Pembroke Resources’ $1 billion Olive Downs project is set to create hundreds of jobs after gaining approval.

Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General last week green-lit the proposed metallurgical coal mine located 40 kilometres south-east of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin.

Approval came with strict conditions to ensure local employment and manage potential impacts on the environment.

The mine is expected to create 500 jobs during construction and contribute an estimated $8 billion to the local economy and more than $10 billion to the Queensland economy.

Metallurgical coal produced in the Bowen Basin is in high demand for use in steel production in Asia with the project tipped to produce up to 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year for export via the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay.

Uncertainty remains for Adani project as coal cash rises 

The approval of the Olive Downs project comes amid continued ambiguity for the Adani Carmichael Coal Project.

Last week the project was subject to another delay, with Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) further deferring finalisation of the Carmichael project’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP).

Adani described the revelation as another example of the ‘secretive and non-transparent’ review processes dogging the project, such as the controversy around the department’s handling of the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan.

“We are 1 of 125 coal mining companies in Australia. We should all be subject to the same legislation, regulations, approval processes and standards,” Adani chief Lucas Dow said.

The frustrating stalemate continues as reports of Queensland coal exports contributing $36.3 billion – an increase of $5 billion or 16% over the previous 12 months.

Coal royalties could be $1 billion above the already-record projections in this year’s Federal Budget, with forecast royalties on both thermal and metallurgical coals setting a new record of $4.46 billion this financial year (2018-19).

New mining leases revive historic gold town

Almost 400 North Queensland jobs are set to be generated with new mining leases granted to Resolute Mining.

Nine new mining leases have been handed to the miner, an essential step for its $150 million project extending the life of its Ravenswood gold mine operations.

The development brings a new lease on life for the historic gold town of Ravenswood, near Townsville, which has a rich mining history dating back to the gold rush and from its early production in 1868 it is a region which produced more than three million ounces of gold.

In its heyday in 1911, the town had 2010 residents and 48 hotels. Today there are around 200 residents, two restored hotels and the town site is a national heritage area

Resolute Mining has already made a significant contribution to Ravenswood, pre-funding and commencing refurbishment and relocation of the historic Ravenswood State School, providing new sporting facilities and helping preserve the former gold town’s cultural heritage.

The new mining leases mean one Resolute mine reaches the end of its lifecycle and another begins, and for the 280 strong workforce brings another 13 years of employment, as well as an additional 100 construction jobs for the new mine.”  

Parliament passes “Use it lose it” amendment

The Queensland Parliament has passed resources industry reforms which now require permit holders to “use it or lose it”.

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the reforms in the Natural Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 were a direct response to concerns raised by the resources sector and landholders.

The legislation also progresses the state’s third, publicly-owned electricity generator, CleanCo . CleanCo will build, own, operate and maintain a portfolio of clean energy assets to help increase electricity supply and drive down prices.

The resources reforms will:

  • give explorers more flexibility to modify their activities, depending on what they find on-ground, without having to seek approvals.
  • cap exploration permits to three terms of five years, so that permit holders have to actively explorer rather than “land bank.”

Explorers will now be able to change their work program without seeking extra approvals.

“For example, under the previous system, an explorer may have approval to take 10 ground samples,” Dr Lynham said. “To take only three, even if the explorer had found what they were looking for, they would have had to apply for approval.”

Under the changes, they need to meet their existing Native Title and environmental conditions, and agree with the landholder, and then advise the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy of their findings. The changes will take effect next year.