Jul 9, 2021


Jul 9, 2021

The KAP is pressing the State’s Energy Minister and Premier to honour their promises and move urgently to deliver CopperString 2.0 with a ‘shovel-ready’ date of later this year as pressure mounts from investors to realise the future of the $1.7 billion project.

“This project promises to revolutionize the mineral mining industry and it’s now at a critical juncture where decisions have to be made,” KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said, echoing a statement from private company behind the project, CuString chairman John O’Brien.

“State approval processes enabling the building of the $1.7 billion transmission and fibre optic project are now needed urgently, including setting up the regulatory framework that exists across the remainder of the National Electricity Market.”

The KAP requested that the regulatory coverage of the North-West Minerals Province be brought in line with other major resources and minerals processing areas connected to the national grid, including the Bowen and Surat Basins and Gladstone.

It comes as Mr Katter penned an open letter to the minerals and energy industry expressing deep concern over the NWMP’s exorbitant power prices stemming from its single, privately-owned generator with no price regulation or spare generating capacity, blaming the Government’s negligent ignorance for a lack of competition and investment in shared infrastructure.

“For all their decarbonisation rhetoric, the Government continues to allow the NWMP to flounder under an investment-killing, uncompetitive electricity market while facilitating further development of coal and gas projects through access to competitive and reliable power,” he wrote.

Mr Katter said the Government had provided hundreds of millions supporting individual projects like Kidston and CleanCo when it should instead deliver shared infrastructure for the benefit of multiple industries.

“The Government currently has a $386 million fund to support renewable energy infrastructure across the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone and part of their $2 billion investment to power more jobs, which could and should be used to support CopperString and ensure more Government control,” he said.

Holding the Government to account, Mr Katter reminded Energy Minister Mick DeBrenni of his March statement that he would continue working closely with CopperString as the project was delivered, citing the Government’s clear track record and assurance that it was well on the way to meeting its renewable energy commitments.

Mr DeBrenni outlined the Premier’s announcement of a $14.8 million investment in the project, followed by an election commitment to underwrite the initial development cost, with a joint funding announcement of $17 million from Sun Metals and CopperString, backed by the Government.

In June, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk outlined her implementation agreement with CopperString to build a 1,100 kilometre transmission line connecting the NWMP to the NEM, providing cheaper energy to developing projects like cobalt mining in Walford Creek, zinc mining at Dugald River, and the Copper Mountain Mine Project.

In 2020, the Premier also claimed that her Government’s support for CopperString would open up the “New Mount Isa” of the NWMP with new century minerals like cobalt and vanadium.

The KAP urged Labor to move swiftly to ensure CopperString 2.0 was built, setting a ‘shovel-ready’ date as early as October this year.