NT gas pipeline coming Mount Isa’s way

HAPPY: Officials celebrate after it was announced the NT gas pipeline was coming to Mount Isa.
HAPPY: Officials celebrate after it was announced the NT gas pipeline was coming to Mount Isa.

FIFTEEN permanent jobs will be created in Mount Isa after the route for an $800 million gas pipeline from Tennant Creek to the Copper City was given the green light.

The Northern Territory Government selected water and infrastructure company Jemena to build the 622km pipeline, which will generate 560 jobs when construction starts in 2017.

Mount Isa City Council Mayor Tony McGrady said the news would give the community another boost after Glencore announced last week it would continue its copper smelter operation until 2022.

“I always refer to Mount Isa as the premier mining city of Australia, but from now on I’m going to call it the premier resources city,” Councillor McGrady said.

“We will now be perceived as one of the great resource cities, and not just in Australia, but in the world.”

Mount Isa MP Rob Katter congratulated the work of State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and other key stakeholders for cooperating to bring the pipeline to Mount Isa.

Mr Katter said he held talks with Mr Lynham and the leading tenders about the benefits of the Tennant Creek-Mount Isa route.

“The pipeline is not only a significant industry enabler by way of cheaper energy for new mining projects but will also boost prospects for jobs and offer local suppliers much-needed opportunities to supply labour and materials for the construction of the project,” he said.

“We also know of a number of phosphate and uranium projects in the corridor between Tennant Creek and Mount Isa, and with this access to cheaper energy, any projects which were borderline to go ahead, will now become much more viable.”

A lengthier, more expensive route from Alice Springs to Moomba in South Australia’s north favoured by two of the four shortlisted tenders was also considered by the Northern Territory Government and had its supporters.

Dr Lynham, who flew to Mount Isa on Tuesday for the announcement, was concerned enough to travel to Darwin last month to personally lobby for the Tennant Creek-Mount Isa option. 

“I really pushed our case home,”  Dr Lynham said.

“It’s so good to be here (in Mount Isa) to see that Queensland has won the gas interconnector pipeline.”

Mount Isa to Townsville Econmic Zone president David Glasson said the positive outcome was the result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

“Soon after the proposed pipeline concept was announced, industry leaders in both centres formed the Tennant Creek to Mount Isa Cross Border Alliance to highlight the benefits of the Mount Isa route, which was communicated to State and Commonwealth governments,” he said.

The pipeline is expected to become operational in 2018.