The Copper String founder has urged the state government to continue to support the proposed $1.5 billion high voltage transmission line to the North West ahead of next week's cabinet visit to Mount Isa.
CopperString 2.0 founder and executive chairman John O'Brien says industrial electricity prices in the North West Minerals Province are some of the highest in the world, and two to three times higher than on the east coast.
"The North West will miss out on new investment because of high electricity prices despite the enormous and valuable minerals resource in the region," Mr O'Brien said.
"It's not uncommon for industrial customers, miners and minerals-processors, to be paying north of $150 per megawatt-hour for electricity. Similar sized operations on the east coast pay $60 to $80."
Mr O'Brien said new mines would be operating right now if the cost of electricity was significantly reduced.
"The Premier bringing Cabinet to Mount Isa is an excellent initiative that acknowledges the exciting potential this region holds to benefit the State's economy; now is the time to make big reforms like connection to the national grid," he said.
Electricity in the North West is produced entirely by gas fired generation from the two power stations in Mount Isa.
When this generation was built gas prices were $4 to $6 per gigajoule however, with the huge increase in gas demand from the LNG export industry gas prices have more than doubled.
Mr O'Brien says the solution to the electricity price problem is building common-use infrastructure to connect the North West the east coast grid.
"The North West can be as important to Queensland as the Bowen Basin. It was infrastructure that drove the huge expansion of coal mining in the Bowen Basin and it will be infrastructure that will drive the expansion of minerals mining and processing across the North West and Townsville," he said.
"Currently the North West is treated totally differently to the Bowen Basin, both from an energy regulation and infrastructure point of view, and it is holding us back.
Mr O'Brien said the Government provides the regulatory approvals necessary to facilitate CopperString's development.
"The Government continues to be very supportive of CopperString and we're working well to achieve the approvals necessary to move to construction in late 2020 to early 2021," he said.
"Bringing the North West into the east coast grid will drive billions of dollars in new investment and thousands of new jobs across the whole export corridor between Mount Isa and Townsville, and increase our State and Nations wealth into the future like this region has in the past."
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