townsville critical minerals demonstration plant will act as a magnet for investment into North Queensland during the clean energy industrial revolution and that means good secure mining and manufacturing jobs for Queenslanders.”

Early works on the project will start in 2023 with construction planned to commence in 2024. The project is expected to be completed by 2029.

CopperString 2.0 will connect vast renewable wind and solar resources with critical minerals mining and processing that can be used to make batteries and renewables in North Queensland. The project is part of the $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, unlocking more, secure jobs.

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, said, “The pressures on Australia’s energy system in recent years have once again proved the benefits of Queensland’s public ownership of our electricity assets.

“Our Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan makes clear that we will own 100 per cent of our transmission assets.

“This announcement delivers on that commitment, and we can only deliver on this commitment because at least $500 million of the cost is being delivered through our new progressive coal royalty tiers.”

Construction is expected to support 800 direct jobs over six years and thousands of new jobs in critical minerals mining, manufacturing and construction of renewables.

Queensland Energy Minister, Mick de Brenni, said, “Our Queensland SuperGrid, the nation’s largest, allows Queensland to produce, use, and export the next era of high value extracted minerals–through the renewable energy that the world is craving, we’ll create literally tens of thousands of well paid jobs for generations to come.

“Building this transmission line opens up 6,000MW of potential renewable energy in the North Queensland Renewable Energy Zone, creating more jobs than our state has ever seen in a new, decarbonised resources sector stretching from Townsville to Mt Isa–and they’re starting right now, with early works packages to be rolled out almost immediately.”

Queensland Resources Minister, Scott Stewart, said, “Queensland has vast reserves of critical minerals, such as copper, zinc, vanadium and cobalt, that the world is demanding to produce batteries and renewable energy as part of their plans to decarbonise.

“Copperstring 2.0 will help create opportunities for resources companies to develop critical minerals projects and the broader North West Minerals Province.

“This announcement is bigger than just Townsville and North Queensland, it’s a Eureka moment for the whole world.”

Publicly owned transmission business, Powerlink, will lead work on the project.

View more information here: Media Resource Centre – Energy

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