Environmental groups have lambasted Glencore ’s proposed $1.5bn open-cut metallurgical and thermal coal mine in central Queensland. The mining giant recently told federal government officials that more than a dozen threatened species could be on the site, with environmentalists arguing that the mine would destroy the habitat of threatened species, threaten farmland and raise questions surrounding the company’s climate goals.

The mine is projected to produce 14-16 million tonnes of coal per annum over its 35-year mine life. If it goes ahead, it is estimated that the project will create 1,400 construction jobs and a further 900 during its operational life.

The project will include six open-cut pits and a coal handling and preparation plant and will operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Concerns

In a statement, Glencore said it was undertaking a range of studies related to the Valeria coal resource.

“These studies and assessments will support the state and federal approvals process for the project, which is still yet to reach a final investment decision,” it said.

However, environmentalists have argued that the mine presents a huge risk to the surrounding environment. Surveys carried out between 2019 and 2021 recorded the presence of hundreds of species, including 334 plants, 132 birds, 34 mammals, 37 reptiles, 16 fish, 10 frogs and 10 introduced species.

The company said the project covered 29,501 hectares with about 10,364 hectares that would need to be cleared for the mine, workers’ camp, and access road.

Ellie Smith of campaign group Lock the Gate Queensland said there was no justification for the project. She said: “The Valeria coal project poses an unacceptable risk to farmland and to Theresa Creek, a known habitat of numerous threatened species and a waterway relied on by communities in the region for agriculture.”