Visiting in Hughenden in the Flinders Shire and in the words of the Mayor, Jane McNamara, the Flinders Shire is a "geological masterpiece", perfectly positioned in the largest renewable energy zone in the country.
We talk to Drew Penny from the Port of Townsville - Australia's largest sugar, lead, copper, zinc, fertiliser, molasses and live cattle port. We discuss the port expansion project and what we need to secure the future of this region. The Port is well connected by road to major national highways north, south and west.
Our Port is strategically positioned to industrial lands for future industries including the Lansdown Eco Industrial Precinct and links to the North West Minerals Province.
Townsville Mayor, Jenny Hill and Stephen Grocott, CEO of Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) talk about the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, the TECH Project and the importance of critical minerals for our future. QPM is leading the charge with offtake partnerships secured with world leading manufactures such as General Motors in the US and LG and POSCO in Korea. We know the world recognises the value and capability of Townsville and North West Queensland, but it is vital our State and Federal Governments secure our region's global position and future economy rather than seeing processing going offshore like in the past.
Townsville Enterprise North Queensland Emerging Leaders Alumni, Brent Storey, has been working with CopperString before the announcement in March. His small equipment hire business in Townsville is a prime example of the flow-on-effects of this key project.
We visited Queensland's largest gold mine, Ravenswood Gold. Gracie talked about the mine's operations and workforce. This mine employs 95% from the local area including Townsville, Charters Towers and the Burdekin. CopperString will be integral to Ravenswood Gold to provide the mine with affordable power.
The Flinders Shire is geologically blessed as the largest renewable energy zone in the country. The Kennedy Energy Park, located near Hughenden, is a world-first hybrid wind, solar and energy storage facility. Jointly owned by Windlab and Eurus, the project leverages the complimentary nature of the region's vast solar and wind resources to deliver energy around the clock. Kennedy Energy Park connected to the grid in 2019 and is delivering 80% of its rated energy yield.
Workforce challenges are impacting the entire corridor and because of CopperString we will need even more skilled workers in the future to not only deliver this project but the projects this transmission line will enable.
As we make our way further along the corridor, there's no doubt housing, water and workforce are key challenges and a consistent message we are hearing from the leaders of these regions. We visited Flinders Magic who in four weeks are going to harvest grapes grown right here in the Flinders Shire, we talked to Mayor McNamara about the Offstream Water Storage Project, then onto Richmond and Julia Creek the heart of the nation's vanadium country.
The Hughenden Offstream Water Storage Project will support the ongoing development of the 15 Mile Irrigation Development Project, and the proposed Hughenden meat works and feedlot.
Hughenden, Richmond and Julia Creek will be home to new workers camps for construction of the CopperString project. All leaders are asking for a percentage of permanent housing within their communities as a legacy of this project.
All leaders addressed the state of the Flinders Highway. This key connection from Mount Isa to the Port of Townsville needs to be of a standard that can support this enabling project for our region.
North West Road Trip - Day Four | The Cloncurry region of Queensland has long been a mining hotspot, supporting the production of a range of commodities, including copper, gold and zinc.
The North West has a number of barriers, but the CopperString project has smashed one of those. But we can't stop now. In order for this region to unlock its superpower we need more water, housing and people.
We visited MMG Dugald River and spoke to General Manager, Tim Akroyd and took a tour of the facility. We discussed the challenges and affordability of rail over road and the importance of ensuring the effectiveness of this supply chain.
We also talked to Incitec Pivot about their Phosphate Hill operation. This world-scale facility is a fully integrated mining and ammonium phosphate manufacturing operation. The integrated plant is a key part of Mount Isa and Cloncurry and supports local jobs from Townsville all the way through to Mount Isa.
Tomorrow is the final day of the road trip as we reach Mount Isa. We will meet with Mayor of Mount Isa, Danielle Slade and Member for Traeger, Robbie Katter. We will also welcome more than 40 key stakeholders to a luncheon at the Redearth Hotel.
We have finally arrived in Mount Isa. Today we welcomed more then 40 key stakeholders to a luncheon at the Redearth Hotel to discuss the CopperString Effect and the challenges facing the corridor.
This year’s road trip highlighted the importance of CopperString and what it will enable not only for Townsville but along the entire North West corridor.
We all know that a thriving North West is a thriving Townsville North Queensland.
Thank you to our members and the regional Mayors and Deputy Mayors for taking the time to meet with us and talk about your communities and the corridor of the future. Thank you to our Road Trip sponsors without your support, activities like this would not be possible.
The North West faces many barriers but it is clear that the CopperString project will smash one of those barriers completely.
But we can’t stop now. The message we heard over the last five days was clear. We need more water, we need more housing and we need more people to deliver this enabling project and unlock the region’s superpower, not only for the benefit of the state but for the country.
The only way to achieve this is by standing united about what the corridor of the future needs from government.