Pembroke Resources has secured up to $131.3m (A$175m) in government support for the development of the Olive Downs metallurgical coal mine in the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland, Australia.

The loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has a tenor of ten years.

Entailing an investment worth $643m (A$1bn), the project is expected create between 500 to 700 jobs during the construction phase, as well as more than one thousand jobs at peak production.

Pembroke Resources chairman and CEO Barry Tudor said: “The benefit to the Queensland economy and the Central Queensland region is significant, with the project contributing more than $10bn over the life of mine.”

With an anticipated mine life of 80 years, the Olive Downs project has Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) Reserve of 514Mt of high-quality steelmaking coal.

The project is expected to initially operate at 4.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). The capacity will eventually increase to 15Mtpa.

Pembroke has already received an environmental authority and mining lease from the Queensland government and the Commonwealth Government’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation approval for the project.

However, environmental groups have criticised the latest funding by NAIF, calling it ‘deeply irresponsible’.

Tudor added: “Olive Downs will truly be a 21st-century mine built to 21st century standards, which is designed to meet and exceed the most stringent environmental obligations whilst creating local jobs.

“We will proactively manage our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions using technology and innovation. Olive Downs sits in the lowest quartile of emissions intensity for global steelmaking coal mines.”