Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, has approved the Pembroke Olive Downs Mine under specific environmental conditions including protections for species impacted by recent bushfires.
Included in the environmental conditions accepted by Pembroke Resources (Pembroke) is a $1 million contribution to improving long-term conservation of koalas and greater gliders in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
The Minister said that her key focus in finalising this decision was to consider that the impacts of the bushfires, specifically the impacts on koala and greater glider populations, were properly addressed.
“I fully acknowledge the work of the proponent in recognising the need to take these matters into account and in acknowledging wider regional issues,” she said.
Pembroke will contribute $100,000 a year over ten years to the new regional environmental fund while also ensuring:
- Restrictions on the removal of riparian koala and greater glider habitats;
- Maintenance and restoration of current riparian habitats;
- Management of environmental offsets, including on a large offset property of 34,000 hectares; and
- Engagement of independent species experts to increase scientific knowledge around the undertakings and to establish a restoration program to revegetate key riparian habitat.
The Environment Minister said that this is an example of how a proponent can be prepared to step back and look at environmental outcomes and regional strategies within the context of a development that will provide metallurgical coal of a predicted $10.1 billion for Queensland and approximately 500 construction jobs and 1,000 operational jobs in North Queensland.
“All work is subject to the company meeting its environmental conditions at each step of the process and the principle is one of addressing habitat protection ahead of the work taking place,” she stated.
As part of this environmental approval, Pembroke must implement a comprehensive monitoring and management program to ensure that the project does not adversely affect the ecological values of groundwater-dependent ecosystems.
This includes the collection of robust baseline data, implementation of multiple ‘fit-for-purpose’ modelling approaches, and undertaking site-specific scientific assessments.
The approval for this project comes after the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment received four referrals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 relating to the Olive Downs Mine, including a mine site and access road; a water pipeline; an electricity transmission line; and a rail spur.
“The project was assessed by the Queensland Office of the Coordinator-General through a ‘bilateral’ report that did not provide sufficient detail, and which necessitated further consultation between my department and the proponent before I was in a position to make an informed decision,” detailed the Minister.
“The decision to finalise the environmental assessment of the Olive Downs project comes after the water pipeline, electricity transmission line and rail spur components were approved subject to conditions in April this year,” she said.
More about the project:
The Olive Downs Coking Coal Project (Olive Downs) is 100 per cent owned by Pembroke, an Australian specialist steelmaking coal company and is backed by its major shareholder, Denham Capital, a leading global energy and resources private equity firm.
Olive Downs has 838 million tonnes (Mt) of Open Cut JORC Resources and 514Mt of open-cut JORC Reserves of quality product that is similar to other well-accepted Bowen Basin brands.
Pembroke is planning for the commencement of site construction following the grant of the mining leases and is forecasting the project to produce up to 15Mtpa saleable coal over its 79-year mine life.
Pembroke Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Barry Tudor, said that the Company is pleased with the recognition of the strong environmental planning it has put in place and looks forward to the grant of its Mining Leases so that construction and employment can commence.
“This is an exciting time for the Company and the region’s wider community,” Mr Tudor said.
“The next key milestone is securing the grant of the mining leases, which will enable us to commence construction. We expect these mining leases to be granted in the coming months.”