Resources Minister Matt Canavan has said the Kidston power project is up for a potential loan from the much-criticised Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
After an independent review found the restrictive NAIF investment mandate was holding back financial support for big projects, Minister Canavan said the Genex funding was a reflection of the work to progress several significant projects across Northern Australia though NAIF has not yet made a final decision on a loan for the Kidston project.
“The NAIF board has provided Genex an indicative term sheet for its Kidston solar and hydro project,” Minister Canavan said.
“The NAIF Board has not yet made an Investment Decision nor has it given any commitment for financial assistance.”
He said the government had amended the NAIF’s investment mandate to be more flexible about the types of projects it could invest in.
The indicative term sheet outlines the basis on which NAIF could provide the project with a subordinated loan facility of a maximum of $516 million for a term of 28 years.
It includes a number of conditions and significant commercial agreements to be put in place by Genex, as well as due diligence to advance the project to investment decision.
The Genex project included a 250 megawatt hydro project with 1500 MW hours’ storage capacity, a 270MW solar project and a 150MW wind farm. It would generate about 500 jobs during the construction phase over a three-year period and 20 fulltime jobs over the 100-year life span of the project.
READ ALSO: Kidston Phase 2 gets development approval
KAP state leader Robbie Katter said the funding highlight the potential of North Queensland as a major infrastructure investment destination.
“It shows the Facility is keen to invest and I’m sure there is more to come given there are so many quality projects in the North and North West,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter highlighted the huge opportunities for both renewables and traditional industries, such as mining, if the right infrastructure investments are made.
“The minerals and energy supply chain between Townsville and Mount Isa is perhaps the biggest driver of the economic activity in the North,’’ he said. “The resources in the North West Minerals Province generate more than 10,000 jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity through mining, processing, transport and associated services.”
Mr Katter said the North was fighting with one hand tied behind its back due to a lack of infrastructure investment by successive Governments and the high cost of energy in the NWMP was a prime example of why investment is needed.
“Currently the NWMP is isolated from the National Electricity Grid and this means mines and businesses are paying some of the highest energy costs in the world,’’ he said.
“Connecting the NWMP to the National Grid would not only bring down energy costs in the North West it would allow the renewable projects in the region to supply directly to our world-leading miners.
“It would also have the benefit of bringing the 400MW of gas fired generation currently in Mount Isa into the Queensland system which would help to fill power needs when wind and solar are off-line.’’