CopperString is set to deliver almost five times its benefit in investment, its proponents say.
Joseph O'Brien, director of CuString Pty Ltd, the CopperString 2.0 project proponents, said consultants ACIL Allen had recently completed economic modelling which estimates the CopperString project's Benefit Cost Ratio to be 4.54 with total project net benefits of $9.2 billion, using a 7% discount rate.
"Every $1 invested in the CopperString 2.0 power transmission project to connect Queensland's North West Minerals Province to the national electricity grid is forecast to quadruple in value and deliver $4.54 in benefits for Australia," Mr O'Brien said.
CopperString 2.0 is a proposed 1100km high voltage transmission network that will integrate the NWMP into the national transmission grid via connection from Cloncurry to Townsville,
Mr O'Brien says CopperString will provide cheaper and more flexible electricity supply, facilitating new investments in minerals production, industrial manufacturing and agriculture and new export opportunities from the Port of Townsville.
"As common-use infrastructure CopperString 2.0 is expected to sustain much higher levels of production and export and deliver exceptionally large economic benefits," he said.
"Global demand can sustain minerals mining and processing in the NWMP and Townsville driven by new economy minerals and essential commodities used in clean energy, batteries, technology, smart phones, and defence technology. To be globally competitive the NWMP must have the cheaper and more flexible electricity supply that CopperString can deliver."
Mr O'Brien said CopperString's BCR of 4.54 in the ACIL Allen analysis highlights the critical importance of the Townsville - NWMP industrial economy to our jobs and national income because this infrastructure compares very favourably to other Australian infrastructure projects.
Inland Rail only had a BCR of 1.1, Brisbane's Cross River Rail had a BCR of 1.21, while Western Sydney Airport with a BCR of 1.9.
"It is clear that Queensland's best bet to repower the economy is backing the NWMP and Townsville's industrial manufacturing sector with major infrastructure investment such as CopperString," Mr O'Brien said.
"By providing access to cheaper and more flexible electricity supply the CopperString transmission line will be a catalyst for the increased production of mineral resources that are not economically feasible and likely to remain in the ground if we do nothing and are stuck with expensive energy."
The ACIL Allen report identified that CopperString's key benefits include the efficiency benefits of electricity generation (principally associated with lower fuel and variable operating costs per unit of electricity generated), additional electricity generation, including increased production of renewable energy, reduced carbon emissions, increased mineral production and increased employment and prosperity for Queensland.
ACIL Allen has also undertaken economic impact analysis with a forecast period out to 2050 which show:
. $139.4 billion aggregate increase in Queensland's Gross State Product (Real Economic Output)
. $54.3 billion aggregate increase in Real Income (Economic Welfare) in Queensland
. 3,560 FTE jobs sustained on average out to 2050 in North and North-West Queensland.
Mr O'Brien said these compelling results highlight the critical importance of continued support from both the Queensland and Australian Governments to realise the employment and economic growth opportunity in the NWMP and Townsville industrial zone.
CopperString's immediate priorities are to sign an Implementation Agreement with the Queensland government and secure financing support from the Australian Government and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
If they get these in the next two months CopperString will continue with approvals process and engineering work to remain firmly on track to commence construction construction work in mid-2021 kicking off a 3 year construction program with 750 direct jobs.
ACIL Allen's report and other studies will be released in coming months as part of the Environmental Impact Statement process for CopperString 2.0.
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