Australia’s Queensland Government has declared the A$90m ($64.2m) Isaac Downs coal project near Moranbah as a ‘prescribed project’ for the state.

Queensland Regional Development Minister Glenn Butcher said that the project, which is being developed by Stanmore Coal, is expected to provide ongoing long-term employment for workers at Stanmore’s existing Isaac Plains mining complex.

According to Butcher, the prescribed project status enables the coordinator-general to work alongside Stanmore Coal so as to ensure timely project approvals.

Butcher said: “As we implement Queensland’s plan to strengthen our economy in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, a project like this has the potential to play an important role for regional Queensland.

“The construction phase of the project is expected to create 250 jobs.

“In addition, Stanmore Coal estimates that when operational, the new mine will create an additional 80 new jobs.

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“Project proponent Stanmore Coal estimates the economic contribution generated by Isaac Downs for the region will be A$2.5bn ($1.78bn) over its anticipated 16-year life.”

Stanmore is set to begin construction at the Isaac Downs project next year, pending necessary approvals.

The Isaac Downs project is also expected to generate an additional A$457.9m (approximately $327m) in economic contributions to the wider Queensland.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said: “The resources sector has worked closely with government, unions and health authorities to continue its operations and maintain jobs while protecting the health and safety of its workforce and the communities they live and work in.

“Ongoing investment in Queensland’s resources sector shows confidence in our resources, our workers and our economy.”

In January, Stanmore Coal submitted an environmental impact statement (EIS) to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

In July 2019, Stanmore Coal signed binding agreements to acquire a 600t Caterpillar 6060 (CAT 6060) excavator for the Isaac Plains East mine in Queensland from Hasting Deering.