NQ has $400B on line with CopperString
North Queensland has more than $400 billion worth of mineral resources, as well as existing processing operations, which are at risk if plans to deliver cheaper power do not proceed, a group proposing a $1.5 billion transmission line says.
CopperString plans to build an 1100km overhead high-voltage power line to connect the North West Minerals Province, including Mount Isa, into the coastal electricity grid, but is now seeking a State Government commitment of $20 million.
CopperString's community advisory group, including former Labor minister Tony McGrady, will meet in Townsville today to discuss new research findings by CopperString.
This includes that the region hosts more than $400 billion worth of in-ground mineral resources and that there is a risk to existing operations supporting thousands of jobs because of high input costs including from energy.
CopperString founder John O'Brien said the analysis showed the North West Minerals Province was a jewel in the crown of the regional economy.
"Incredibly, the remaining mineral resources have an in-situ value of over US$400 billion
($650 billion) and new economy mineral resources make up a large portion of this value," Mr O'Brien said.
"This is very exciting for the future, if we can ensure our costs are globally competitive."
The province hosts 21.2 per cent of the world's lead resources, 11 per cent of the world's zinc resources, 5 per cent of the world's silver resources and 1.7 per cent of the world's copper resources.
Mr O'Brien said the challenge was that input costs rendered much of this opportunity uncompetitive and unlikely to be developed, while the jobs tied to existing operations at Mount Isa and Townsville could also be lost.
Katter's Australian Party has called on the State Government to make a statement by backing the project with a $15 million contribution.
State Labor MP for Townsville Scott Stewart said CopperString's submission for $20 million in funding would be "considered on its merits".
Mr Stewart said the Government's Coordinator-General had declared CopperString a coordinated project, while Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had announced funding of more than a $1 million.
"The Palaszczuk Government have contributed significantly so far to the project development costs," Mr Stewart said.
"The Queensland Government has just received a submission seeking additional funding for the project and that will be considered on its merits."