Townsville Bulletin

Minerals fund to benefit North


Joseph O’brien

THE T proponents of the Copperstri­ng transmissi­on tr line project have welcomed moves by the federal government to help finance critical minerals projects in Australia.

Custring managing director Jos seph O’brien said the $2bn critical m minerals fund, announced by Prime Minster Scott Morrison, was very significan­t for mining developmen­ts in our region, as well as for their $1.7bn C Copperstri­ng project.

“The government’s willingnes­s to use its capital to ensure we sustain and grow production out of the Townsville to Mount Isa corridor is very good for greenfield mine d developmen­ts and existing mine expansions,” Mr O’brien said. “That is also very good for Copperstri­ng in maximising the benefits of the transmissi­on line.”

The new fund will help fill gaps in financing for critical minerals projects by providing project loans.

It is considered strategic for government because of the global importance of critical minerals for energy and technology.

The Critical Minerals Facility will be managed by the government’s Export Finance Australia and report to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan.

Critical minerals include more than 30 metals used in advanced technology, aerospace and batteries like lithium, cobalt, vanadium and scandium, which are found in north Queensland.

Mr O’brien said the fund was an enormous opportunit­y for North Queensland.

“One of the biggest challenges that the world faces is getting enough minerals like copper and new minerals line vanadium,” Mr O'brien said.

“What the government is saying is that here is not just an economic opportunit­y but it’s an issue of national importance.

“They are very active is looking at ways to deploy capital that contribute­s to shoring up mineral supply,” he said.

The state government last month announced the approval for a $250m Saint Elmo vanadium and high-purity alumina project near Julia Creek, while north of Mount Isa there is the large Eva copper project.

Mr O’brien said Copperstri­ng could deliver the lower-cost energy the mines needed to make their developmen­t viable.

Custring will develop a 1000km transmissi­on line to connect the North West Minerals Province with the National Electricit­y Market at Townsville.

Mr O’brien said they hoped to finalise engineerin­g and environmen­tal impact studies for the project shortly and would continue to work with the state government on regulatory approvals and with the Northern Australia Infrastruc­ture Facility on financing.

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