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UGL and CPB Contractors have entered a $7 million early contractor involvement (ECI) deal to help kick-start the CopperString 2.0 power project.

The new contract comes on top of the companies’ appointment as preferred contractors for the delivery phase of the project for Townsville-based proponent CuString.

That work is expected to earn the CIMIC Group companies about $1.7 billion over the three-year construction period.

The $7 million ECI contract involves scoping, designing, site investigations, pricing and finalising the Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract for substations and high voltage transmission lines.

Managing director Joseph O’Brien said CuString was very pleased to have the valuable expertise of UGL and CPB Contractors on board for the catalytic CopperString 2.0 project.

“CuString was founded in Townsville and we are looking forward to driving local business and job opportunities for the $1.7 billion construction program and with an expected 750 FTE jobs to be created over the three year construction period, this is great news for North and North West Queensland communities,” Mr O’Brien said.

Awarding of the ECI contract follows a string of recent milestones for the project.

CopperString 2.0 in January secured a $17 million financing agreement with Townsville refinery operator Korea Zinc, hot on the heels of an $11 million Federal commitment to help it progress to final investment decision in 2021.

The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the $1.7 billion project also went out for public submissions (closing February 12).

The CopperString project will connect Mount Isa’s isolated electricity supply network into the National Electricity Market (NEM) at Woodstock, just south of Townsville.

CopperString will also provide connection options through the NEM for mines and industrial customers in the North West Minerals Province, and regional wind and solar resources, and potentially hydrogen production facilities along the corridor from Townsville to Mount Isa.

Awarding of the delivery phase contract is subject to completion of the ECI phase and the achievement of approvals and financing.

The delivery phase would include the design, construction and commissioning of four new substations, two substation extensions and about 1100km of high-voltage transmission line for the project.

CIMIC Group says UGL and CPB Contractors will look to maximise the economic benefits and employment opportunities the project could bring to North and North West Queensland.

CPB Contractors managing director Jason Spears said the company would leverage its experience in delivering nation-building infrastructure to ensure the project was completed in a safe and timely manner.

“In doing so, we’ll also create job and procurement opportunities for Queensland’s regional communities,” he said.