Mt Isa Mines, a subsidiary of Swiss mining giant Xtrata, has signed a deal to obtain electricity for 13 years from the planned Diamantina Gas Power Station in Mt Isa. The gas will be supplied by increasing the capacity of the 840 kilometre Carpentaria Gas Pipeline which runs from southern Queensland to Mount Isa.
It has been hoped that Xtrata would obtain power for its mines by investing in the "CopperString" project which proposes to link Mount Isa into the National Electricity Grid by building a power line from Townsville to Mount Isa. The CopperString project would not only supply electricity to Mount Isa Mines, but would enable other developments in northern Queensland to proceed.
The Xtrata decision jeopardises the 700 megawatt Kennedy Wind Farm.which Windlab has proposed be built at Hughenden, half way between Townsville and Mount Isa. If it is build, the Kennedy Wind Farm will generate enough electricity for all of the houses in both Townsville and Mount Isa.
Independent MP, Bob Katter, said that "It’s a mortal blow to north Queensland, but particularly northwest Queensland….The delivery of electricity to northwest Queensland is not a decision to be taken by some boardroom in Zurich."