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Regional Economic Information and Updates

The following regional economic information and updates are provided to inform you of what is happening in the Far North region.  All information is current at time of publishing.  Regional Development Australia Far North accepts no responsibility for any incorrect or misleading information.


Far North Region Economic Development Update - Octoer 2018


Port Augusta City Council and Mount Remarkable Council Region

  • DP Energy - Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park - $680m - funded and underway.  This is a unique hybrid renewable energy development integrating wind and solar PV technology with a total installed capacity of up to 375MW, including up to 206.5MW of wind generation capacity on land situated on the coastal plain south-east of Port Augusta.  DP Energy recently completed tender call for works for Stage 1.  Mid-April 2017 saw the announcement of Stage 2 for the project which includes a significant additional solar panel component, generating up to 500MW and a battery storage element of around 400MW capacity and 3,000MW of synchronous condenser capacity to be built.   Stage 2 was approved by the South Australian Government in June 2018. Both stages combined will create over 600 jobs during construction and 15 ongoing maintenance jobs.  For more information: http://www.dpenergy.com./hybrid/port-augusta-renewable-energy-park/ 

Port Augusta City Council and Outback Communities Authority Region

  • Reach Solar Energy - Bungala One ($450m) and Two - funded and underway.  Approval received December 2016 for 2 x 110MW tilting solar facility.  The utility scale power plan will be the largest in Australia, and the 13th largest in the world with around 900,000 solar panels.  It is designed to support the grid and will be energy storage ready for retro-fit in the future.  Long term off take has been secured, capital for phase one raised, with no Government funding needed for project viability.  Project is well into the construction phase with work expected to be completed by quarter 4 2018.  In May 2018 the first 45MW feeder was connected to the grid, releasing energy for the first time. Around 350 people will be required during construction and the project will provide material direct and indirect benefits to the community local to Port Augusta with 10 ongoing jobs.  For more information: http://www.reachsolarenergy.com.au/bungala.html 
  • Cultana Defence Facility - Expansion of Cultana training facilities - $84.5m - underway.  Three projects have been developed to provide facilities and infrastructure on the Cultana Training Area (inclusive of the Cultana Expansion Area).  These are: 1. Hardened and Networked Army environmental vehicle wash point, 2. Enhanced land force stage 2 range facilities and infrastructure including an explosive ordinance storage and distribution facility, and 2. Major capital facilities program including range facilities and infrastructure.  Tender for stage one are being assessed, stage two is in the early planning stage and still required Government approval and stage three is yet to be approved by Government.  St Hilliers have been appointed as the head contractor with local contractors and businesses linking in with the project through them, via direct emails or advertising opportunities in the local paper. For more information: http://www.rdawep.org.au/st-hilliers-cultana-redevelopment-eoi/ 
  • Multispecies Livestock Transshipping Hub (Spelling Yards). RDAFN partnered with the Outback Communities Authority to engage a consultant (Local People Local Solutions) to prepare a business case to look at the feasibility, location, funding options etc for the project. The report is finalised and available from http://www.rdafn.com.au/publications

The Flinders Ranges Council and Outback Communities Authority Region

  • Commonwealth Government - National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.  Barndioota Consultative Committee meeting on a regular basis. Minutes of BCC available at: http://www.radioactivewaste.gov.au/community-engagement/get-involved/consultative-committee/barndioota-consultative-committee  Economic Development Committee now also formed and holding regular meetings.  Successful recipients of Round 2 of the Community Benefit Programme were announced with 12 projects in The Flinders Ranges Council area receiving $2.1m in funding.  Various information sessions and community consultation activities continue to be held.  A decision on the facility is expected by late 2018.

Roxby Downs Council Region

  • BHP Billiton - Olympic Dam Capital Investment - $600m.  Three key areas with around 20% of the investment supporting the underground expansion into the high-grade Southern Mine Area including additional fleet, telecommunications, raising bores, power and other services.  Nearly 40% will underpin further underground development in the existing Northern Mine Area footprint and more than 40% is directed to a wide range of infrastructure and other programs onsite, including the major smelter campaign which is a $350m construction program spread across 2017/18 - 2018/19.  BHPB are also undertaking a Local Buying Program with a focus on businesses in the Council areas of Roxby Downs, Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Pirie and Mt Remarkable.  For more information on the Local Buying Program: https://c-res.com.au/ 

Outback Communities Authority Region

  • Strzelecki Track. RDAFN and the Outback Communities Authority, in partnership with The Flinders Ranges Council has produced the Economic and Community Benefits of Sealing the Strzelecki Track report. The report was launched by the Hon Rob Kerin on 22 January 2018.  Both sides of the State Government have committed $90m to the project. Lobbying for the project is taking place at the Federal level.  The new State Government has listed the project as one of their top 10 priorities along with the Federal Government including the project in their key infrastructure list.  A copy of the report is available for download from http://www.rdafn.com.au/publications
  • Solar Reserve - Aurora Project - $650m.  Proposed 150MW solar thermal project north of Port Augusta (Carriewerloo Station), incorporating 8 hours of full load energy storage (1100 megawatt-hours). Aurora will deliver over 500 gigawatt-hours or energy annually, providing fully dispatchable electricity to the network when it's needed most. Estimated 650 jobs during construction stage (expected duration of 30 months) with 50 ongoing positions for the operations stage.  Development Application has been approved by the South Australian Government.  A Heritage Agreement has been signed with native title holders, Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation. SolarReserve and Oz Minerals have entered into a long term agreement to commission a new high voltage electricity transmission line in South Australia.  The high voltage power line will meet the companies' current operational requirements and accommodate their growth strategy for the region. Solar Reserve have signed an MOU with Heliostat SA so manufacture and assemble the heliostats and heliostat components of the project. This MOU will mean close to 200 jobs could be created including over 115 unique skilled labour positions related to manufacturing of steel components and heliostat assemblies.Job opportunities will be advertised in newspapers, online, through social media and on the website at www.solarreserve.com/careers. For more information: http://www.solarreserve.com/en/global-projects/csp/aurora 
  • Energy Australia - Pumped Hydro - $300m.  Project to utilise sea water for a hydro plant through Cultana Defence property.  Energy Australia have received $500,000 in funding from Australian Government through the Renewable Energy Agency to go towards the $8m feasibility study, which involved advancing the project to a final investment decision.   South Australian Government also committed $500,000 as part of its Renewable Technology Fund. Estimated 200 construction jobs and 15 ongoing.  For more information: https://arena.gov.au/projects/energyaustralia-south-australian-pumped-hydro-energy-storage-phes-feasibility-study/
  • Altura Group - Goat Hill Pumped Hydro - $410m.  Project to utilise fresh water for a hydro scheme on Goat Hill, north-west of Port Augusta.  220MW - 270MW facility with capacity for up to 8 hours energy storage. Estimated 200 construction jobs and 15 ongoing with 55% "local" content.  The project has received development approval from the State Government. Detailed plant design and construction contracting work is underway. For more information: http://www.alturagroup.com.au/our-projects-goat-hill/
  • Nexif Energy - Lincoln Gap Wind Farm - $450m. Project to construct a 212MW wind farm on Goat Hill near Lincoln Gap. All necessary Government and local planning and development approvals received.  Construction of up to 59 Senvion wind turbines each with a potential capacity of up to 3.6MW. Estimated 300 construction jobs with 5 ongoing.  The project was officially opened for construction start on 23 January 2018 with commissioning of the project expected in late 2018. The project will connect to a 275kV grid line managed by ElectraNet, running to the south of the project. Construction is well underway with the Cooraberra Hill Substation grid connection close to completion. Components of the wind turbines have arrived at the Whyalla Port for transportation to site. For more information: http://www.nexifenergy.com/project/lincoln-gap/
  • Oz Minerals - Carrapateena Mine Project - $910m.  Copper and gold mining project with the aim of producing copper concentrate by 2019.  Project site is 160km north of Port Augusta. Exploring the Upper Spencer Gulf for possible site, infrastructure and port options for a concentrate treatment plant.  Local employment opportunities for both mining operations and treatment plant (pending final location). Native Title Mining Agreement wit the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation was registered in August.  The Mining Lease has been approved. Phase One and Phase Two of the project are underway.  Phase one involves construction of the accommodation village (with installation contracts executed for the pre-owned 500-bed accommodation village which has been purchased and is currently under construction) and airstrip and development of the dual access decline.  Phase Two includes construction of above ground infrastructure, processing plant, tailings storage facility, western access road, power line and installation of the underground materials handling system. Mobilisation of the construction workforce is underway.  .  For more information: https://www.ozminerals.com/operations/carrapateena-project/  
  • CU River - Cairn Hill - $800m.  Located approximately 50km south-east of Coober Pedy.  CU River lodged the Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation application for Cairn Hill pits 3 & 4 in August 2017 and awaiting State Government approval.  Announced in October 2017 an expansion which the company estimated could create up to 1300 jobs.  CU River has committed to using SA suppliers wherever possible on the project. For more information: http://www.curiver.com.au/operations/
  • Leigh Creek Energy - In Situ Gasification Plant. Construction, operation and decommissioning of a small-scale in situ gasification plant at the Leigh Creek Coalfield. Leigh Creek Energy have completed the draft Environmental Impact Report and accompanying draft Statement of Environmental Objectives. These documents are with the Energy Resources Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet to assess the adequacy of the documents for compliance against the requirements of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000. The public consultation period for the demonstration phase of the project concluded at the end of February 2018 and the program of additional drilling to secure geotechnical information was completed late January 2018.  The second of three activity notification approvals for Pre-Commercial Demonstration has been received.  The PCD works as a trial to determine whether the project will proceed with construction of the PCD effectively complete while the well drilling phase is in the final stages. In July 2018 Leigh Creek Energy announced plans for a small gas-fired pilot power station as part of the project. This pilot project was approved with the first syngas being produced on 10 October 2018.    For more information: http://www.lcke.com.au/Corporate-Responsibility/Environment