The Queensland Coordinator General has approved MacMines Austasia Pty Ltd’s proposed $6.7 billion open-cut and underground thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin, 300 kilometres west of Mackay.
In a recently released report, the Coordinator General concluded that there are significant local, regional and state benefits to be derived from the China Stone Coal Project and that environmental impacts could be acceptably managed, minimised or offset, through the implementation of the measures and proponent commitments outlined in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
At peak production, the China Stone Coal Project has the potential to produce up to 38 million tonnes per annum of coal for export to the Asian market, principally China, and holds a life of mine estimate of 50 years.
The project also includes the development of mine infrastructure areas, a coal handling and preparation plant, a tailings storage facility, rail loop and train-loading facilities, a coal-fired power station and power station waste storage facility as well as a private airstrip and accommodation village.
The conditions for approval are subject to the progressive rehabilitation of land used by the mine for animal grazing and habitats, in addition to backfilling the open-cut mine to at least a level above the pre-mining groundwater level to prevent ongoing groundwater impacts and enable the land to be used post-mining.
Key project benefits identified in the EIS are:
- For the five-year construction and early works phase, the project is expected to generate up to 3,892 direct full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs at peak, with the operations phase requiring up to 3,391 direct FTE jobs at peak.
- An estimated $951 million per annum added to the Gross State Product (GSP) during the project’s construction phase.
- A contribution of up to $1.5 billion per year to the GSP of Queensland for the first 25 years of operations.
- An annual average of $188.26 million in royalties for the first 25 years of operations paid to the State.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, stated that ‘every new investment in the resources sector is good news for Queensland’.
“The resources industry adds $62.9 billion to the Queensland economy and supports 316,000 direct and indirect jobs. It pays more than $4 billion in royalty taxes, which are used to build roads, schools and hospitals, and to pay the wages of hard-working teachers, nurses and police officers,” he said.
Mr Macfarlane added that new projects in the Galilee Basin would strengthen the long-term outlook for the resources sector and provide direct benefits to nearby regions.
“There are up to six mines that could open in the Galilee Basin. That’s just the shot in the arm that regional towns need.”