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Pencils Sharpened by North West Energy Providers

At the MITEZ general meeting hosted in Cloncurry in February speakers from APA (Diamantina Power Station) and CopperString 2.0 updated members on their plans for future supply of energy to the region.

APA Groups Diamantina Power Station and Stanwells Mica Creek Power Station are both gas-fired stations located at Mount Isa; currently supplying much of the North West Minerals Province, while CopperString 2.0 is a proposed 900 kilometre high voltage transmission line that would connect the North West to the NEM (coastal grid).

MITEZ understands both parties are working to pin down their energy pricing as many of the major customers in the region are considering the best option for their future supply, while new mines in the North West Minerals Province are evaluating their resource economics based on the cost of energy and other key factors such as transport logistics and water.

Also in play, is the possibility that cheaper energy may extend the life of a number of mature mines that are facing increased costs to extract and process ore from low-grade resources as well as enabling new projects to enter the region with confidence on the back of competitive energy pricing.  

MITEZ President, David Glasson said "with both options presently on the table, there is a now a competitive process underway that we believe will result in better energy pricing for customers as well as giving a greater degree of confidence all round to businesses in the North West.

“The other possibility is that this process may result in a longer-term competitive arrangement for the region that will influence future energy pricing and at the same time we expect local generation to play an even more important part in the overall scheme”. 

Cloncurry Hosts Successful MITEZ Meeting 

Cloncurry Shire Council hosted the first MITEZ gathering for 2020 on February 14 with 40 members and guests attending.  A networking dinner was also held on the evening prior to the meeting with over thirty people attending.

The General Meeting was organised by MITEZ Regional Development Officer, Ross Thinee and covered a range of topics including briefings on new mines, transport logistics and energy projects from across the corridor.

One of the guest speakers, Jo Obajdin, Chief Executive Officer Grand Central Holding presented plans for  a multi-user intermodal freight terminal at Cloncurry and said the project was well advanced,

had received development approvals from Council and that the concept had been presented to the Port of Townsville.

Download a copy of the Reference article

A new MITEZ member welcomed by the group was Telstra with Regional General Manager-Northern Queensland Rachel Cliffe providing members an update on Telstra’s mobile network and the changes to the way we use the network. 

Rachel also provided an overview on resiliency work under the Blackspot Program, the roll out of 5G and options for boosting in poor signal areas. 

A copy of the meeting minutes are available in the secure Members Portal of the MITEZ website

GENERAL MEETING PRESENTATIONS

Cloncurry Cropping Moves Ahead 

Plans to commence a 600 hectare cropping trial near Cloncurry have moved a step closer with the Queensland Government announcing $590,000 to help support the project.

This follows on from the bio-fuels cropping trial in 2017-18 that was funded as a MITEZ (RAB) project where approximately 5-acres was planted beside the Cloncurry Council sewage plant. A variety of crops were closely monitored at the site for about 12 months as part of a GHD report.

Prior to the announcement of the $590,000 in late 2019, a group including Cloncurry Shire Council, DAF and MITEZ had commenced planning the next stage to be established at the town common area on the Ernest Henry Mine road.

As well as advertising for an Agronomist to oversee the trial, DAF have recently sought expressions of interest for an experienced cropper to carry out the trial farming for a period of around 4 years, with some of the funding to be used to set up the farm.

May General Meeting - Save the Date 

The next MITEZ meeting, to be held at Charters Towers on May 28 is shaping up to be an interesting day with another diverse program covering the Mount Isa to Townsville corridor.

For those who arrive the evening before the meeting, it is expected that a venue will be selected for members and guests to enjoy an informal dinner and engage in networking.

A draft agenda and other meeting details will be emailed out to members approximately 2 weeks prior to the meeting.

Commonwealth’s Corona Virus Stimulus Package 

On March 10, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a seven-point plan designed to stimulate the Australian economy to counter the effect of the world corona virus crisis. A $10 billion stimulus package would be rolled out to ensure the economy remained strong and jobs would not be lost.

The MITEZ team were on the phone the same day to Senator Susan McDonald to enquire if she was able to assist in getting any proposals from the Mount Isa to Townsville corridor to Canberra and be considered as part of putting the plan into action.

Senator McDonald said she hoped to receive some projects that could create employment not just now but into the future and they will be happy to receive project concepts only and that full-blown business cases were not needed at this time. 

MITEZ has asked Councils to nominate suitable projects that would fit the criteria. These could be included in a submission to the Commonwealth.

All jokes aside, we hope that you are staying safe during the unprecedented global virus pandemic

MITEZ Submits Projects for 2020-21 RAB Funding 

Commencing in January, the MITEZ team has been going through the process of engaging members and Councils to identify project concepts to be put forward for the 2020-21 Remote Area Board funding program.
 
MITEZ Regional Development Officer, Ross Thinee prepared around 15 separate ideas and presented them to the team at Department of State Development for initial feedback before more detail concepts were then drafted.

Final concepts were then further developed as formal project proposals; requiring a higher level of research and investigation.

Projects submitted are:

  • NW Cotton Gin Feasibility Study
  • North West Creative Industry Hub
  • Flinders River Dryland and Irrigated Cropping Forum
  • Overlanders Way Television Production Business Case

Ross was able to demonstrate how these projects related to recommendations of the Queensland Government’s Blueprint for the North West Implementation Plan and proposals are now being considered by the Department with contracts to be signed in the next few weeks.

The 2020-21 RAB projects can commence after July 2020.

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