The regional areas of Queensland, Australia, are preparing for a forecast mining boom, as companies ramp up production of coal to meet power demand.
Mining towns in the Galilee Basin, Emerald, Tambo, Clermont and Barcaldine areas have been gearing up for a number of major coal development and export projects expected there in years ahead.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the mining boom is likely to create jobs for thousands of people and result in an influx of people to the mining towns.
One project expected to turn the fortune of a town around is Australia-based Resourcehouse’s $60bn coal export contract with a Chinese power company, one of the largest resource developments in the history of Australia.
It will require the development of an $8bn mine in the Galilee Basin region near Alpha, which will generate 70,000 jobs.
Barcaldine mayor Rob Chandler says the project will expand the central-west region.
“Emerald, Clermont, Tambo, Blackall, Barcaldine, Aramac are all about 160km from the mine,” Chandler said.
“So we’re going to have people move into these communities to live there and raise their families and go off to work in these mines. It’s going to be good for the economy in the west.”
Chandler said that water, power, health, emergency services and roads needed to be upgraded around the Galilee Basin to make way for the renewed communities.
Chandler and mayors of other small towns in Queensland have expressed concern about the inadequate infrastructure in their towns for development of huge projects.
Premier Anna Bligh said, however, that the government and the mining firms are collaborating with councils to ensure infrastructure needs are met.
“We’ve all learned a lot of lessons from what happened in the Bowen Basin and we’ll be taking those lessons into the development of the Galilee area,” Bligh said.