Thursday 17th Oct, 2019

Queensland Govt gives green light to billion-dollar coal project

Coal. Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The Queensland Government has approved Pembroke Resources’ billion-dollar metallurgical coal project Olive Downs, located in the Bowen Basin.

Pembroke Resources will start construction of its Olive Downs project in 2020, subject to Federal Government approval. The company will have strict conditions placed upon it to ensure local employment and minimisation of environmental impacts.

Olive Downs is expected to create 1000 operational jobs and 500 jobs during construction, contributing an estimated $8 billion to the local economy.

It is expected to produce up to 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal a year once operational.

Queensland Minister for State development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the coal produced at the site would satisfy an increased demand for the commodity from Asia, which uses it for steel production.

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“The project will produce up to 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year for export via the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay,” he said.

The project is set to capitalise on the existing road, rail, power and water infrastructure in the region and will operate alongside 25 existing mines.

“The proposed project includes coal handling and crushing facilities at the mine’s Olive Downs South and Willunga precincts, a rail link to transport coal to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and a water pipeline and power transmission line,” Dick said.

The project will follow the guidelines of the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act, requiring Pembroke to encourage workers to live in local towns like Moranbah, Nebo, Dysart and Middlemount. This intends to reduce the company’s reliance on fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane welcomed the approval, praising the project for its contribution to the state’s economy.

“At a time when Queensland’s unemployment rate is increasing and it is among Australia’s highest, the approval of Olive Downs coal project is a commitment of confidence amid attacks and threats of increased tax on coal,” he said.

“The approval of projects like Olive Downs provides the opportunity for more jobs, more exports and more royalties for Queenslanders.”

The public was invited to have their say on the draft environmental impact statement for the project between September and October 2018, with 37 submissions received.