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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 - August 2019


Port Augusta City Council Region

  • Pangea Energy - Solar Farm - Development approval granted August 2018, feasibility study being undertaken - This project will see the world's largest battery storage system built with the project including a 50MW solar photovoltaic electricity general plant combined with an energy storage facility (battery) of up to 300MWwh capacity. These projects combined will see 200-250 construction jobs with p to 20 ongoing positions after construction is complete.
  • Zen Energy / SIMEC - Playford Battery Project - Project consists of large battery with 50MW of power and 50MWh of energy which is designed to stabilise the grid and to make a contribution to the stabilisation of wholesale electricity prices within the National Electricity Market. Project is located on Port Patterson road, 1km from the existing sub-station with mobilisation of the construction crew due to start in August/September 2019. Construction is expected to take 12 months with up to 50 people required for some general and more specialised labour.  Project life of 30 years expected with up to 5 people required ongoing to maintain the site and equipment.
  • CU River - Port Facility and Solar Plant - $250m - feasibility study and approvals underway - Conversion of former Port Augusta Power Stations site into a port facility capable of handling iron ore, grain and other commodities.  Construction is expected to commence within two years.  Expected 150 construction jobs and 100 permanent positions once operating. The Port Augusta port facility will have an initial capacity of up to 15m tonnes per annum, but has a future export potential in excess of 50 million tonnes per annum.  Whilst initial plans see CU River utilising the site, it is expected to be a multi-user and multi-commodity port facility, providing the Spencer Gulf and Far North industries with further export opportunities. CU River also plans to further develop the site for commercial use and are examining the feasibility of constructing a large-scale solar farm.
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. Amendment to development application to accommodate taller tower tips is being assessed. 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 
  • Multispecies Livestock Transshipping Hub (Spelling Yards). RDA Far North 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.  The Flinders Ranges Council has agreed to host the upcoming community ballot, but have however approached the Federal Government to provide funding for a full economic and feasibility analysis to be conducted before the public ballot is held.

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. RDA Far North 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
  • 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. The construction of 35 turbines is nearly complete with the remaining 24 turbines scheduled for completion in 2020. 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 2018.  The Mining Lease has been approved with onsite works well underway including the construction of the camp site and airstrip. 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