A global investor has got behind the CopperString 2.0 project which aims to connect North West Queensland with the east coast electricity grid.
CuString Pty Ltd said Thursday it has entered into a development partnership agreement with independent infrastructure fund manager, DIF Capital Partners in an agreement which will provide significant development funding and long-term capital investment for the $1.5 billion project.
DIF is an independent infrastructure fund manager, with $10 billion of assets worldwide.
CopperString 2.0 executive chair John O'Brien, says the non-binding partnership built on an earlier agreement struck between CuString and Powerlink and would give the Queensland Government-owned transmission business a chance to play an important role in ownership and operation of the transmission line once constructed.
"DIF's involvement in CopperString 2.0 reflects the importance of the project to Townsville and the North West Minerals Province and the entire Queensland economy," Mr O'Brien said.
"DIF's enthusiasm is a real testament to the opportunities major infrastructure investors see in North Queensland and a vote of confidence in Queensland's minerals processing and export sector, and the renewable resources that can reduce emissions intensity of these operations."
Copperstring 2.0 is a high-voltage transmission line to connect Mount Isa and Cloncurry to the National Electricity Grid south of Townsville.
Mr O'Brien said the project showed the huge potential of the Mount Isa to Townsville corridor.
"We have world class mineral and clean energy resources and the industrial infrastructure to support growth in new investment and deliver thousands of jobs to our region over the coming decade," he said.
"The missing link is access to the national grid to provide lower cost energy for our minerals processing and export supply chain; CopperString will deliver these lower prices."
Mr O'Brien said DIF would provide financing for development costs and infrastructure investment expertise to complement CuString's strengths in the Queensland energy sector.
"The agreement is an important milestone for the project and will give all stakeholders more confidence in the ability of this nationally significant infrastructure project to be delivered," he said.
"We are currently going through important regulatory, commercial and financing negotiations with stakeholders including mining companies in the North West Minerals Province who will be the foundation customers, NAIF which is conducting Due Diligence on the provision of around $1 Billion in debt funding and the Queensland Government which is responsible for relevant regulatory approvals."
Marko Kremer, Partner and DIF's Head of Australasia said the project had national significance.
"DIF assessed the fundamental drivers of CopperString 2.0 and it is clear there is huge potential in Northern Queensland's world class minerals mining and processing sector as well as the opportunity to connect new and existing energy resources in the region to the national grid," Mr Kremer said.
"Developing the best electricity infrastructure to support new investment across the minerals and energy supply chain from Mount Isa to Townsville is the key to unlocking the region's potential."
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