The Queensland Government has approved further assessment for the $5 billion Hells Gates Dam proposal.
The Hells Gates Dam proposal aims to dam the Upper Burdekin river, north of Charters Towers and provide long term water security for Townsville and supply water to a 50,000-hectare irrigated agriculture scheme.
It also includes the Big Rocks Weir for long term water security for Charters Towers Regional council.
The total proposal is expected to cost $5.35 billion and include a 2110 gigalitre dam, a pumped hydroelectric scheme of up to 1200 megawatts, a 20 megawatt solar farm, a 15 megawatt run-of-river hyrdo facility at the toe of the dam and a pipeline from Hells Gates Dam to Ross River Dam.
The state and federal governments will sign a bilateral agreement to further progress on the project.
Natural Resources Minister, Anthony Lynham, said the Queensland Government has listened to the people of North Queensland and will work with the Federal Government to continue the investigation of the proposal.
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“However the State Government’s bottom line remains that any major investment like this needs to deliver value for money for Queensland taxpayers,” he said.
“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 conducted the initial assessment of the Hells Gates Dam last year for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and will lead the new assessment.
“As with any project, the State Government will always ensure that Queensland taxpayers are delivered value for money and the appropriate planning, cost benefit and due diligence is undertaken,” Lynham said.