NAIF progresses north Queensland power network project to due diligence

sillhouette of mining truck on deep orange sunset sky

2 July 2019

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) today confirms it has moved a north Queensland power network project to its due diligence phase of assessment.

The CopperString 2.0 transmission project, from proponent CuString Pty Ltd, has the potential to meet all the mandatory eligibility criteria in the NAIF’s Investment Mandate and will now proceed to the due diligence stage of the NAIF process.

CopperString 2.0 is the development of a large-scale transmission network to integrate the North West Minerals Province into the National Electricity Market, providing common-user electricity transmission infrastructure for a critical economic region of Northern Australia.

The Project is designed to link Townsville with Cloncurry and Mt Isa, creating more diverse electricity generation, including a large and growing volume of renewable generation on the east-coast.

Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General declared CuString Pty Ltd’s CopperString 2.0 Project a coordinated project on 27 April, 2019.

NAIF is a $5 billion facility set up as an initiative of the Australian Government to provide loans, which may be on concessional terms, to support and encourage infrastructure development in northern Australia.

There is a process and range of eligibility criteria that needs to be satisfied before consideration is given to grant financial assistance to any project. The CopperString 2.0 transmission network project has been assessed, by NAIF Executive, as having the potential to meet NAIF’s mandatory eligibility criteria.

At this stage the NAIF Board has not made a decision to offer a loan or provide financial assistance of any sort to CuString Pty Ltd and there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached between the parties.

NAIF will now work with CuString Pty Ltd to undertake due diligence. CuString Pty Ltd will then be required to submit a satisfactory Investment Proposal to NAIF before the project is able to be submitted to the NAIF Board seeking an Investment Decision to provide financial assistance.

NAIF has to date committed nearly $1.3 billion in loans, through Investment Decisions and conditional approvals, to 13 infrastructure projects across northern Australia. This is comprised of in aggregate:

  • $623m to benefit Queensland,
  • $345m for the Northern Territory; and
  • $295m for Western Australia.

Across the projects on which NAIF has made an Investment Decision it is forecast that:

  • $2.3bn in public benefit will be generated; and
  • 2,597 jobs will be created (1,917 in construction and 680 during operations).

As of 28 June 2019 NAIF has 29 projects in its due diligence phase.