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The $1.7 billion CopperString 2.0 project has secured a $17 million financing agreement with Townsville refinery operator Korea Zinc.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles and Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni announced the deal in Townsville.

It comes one week after the Federal Government pledged up to $11 million to help progress the major transmission project to final investment decision in 2021.

Project proponent CuString said the financing arrangement was facilitated by the Queensland Government through the CopperString Implementation Agreement signed in October 2020 in Mount Isa.

Managing director Joseph O’Brien congratulated the Queensland Government for finalising the tripartite agreement between the government, CuString and Sun Metals refinery owner Korea Zinc.

“This financing agreement enlivens the significant opportunity we have to make the Queensland economy more resilient with CopperString’s potential to deliver a 40 per cent reduction in wholesale electricity prices for the North West Minerals Province to drive our global competitiveness in minerals mining and manufacturing and unlock new industries such as hydrogen,” Mr O’Brien said.

The CopperString project consists of a 740km overhead high voltage electricity transmission line stretching from a new sub-station at Woodstock, south of Townsville, to the Chumvale sub-station, near Cloncurry.

Subject to demand, the project may extend west to Mount Isa, with spur lines south and north to mines and renewable energy facilities.

Korea Zinc vice chairman Yun Choi said he saw great potential for CopperString to strengthen the industrial and clean energy ecosystem across the Townsville to Mount Isa corridor.

“This regional economic development opportunity is important to Sun Metals and Korea Zinc, and is a strong element of our interest in supporting the CopperString project,” Mr Choi said.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Palaszczuk Government and CopperString in relation to minerals processing, renewable energy and hydrogen development.”

Mr Miles said the CopperString project would transform the region’s economy.

“It has the potential to be the most transformative project for the North Queensland economy since the construction of the Great Northern Railway reached Mount Isa in 1929,” he said.

“It will transmit energy for new industries and that means supporting new mining, minerals processing and industrial jobs to support development in renewables.”

Key backing for CopperString power project