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The $1 billion CuString proposal to build a high-voltage electricity transmission line to connect North-West Queensland to the national electricity grid has been declared a co-ordinated project.

Subject to approvals, construction of the Copper String project could commence in 2020, with initial commissioning of the connection to Chumvale in 2022.

State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the proponent would now have to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS).

He said the project could create up to 400 full-time jobs during its three-and-a-half-year construction phase and up to 30 full-time jobs once fully operational.

“The project is a 1100km 275-kilovolt overhead high-voltage electricity transmission line connecting the North West Minerals Provence and Mount Isa to the National Electricity Market grid south of Townsville,” he said.

“The proponent has stated the project will provide reliable electricity to communities and mines in the area, as well offering an alternative electricity supply to the North West.”

CuString proposes to commence the first stage of construction, a 720km overhead high-voltage electricity line from Woodstock, south of Townsville, to the Chumvale sub-station, near Cloncurry, by the end of 2020, with operations commencing by the end of 2022.

It would extend the line to Mount Isa and south to the Phosphate Hill and Cannington mine as early as 2024, subject to demand.

The project crosses eight local government areas including Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Flinders, Richmond, McKinlay, Cloncurry and Mount Isa.

Mr Dick said the independent Coordinator-General would now prepare draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement (EIS) that the proponent must produce and invite the community for public comment.

Special project status for $1b power plan