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Every $1 invested in the CopperString 2.0 power transmission project is forecast to deliver $4.54 in benefits for Australia, economic analysis shows.

Director of project proponent CuString, Joseph O’Brien, said ACIL Allen had recently completed economic modelling estimating the planned transmission line’s Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) to be 4.54.

“The significance of this analysis is that CopperString’s BCR of 4.54 highlights the critical importance of the Townsville – North West Mineral Province industrial economy to our jobs and national income because this infrastructure compares very favourably to other Australian infrastructure projects,” Mr O’Brien said.

Relative to other nationally significant infrastructure projects, investments totalling more than $20 billion have been made with much lower BCRs, including Inland Rail with a BCR of 1.1, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail with a BCR of 1.21, and Western Sydney Airport with a BCR of 1.9, CuString says.

“It is clear that Queensland’s best bet to repower the economy is backing the North West Minerals Province and Townsville’s industrial manufacturing sector with major infrastructure investment such as CopperString,” Mr O’Brien said.

The $1.5 billion power scheme involves the construction of about 1100km of high-voltage overhead electricity transmission line between Mount Isa and Woodstock, south of Townsville, where it would connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) grid.

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.

Previous independent studies by specialist resources consultants have found that by connecting the North West Queensland power system (currently isolated from the national grid) to the NEM, the NWMP would be a sustainable source of employment and national income for decades to come with a forecast aggregate growth in minerals production of $154 billion over 30 years from a known resource inventory of $680 billion.

The CopperString proponent’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.

Hitting these milestones over the next two months would allow CopperString to continue at pace with approvals process and engineering work to remain firmly on track to commence construction work in mid-2021, CuString said.