Key mining and minerals-processing companies in North West Queensland have banded together to seek out a ‘green’ energy solution for their power needs.

They are looking to purchase 1 million megawatt hours of renewable electricity every year for a decade to power their Mount Isa and Cloncurry-based operations.

KPMG Corporate Finance has been engaged to run the process in collaboration with Glencore, Incitec Pivot, MMG (Dugald River), New Century Resources, Chinova Resources and CopperString 2.0.

Miners band together in renewable energy bid
A statement from CopperString 2.0 said it was the real prospect of connecting the North West Minerals Province to the NEM via the CopperString 2.0 transmission line project that enabled the ground-breaking initiative.

CopperString 2.0 proposes a $1.5 billion, 1100-kilometre high-voltage electricity transmission network connecting the North West Minerals Province to the National Electricity Market (NEM) near Townsville.

Dugald River mine general manager Sam Rodda said MMG Dugald River strongly supported any initiative that brought affordable, flexible and possibly renewable power options to the North West of Queensland.

It welcomed the Federal Government’s pledge of $4.75 million to support development works for the Copperstring 2.0 Project and the Queensland Government support for the initiative, he said.

CopperString 2.0 founder John O’Brien said the project was created to drive sustainable economic growth from North Queensland’s minerals and energy resources.

“What you see with this market sounding process, perhaps Australia’s largest industrial de-carbonisation initiative, is a glimpse of the opportunity that pragmatism and patient investment can deliver for Australia,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I am confident Australia will find a sensible balance in the energy and emissions debate, and this is evident in the broad political support CopperString 2.0 and our vision for the Townsville to Mount Isa economic zone during the recent federal election.

Miners band together in renewable energy bid
CopperString 2.0 founder John O’Brien.

“The CopperString 2.0 project will combine flexible gas generation in Mount Isa, a large tranche of new renewables procured from the NEM and the existing generation fleet in Queensland including our efficient coal power stations to create an ideal electricity supply supporting large industrial investment.

“It’s that large industrial investment that is the most important objective for us. “

The Palaszczuk Government in 2017 allocated $150 million towards the development of strategic electricity transmission infrastructure as part of the North Queensland Clean Energy Hub.

“I believe if the government is going to invest public money into building transmission lines to connect renewable generation they should do it in a way that directly supports the minerals mining and processing supply chain that’s worth in excess of $2 billion a year to the regional economy,” Mr O’Brien said. 

KPMG will commence the Registration of Interest process endorsed by major industrial businesses in the North West Minerals Province to identify options for the potential purchase of over 1 million MWh of renewable energy per year via long-term contractual arrangements.

The CopperString project has been designated as a Co-ordinated Project by the Queensland Coordinator General.