Sup­port for power plan

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT

THE pro­po­nents of a $ 500 mil­lion trans­mis­sion line to link the North West Min­er­als Prov­ince with the east coast elec­tric­ity grid say the pro­posal is pro­gress­ing and at­tract­ing the in­ter­est of po­ten­tial in­vestors and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ers.

The Cop­perString scheme has been adapted from an ear­lier pro­posal in 2008 that fal­tered when Er­gon En­ergy and min­ing com­pany Glen­core opted to rely on the de­vel­op­ment of gas- fired power at Mount Isa.

Now that gas prices have dou­bled, driv­ing up elec­tric­ity costs to as much as dou­ble that of the east coast, and with sep­a­rate plans for a clean en­ergy hub, Cop­perString’s pro­po­nents are re­vis­it­ing the project be­liev­ing it is the an­swer to pow­er­ing the min­ing sec­tor.

Cop­perString founder John O’Brien said it had just lodged a sub­mis­sion to en­ter into fund­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with the North­ern Aus­tralia In­fra­struc­ture Fa­cil­ity. It was also speak­ing with govern­ment and po­ten­tial users.

“Cur­rent elec­tric­ity prices in the NWMP are around $ 150 per megawatt hour while on the east coast the whole­sale price for ma­jor en­ergy users is about $ 70 per megawatt hour for a long- term con­tract, some­times less,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We know that base met­als min­ing and min­er­als pro­cess­ing – the lifeblood of so much of Townsville’s econ­omy and ex­ports via Townsville’s port – ex­pands as en­ergy prices de­crease. As we con­tinue to study the eco­nom­ics of Cop­perString and the po­ten­tial re­duc­tions in power costs, we get more ex­cited by the abil­ity to sig­nif­i­cantly grow ex­ports from Townsville, and there­fore jobs for our re­gion.”

Mr O’Brien said there were more than 15 sig­nif­i­cant min­ing projects un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the re­gion, all need­ing af­ford­able power.

“En­ergy is per­haps the most im­por­tant cost fac­tor in at­tract­ing in­vest­ment in min­ing and pro­cess­ing in the North West Min­er­als Prov­ince,” Mr O’Brien said.

Cop­perString could pig­gy­back on plans by the State Govern­ment to boost trans­mis­sion ca­pac­ity be­tween Townsville and Hugh­en­den through de­vel­op­ment of a clean en­ergy hub but that project ap­pears to have fal­tered af­ter a fea­si­bil­ity study by Pow­er­link. A Pow­er­link spokesman said it had pre­sented the study to the Govern­ment but de­clined to com­ment on its find­ing.

“The tim­ing and full scope of any trans­mis­sion in­fra­struc­ture to be de­liv­ered is sub­ject to the Queens­land Govern­ment’s fi­nal de­ci­sions on the hub,” the spokesman said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.