The Queensland Government has invited bids from companies for exploring over 270km² in the central region of the Australian state.
Queensland is a leading coal producing region in the world, with tenders having been called for four blocks in the Bowen Basin.
Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham said: “Resource developments which create jobs and attract economic investment to our regional communities must start with exploration.
“This land release is a significant opportunity for explorers to gain access to land with the potential for thermal and metallurgical coal in a word-leading production region.”
Since 2013, Queensland has been awarding coal exploration licenses through competitive bidding process.
The only tender under the competitive bidding process saw five permits awarded in the northern Bowen Basin in 2014.
Queensland is the world’s largest global exporter of metallurgical coal, shipping more than 162 million tonnes last year worth an estimated $17bn.
Land on offer is surrounded by existing coal mines, from Middlemount in the north to Cook and Blackwater to the south.
This area is also serviced by Aurizon’s electrified Goonyella and Blackwater coal rail networks, which provides access to the coal export terminals of Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay to the north and the Port of Gladstone to the south.
Lynham added: “Queensland’s high standards of safety of environmental management, and a history of sustainable and innovative exploration and production practices, offer a safe, secure and attractive location for investment.”
The selected bidders must meet environmental, native title and land access requirements before undertaking on-ground exploration activity. The closing date for tenders is 24 August.
Image: A heap of coal. Photo: courtesy of John Nyberg via Freeimages.com.