Copperstring 2.0 and state gov strike crucial new deal
QUEENSLAND'S most significant power network project has been given a clear run to work on reaching a crucial investment milestone after a deal struck with the state government.
The Townsville Bulletin can reveal the state government and the proponent of Copperstring 2.0, a $1.7 billion transmission line that will connect the resource-rich North West Minerals Province (NWMP) to the national grid, have inked a deal for the government to take on financial risk of parts of the development.
This gives the company a clear run to reach its crucial financial investment decision checkpoint within the next few months.
The milestone is essential to the backers of Copperstring 2.0, which include major international infrastructure fund manager DIF and commercial banks, releasing loans to get construction underway.
It is also vital to proponent CuString getting a potential loan tick-off from the federal government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said the deal, signed off last week, recognised the project's "potential importance" as a COVID-19 recovery measure.
Under the implementation agreement, the government will underwrite additional "multimillion-dollar development costs", including completing the environmental impact study which is underway.
Signalling her government's support for the resources sector, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the construction of the 1100km transmission line would help support thousands of jobs in the NWMP, spur the opening of new mines and investments in renewables and manufacturing and underpin the state's post-pandemic economic recovery.
"I don't just want to see these new economy minerals mined in Queensland, I want to see the batteries made here as well because that means more stable full-time manufacturing jobs," she said.
CuString is expected to reveal in coming days that is has signed on five foundation customers to back it in during the development phase, including Dugald River mine operator MMG, manufacturer Incitec Pivot, Glencore's Queensland Metals, New Century Resources and Chinova Resources.
CuString director Joseph O'Brien said the government's financial support, which totals $16 million so far, had allowed the company to continue investing in pre-construction works.
"The (agreement) is a valuable confidence boost for the minerals and clean-energy projects looking to use the Copperstring network between Townsville and Mount Isa," he said.
Originally published as Copperstring 2.0 and state government strike crucial new deal