THE global competitiveness of mining and minerals processing industries in North West Queensland has been given a boost with the announcement by Premier Bligh that a proposal to upgrade power supplies to the region had been granted ‘state significance’ status.
The IsaLink project would involve the construction of some 1,100km of high voltage transmission line to connect the Mount Isa region with the east coast National Electricity Market near Rockhampton.
“As members of the QRC North West Working Group impressed upon Cabinet Ministers in Mount Isa in November, energy security and pricing are key impediments to realising the full potential of the North West Minerals Province,” Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said.
“Premier Bligh is to be congratulated for delivering this potential way forward within the six-month timeframe that she nominated in Mount Isa.”
“Competitive electricity prices in what is recognised as a world-class minerals province could kick-start a major renaissance of mining and minerals processing activity in the region.”
Roche also praised the efforts of the Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan in getting the issue of energy costs on the State Infrastructure agenda.
“Anyone who attended Premier Bligh’s first Community Cabinet meeting can attest to the passion with which Betty Kiernan advocated the need to secure competitively priced energy for the North West Minerals Province,” he said.
Access to the National Electricity Market would allow miners and minerals processors in the North West to benefit from a highly competitive marketplace for bulk electricity supplies.
The link could also provide wider business and social benefits for the region including high-speed broadband internet.
“QRC is pleased to note IsaLink described as the potential first stage of a broader plan to extend the national grid into the Northern Territory and Gulf region,” Roche said.
“This is truly nation-building in scope, and the QRC would be among a host of interested parties that would welcome Commonwealth Government involvement in the vision that has been outlined by Premier Bligh.”