The Queensland Government has given conditional environmental approval to MacMines Austasia’s proposed A$6.7bn ($4.84bn) China Stone coal mine in the Galilee Basin.
The open-cut and underground thermal coal mine is expected to produce up to 38 million tonnes per annum at peak production. Coal from the project will be exported to the Asian market, mainly China.
In the environmental impact statement (EIS), the state’s Coordinator-General Barry Broe approved the project with some conditions requiring MacMines to mitigate impacts on the environment and local communities.
Broe said: “I conclude that there are significant local, regional and state benefits to be derived from the China Stone Coal project, and that environmental impacts can be acceptably managed, minimised or offset, through the implementation of the measures and proponent commitments outlined in the EIS.”
The project is expected to create 3,900 jobs during the five-year construction phase and up to 3,391 during operations phase.
Broe noted that the coal project will contribute up to $1.5bn per annum to Queensland’s gross state product for the first 25 years of operations.
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MacMines Austasia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese firm Meijin Energy Group.
As part of the project development, the company will build a coal handling and preparation plant, a tailings storage facility, a rail loop and train-loading facilities, as well as a coal-fired power station.
MacMines intends to complete a railway which links the northern Galilee Basin to Abbot Point coal terminal. The completion of the railway is said to be critical to the development of the coal project.
The coal mine is anticipated to have an estimated life of around 50 years.