A $742 billion minerals treasure chest in Queensland's North West Minerals Province will not be unlocked without access to more affordable and reliable electricity, energy infrastructure company CuString Pty Ltd has said.
Speaking ahead of the Mining and Resources Industry Forum in Townsville Thursday, CuString Executive Chairman John O'Brien called on the federal and state governments to step up their shared commitment to Copperstring 2.0, the company's proposed high-voltage transmission line connecting the North West Minerals Province to the National Electricity Market.
"In May 2020, an independent assessment of the North West Minerals Province estimated the known in-situ, in-ground mineral inventory to be valued at $680 billion, the equivalent revenue of around 10 state budgets," Mr O'Brien said.
"This 'treasure chest' has since jumped by more than $60 billion to $742 billion according to revised estimates, that's $1 billion every week since the initial study was released 12 months ago and includes substantial resources of 'new economy' minerals, including cobalt, copper, gold, graphite, molybdenum, rhenium, silver, vanadium and zinc."
Mr O'Brien said the opportunity to develop these resources was massive.
"But our strong view, shared by the state and federal governments, is that access to affordable and reliable electricity is a major barrier to development," he said.
"Copperstring removes that barrier by linking the North West Minerals Province to the NEM so that it isn't isolated and at risk of more blackouts while enabling the decarbonisation of this globally important export supply chain.
After major electricity outages in Mount Isa and south-east Queensland in recent months, Mr O'Brien said CuString was working with government to pull the trigger on its game-changing energy infrastructure.
"CopperString will extend the national transmission grid through an open access 1100km power network which will not only create greater energy security, it will power the growth of new opportunities for mining, industrial and manufacturing enterprises as well as support clean energy projects," he said.
"We have the opportunity for a decarbonised minerals and industrial sector, to embrace EVs, and lead the world in hydrogen production; we can enjoy a golden age of economic development if we commit to major infrastructure such as CopperString.
"That's why we are working with the Australian and Queensland Governments to progress CopperString and provide the 'spark' to secure the full potential of the great north's minerals and energy potential.
"With the State Budget to be handed down next week, the Queensland Treasurer would be comforted to know that these resources offer billions in royalties for the Government to reinvest in essential services like health, education, infrastructure and law and order," he said.
Mr O'Brien said the Morrison and Palaszczuk Governments had confirmed the strategic importance of CopperString and its potential to deliver significant economic benefits for Queensland.
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