Traeger MP and KAP leader Robbie Katter has welcomed the news the state government has pledged to support the Mount Isa copper smelter but says CopperString is now more crucial than ever.
It follows the news that Glencore would receive a one-off incentive under the Queensland Government's North Queensland Recovery Plan, plus funding to continue operations of its smelter plus its Townsville refinery to extend the life by three years.
The $14.8m state funding for CopperString announced in May is also included in the recovery
"The Glencore news is a great win but the truth is, this only stops jobs from being lost across the North, it doesn't create any new ones," Mr Katter said.
"CopperString 2.0 is still desperately required to create employment and economic growth, as it would generate thousands of jobs in Townsville and the North West alone simply by virtue of existing and allowing the region to be connected to the National Electricity Market."
"CopperString 2.0 is the first major piece of industry-enabling infrastructure that this Government has shown interest in, in six years, so seeing it through to completion will be the real test."
Mr Katter said the deal came after months of his lobbying efforts calling on the Premier to "pull the necessary levers" to keep the smelter open and ensure its decisions did not impede the development of the $1.5 billion CopperString project.
Fellow Traeger candidate, James Bambrick of Labor denied Mr Katter the credit for the outcome.
"It was in fact the Labor Government who negotiated this outcome with Glencore," Mr Bambrick said.
Nonetheless, Mr Bambrick welcomed the decision.
"The Palaszczuk Government is already investing more than $380 million in the Mt Isa rail line over the next five years. This investment means we will get our minerals from pit to port - helping keep locals in work," he said.
"Now, our Premier and her Labor Government have saved the Mount Isa Copper Smelter and Townsville Copper Refineries and the hundreds of jobs involved.
"This support from our Palaszczuk Labor Government, coupled with the funding for CopperString, means that the North and North West will prosper and continue to grow in the years ahead."
Economic development group MITEZ have also welcomed the announcement, as one of its 12 election priorities.
"This is most certainly a wonderful day for North and North West Queensland as those of us who live and work in the region recognise the significant and important contribution Glencore's copper business makes in terms of employment and export revenue for Queensland," MITEZ president David Glasson said.
"Those that worked through the deal to keep it all going are to be congratulated as we are all winners."
Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade said Mount Isa Mines was the backbone of the city's economy, and the copper smelter was the backbone of Mount Isa Mines.
"I welcome the news of this commitment, which will safeguard thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Mount Isa and secures the ongoing operation of the copper smelter beyond 2022," Cr Slade said.
"It's also pleasing to hear that the agreement will enable Glencore to invest up to $500 million into the copper smelter and the copper refinery in Townsville over the coming years, and that the copper smelter will be re-bricked in 2022."
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