APPROVED: Map of the proposed Olive Downs coking coal project.
APPROVED: Map of the proposed Olive Downs coking coal project.

Production at new Bowen Basin mine could begin by 2020

PEMBROKE Resources says mining could begin next year after its $1 billion coking coal project was given the green light by the State Government today.

Queensland's independent Coordinator-General approved the Environmental Impact Statement for the Olive Downs metallurgical coal mine project, 40 kilometres south-east of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin, with strict conditions to ensure local employment and manage potential impacts on the environment.

It is said the project will create up to 500 jobs during construction and up to 1000 operational jobs.

The project, which could begin producing coal for steelmaking as early as next year, is also expected to generate more than $5 billion in royalties for the Queensland Government over the mine's 79-year life span.

Pembroke Resources chairman and CEO Barry Tudor welcomed the approval and said it was a significant development for the project that reflected close co-operation with the Queensland Co-ordinator General.

"This world class project will have a production life of almost 80 years,” Mr Tudor said.

"There is no viable alternative to coking coal in the primary steel production process for the foreseeable future and Olive Downs will be a major supplier to the world's leading steel producers, and will also be a valuable contributor to the Queensland and Australian economy for generations.”

Mr Tudor said the company shared the Queensland Government's view that Olive Downs would bring employment and other opportunities to the state's regional communities.

"Our focus is on workers living locally, including in Moranbah, Nebo and Dysart, and hiring locally from the surrounding towns of Central Queensland,” he said.

"There will be no fly-in, fly-out rosters.”

The first stage of the project, requiring capital expenditure of $450 million, will produce 4.5 million tonnes a year of steelmaking coal, which will be exported through the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.

Mr Tudor said Pembroke had been working consistently and collaboratively with stakeholders, regulators and potential customers for the past three years.

He said, while large, it was a relatively straightforward coking coal project in an existing mining basin, which would deliver local employment.

"We now need to receive a mining lease before we can start construction, but we anticipate starting mining in 2020 and shipping first coal soon after,” he said.

"Today's approval is not only a sign of confidence in this project but also an acknowledgement of Pembroke's adherence to the highest of standards throughout the approvals process.”

State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said metallurgical coal produced in the Bowen Basin was in high demand for use in steel production in Asia.

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

Mr Dick said the project maximised the use of existing road, rail, power and water infrastructure in Queensland's most established coal region and would 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,” he said.

Mr Dick said the public was invited to have their say on the draft environmental impact statement for the project last year and 37 submissions were received.

The independent Coordinator-General considered all submissions in completing his evaluation of the project.

Subject to Federal Government approval, Pembroke Resources expects to begin construction in 2020.