Queensland’s billion-dollar Copper String project has reached a major milestone, being declared a coordinated project by the state’s Coordinator-General.
The project aims to connect major energy users and North-West Queensland to the national electricity grid with an overhead high-voltage transmission line.
It has the ability to create up to 400 full time jobs during its three-and-a-half-year construction phase, with 30 jobs when fully operational.
Subject to approvals, CuString proposes to commence the first stage of construction on a 720-kilometre section of the electricity line by the end of 2020. This first stage would stretch from Woodstock, sought of Townsville, to the Chumbale substation, near Cloncurry.
The project will traverse eight local government areas including Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Flinders, Richmond, McKinlay, Cloncurry and Mount Isa.
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Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the proponent will now need to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement.
“The project is a 1100-kilometre 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,” he said.
“The proponent has stated the project will provide reliable electricity to communities and mines in the area, as well offering an alternative electricity supply to the North West.”
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 Sub-station to Mount Isa and south to the Phosphate Hill Power Station and Cannington Mine as early as the beginning of 2024, subject to demand,” 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.”