The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility has confirmed it has moved the Copper String power network project to its due diligence phase of assessment.
While no firming funding decision has been made the move means the CopperString 2.0 transmission project has the potential to meet all the mandatory eligibility criteria in the NAIF's Investment Mandate and will now proceed to the due diligence stage of the NAIF process.
CopperString 2.0 founder John O'Brien welcomed this step toward securing investment from NAIF.
"The potential for a NAIF loan will assist in the delivery of this critical common-user energy infrastructure in an efficient manner so that step-change growth in our minerals sector can be achieved," Mr O'Brien said.
"Modelling from expert advisors demonstrates that long-term wholesale electricity prices in Queensland will fall because the CopperString 2.0 investment would allow us to use energy resources more efficiently, and the wholesale cost decreases in the North West will be even more dramatic."
CopperString 2.0 is the development of a large-scale transmission network to integrate the North West Minerals Province into the National Electricity Market.
The Project is designed to link Townsville with Cloncurry and Mount Isa, creating more diverse electricity generation, including a large and growing volume of renewable generation on the east coast.
Queensland's independent Coordinator-General declared it a coordinated project in April.
NAIF is a $5 billion federal facility to provide loans, which may be on concessional terms, to support and encourage infrastructure development in northern Australia.
There is a process and eligibility criteria to be satisfied before consideration is given to grant financial assistance. CopperString 2.0 has been assessed by NAIF Executive as having the potential to meet NAIF's mandatory eligibility criteria.
The NAIF Board has not made a decision to offer a loan or provide financial assistance to CuString Pty Ltd and there is no certainty of an agreement.
NAIF will now work with CuString Pty Ltd to undertake due diligence. CuString Pty Ltd will then be required to submit a satisfactory Investment Proposal to NAIF before the project is able to be submitted to the NAIF Board seeking an Investment Decision to provide financial assistance.
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