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Overview

CopperString 2032, led by Powerlink, initially involves building 840 kilometres (km) of new electricity transmission line from just south of Townsville in the Burdekin region to Mount Isa that will connect Queensland’s North West Minerals Province to the National Electricity Market for the first time in Australia’s history. Approximately 200km of additional transmission line will be required to connect new renewable generators to CopperString 2032.

The overall expanded project has a budget of $5 billion and includes:

  • 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from just south of Townsville to Hughenden
  • 330kV transmission line from Hughenden to Cloncurry
  • 220kV transmission line from Cloncurry to Mount Isa
  • up to six new substation sites
  • workforce accommodation and facilities in strategic locations along the corridor. 

In October 2023, the Queensland Government announced $1.3 billion to advance the construction of CopperString 2032. 

The project is gearing up to break ground mid-2024 in Hughenden with the construction of the workforce accommodation and facilities.  

CopperString 2032 is on track for completion in 2029. 

Eastern Alignment Review 

Since Powerlink took ownership of the CopperString 2032 project in March 2023, detailed design has been undertaken to confirm the most suitable location for the transmission line and supporting infrastructure. Through this review, significant environmental and constructability impacts associated with the existing corridor have been identified east of Hughenden, between the Burdekin River and the proposed Mulgrave Substation.  

The alignment follows one of the most extreme sections of the Leichhardt Range where access is not currently possibly. Heavy vehicle access is also very limited due to steep terrain and road constraints from the west as well as numerous irrigation channel crossings and narrow gravel roads. 

Due to these significant constructability issues, Powerlink will investigate an alternative corridor between the Burdekin River and Reid River.  In mid to late July, a Recommended Corridor will be released for public consultation. This corridor will take into consideration these topographical constraints and extensive field investigations. Engagement with community, landholders and Traditional Owners will further refine and inform this corridor.  

CopperString has a long history in North and North West Queensland. Engagement has been undertaken over the last decade and this information will be a valuable contribution to the study area consideration. 

The Recommended Corridor will be released on our website for feedback as well as in person at community drop-in sessions. Please subscribe to web page updates (bottom right of the screen) to stay up to date with the Eastern Alignment Review and for more information about these upcoming information sessions. 

Get involved

Powerlink is committed to ongoing genuine and timely engagement to ensure we deliver positive outcomes for landholders, local communities, other stakeholders and the environment where our transmission infrastructure is located.  

We encourage you to get involved and invite you to contact the project team for more information and to provide feedback at any time. 

If you have any questions, please contact your local Project Engagement Specialist, or get in touch via 1800 635 369 or [email protected].

Share your views with Powerlink via our feedback form

Community Events 

Keep an eye on our project page and Powerlink’s social media channels to find out when we’ll be in your community. 

Date/sTimeEventEvent typeLocation
28 - 30 July 2024All dayCharters Towers ShowIn-personCharters Towers Showgrounds

supplier opportunities 

We have partnered with Deborah Wilson Consulting Services to facilitate a ‘Pathways to Opportunities’ capability building program.

This program is being offered free of charge in line with Powerlink’s commitment to helping build business capability in communities along the CopperString 2032 corridor.

Launching in July 2024, this program includes five workshops and one-on-one assistance for a period of nine to 10 months, at each location. These workshops are open to businesses along the CopperString 2032 corridor.

The program will help local suppliers to:

  • understand what major project buyers want from suppliers
  • be more visible to buyers through quality capability statements and better information on supplier platforms (ICN Gateway and others)
  • be compliant with major project requirements
  • understand prequalification requirements for major projects and supply chains
  • be prepared for tendering and contract management
  • build confidence to bid on major project and supply chain work, and network and collaborate with other local suppliers.
DateTimeEventLocation
23 July 20248:30am for 9:00am-2:30pmHughenden 
 
Diggers Entertainment Centre
19 Flinders Street, Hughenden
24 July 20248:30am for 9:00am-1:00pmFirst Nations 
Hughenden
Diggers Entertainment Centre 
19 Flinders Street, Hughenden
25 July 20248:30am for 9:00am-2:30pmRichmond Richmond Civic Centre 
50 Goldring Street, Richmond

Registrations for Workshop 1 are closed. 

DateTimeEventLocation
27 August 20248:30am for 9:00am-2:30pmMount Isa Mount Isa Civic Centre
23 West Street, Mount Isa City
28 August 20248:30am for 9:00am-1:00pmFirst Nations
Mount Isa  
Mount Isa Civic Centre
23 West St, Mount Isa City                                           
29 August 20248:30am for 9:00am-2:30pmCloncurryCloncurry Shire Hall
38-46 Daintree Street,
Cloncurry
30 August 20248:30am for 9:00am-12:30amJulia CreekJulia Creek Civic Centre
29 Burke St, Julia Creek

Please register for the Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Julia Creek Workshop 1 by Wednesday 21 August.

REGISTER for Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Julia creek workshops

For more information on the program, please refer to the Supplier Capability Development FAQs. 
Supplier capability development program faqs

If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact your local project engagement representative, call 1800 635 369 or email [email protected].

Powerlink values the relationship CopperString 2032 has with local and Indigenous suppliers and will work with our construction contractor, the UGL CPB Contractors Joint Venture, to ensure full, fair and reasonable opportunities are made available on the project. 

To express your interest, please click on the link below and provide your business details to be added to the project’s supplier register. 

Register Local & Indigenous Supplier Interest

Powerlink strongly encourages local businesses, Indigenous enterprises and social ventures to register.  

All businesses will need to undergo a prequalification process to be considered for procurement.  

For more information about the project's Australian Industry Participation Plan please contact Rachael Maundrell, Team Leader Project Engagement NQ via [email protected] or call 07 3898 4462. 

Status

We are continuing to work alongside the Queensland and Australian governments to progress project approvals and have submitted an application to the Queensland Coordinator-General to change the location of the previously evaluated workforce accommodation and facilities in Hughenden.

This involves relocating the site from north of Hughenden on Flynn Street to south of Hughenden on the Flinders Highway. Both sites are Queensland Government owned and held in trust by Flinders Shire Council.

The new workforce accommodation and facilities are proposed to accommodate up to 450 people (with a periodic peak of 550) and will include the workforce required to build the Flinders Substation and transmission line. 

The Queensland Coordinator-General invited comments on our application for project change between Monday 18 March 2024 and Friday 12 April 2024.  

More information can be found online at https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/coordinator-general/copperstring-project

The transmission line from south of Townsville to Hughenden is now planned to be constructed at 500kV instead of 330kV. This will allow increased access to renewable generation in the Flinders Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) which has the potential to be one of the largest REZs in Australia.   

This connection forms part of the Queensland SuperGrid which will allow a planned and cohesive approach to the transition to renewable energy within Queensland and forms part of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.  

PROJECT APPROVALS

Since Powerlink took responsibility for project delivery in March 2023, the transmission line design and supporting infrastructure have been refined. As a result, the project’s existing environmental approvals may need to be reviewed.

Significant work is currently underway to support the project’s final statutory approvals.

We anticipate preparatory infrastructure, including workforce accommodation and facilities in Hughenden and Richmond, will be assessed by the Queensland Coordinator-General and progressed under a works regulation amendment.

This will be followed by Queensland and Australian Government assessment of the transmission infrastructure and remaining workforce accommodation and facilities.

Following statutory approvals, it is expected that additional planning and approvals for the delivery of CopperString 2032 will proceed via the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Public Works under the Ministerial Infrastructure Designation (MID) process. This process is managed by the Department of Housing, Local Government, Planning and Public Works with input from other government agencies.   

We expect to lodge several MID proposals and have undertaken preliminary engagement with impacted landholders, communities and other stakeholders to ensure anyone with an interest in the project is given an opportunity to provide initial feedback before proposals are lodged.   

Following lodgement of each MID proposal, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Public Works will initiate consultation by writing to relevant local governments and impacted landholders to invite submissions.   

During this time, Powerlink will also undertake public consultation with landholders, community members and other key stakeholders to share project information and how to make a submission to the Department of Housing, Local Government, Planning and Public Works.  

Early works 

Powerlink signed off on a $20 million early works package with CIMIC Group companies UGL and CPB Contractors in June 2023.  

This package is focused on progressing the project’s detailed engineering design, field and geotechnical surveys and geotechnical works.

At the same time, work is continuing on field and geotechnical investigations, cultural heritage and ecological surveys, stakeholder engagement and landholder consultation.

Project background

To date, work has focused on progressing transmission line design, statutory approvals and engagement with landholders and other key stakeholders along the proposed alignment.

The project was declared a ‘coordinated project’ by the Queensland Coordinator-General in April 2019 under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 and a controlled action under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in May 2019.

An Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) contract for the project was awarded to UGL and CPB Contractors in March 2021 following public consultation on the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) between December 2020 and February 2021.

The ECI phase of the project includes scoping, designing, site investigations and pricing.

The project’s EIS was approved to proceed, with conditions, by the Queensland Coordinator-General in September 2022 and referred to the Australian Government for approval.

A delegate for the Australian Minister for the Environment and Water approved the ‘CopperString Transmission Line Project’ as a controlled action under the EPBC Act subject to conditions in November 2022.

Powerlink took ownership of the project from Townsville-based CuString Pty Ltd in March 2023 and is now leading delivery of the project to completion.

Details

Northern

Transmission Lines

Construction

Substation

Renewables

In Progress

Map

Resources

If you need help accessing these documents, please contact us via [email protected] or call 1800 635 369.

CopperString 2032 Timeline

2019

Concept assessment

2019-2022

Reference design

2022

Statutory approvals CopperString 2.0

2023-2024

Detailed design, early works and additional statutory approvals CopperString 2032 (expanded project)

2024-2029

Construction

2029

Connect to National Electricity Market

from 2029

Operations

Full timeline

Contact

Ian Lowry

Ian Lowry

Executive GM Major Projects
1800 635 369

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