New Hope Group has secured federal government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) approval for its New Acland Stage 3 Continuation Project in Queensland, Australia.

New Hope Group managing director Shane Stephan stated that the approval demonstrates the environmental credentials of the project.

The decision was announced by Australian Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg. His department issued its approval after multiple federal environmental departments conducted extensive scrutiny, including evaluation from the Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC).

Stephan said: “It’s positive news for the local community as it provides optimism for the continuity of operations at New Acland and the increased economic activity associated with the construction of the project.”

"It’s positive news for the local community as it provides optimism for the continuity of operations at New Acland."

The project is expected to create around 260 construction jobs, ongoing employment for up to 435 people directly and 2,300 indirectly.

The project is expected to generate $12bn in economic benefits throughout its project life to 2029.

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Stephan further said: “Our 300 direct local employees and 500 contractors have been anxiously awaiting federal and state approval of this project for many years.

“Whilst we welcome the Federal EPBC Act approval, timing of state approvals is absolutely critical as the current mining lease is running out of resource and a considerable amount of construction activity is required to enable access to Stage 3 coal.”

The project still requires multiple state-level approvals that include Mining Lease, Environmental Authority and Associated Water Licence, with the company then able to make the final investment decisionfor the project.