Friday, 30 September 2022

Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald, is urging the Queensland Government to fast-track CopperString 2.0 to supercharge the North West Minerals Province as part of its 70 per cent renewable energy target, saying the timelines proposed by the government risked the state losing a competitive edge.

Townsville-based Senator McDonald, who is also the Shadow Minister for Resources, said the government’s recent coal royalty hike had generated billions of dollars in extra revenue which should be used to bring energy reliability to North Queensland.

“I welcome this support for CopperString 2.0 but 2033 is much too late and leaves Queensland at risk of missing out on taking advantage of increasing world demand for our minerals,” she said.

“The North West Minerals Province contains major deposits of copper, zinc, vanadium, cobalt and rare earths which are all needed for batteries, electric vehicles and renewable energy components being phased in all over the world.

“It also has large deposits of phosphate – critical for fertilising food crops, making urea and low-emission fuel additive AdBlue.

“China supplies most of the world’s needs for these minerals – including Australia’s – but fears of supply chain disruption mean customers are looking for new trade partners, and Australia’s political stability makes it an attractive place to source these products from.

“America is incentivising electric vehicles and batteries that are manufactured from critical minerals mined in that country, but the Australian Government isn’t doing enough to develop these necessary critical minerals. We need the State Government to work with the Federal Government to align priorities for drastically increasing the extraction of our energy and critical minerals.

“But without reliable and competitively priced power in North West Queensland, our mining activities are being severely hampered.

“The State Government is raking in an extra $500 million a month from coal royalties bringing the total revenue to $1 billion a month so why should we have to wait to unleash the new minerals that Queenslanders own and want to see mined for our future prosperity?”