Qld govt approves $1b coking coalmine

The Queensland government has given final approval to a $1 billion coalmine in the state’s Galilee Basin.

Pembroke Resources has been granted mining leases for its 25,000-hectare Olive Downs Coking Coal Project by the state government following federal environmental approval in May.

Olive Downs is expected to employ 1000 people to mine coking coal used in steelmaking. It will include an open-cut metallurgical coalmine, coal handling and preparation plant and an 18km rail spur.

The mine is forecast to provide the state with $5.5 billion in royalties and be in operation for 79 years.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says Pembroke can now hire the 500 workers needed to build the project, which is 40km southeast of Moranbah.

“My government is delivering our plan for Queensland’s economic recovery and the resources sector will continue to be an important part of that plan,” she said on Tuesday.

“The resources industry has a long future in Queensland, whether it’s metallurgical coal from the Bowen Basin, bauxite from Weipa or rare earth minerals from the North West Minerals Province.”

Pembroke chief executive Barry Tudor said the mining lease approvals come after extensive consultation with locals including the Barada Barna, who are the Traditional Owners of the land.

He said the power, water, rail and port have already been assembled and finance and customers have been finalised.

“Pembroke is committed to providing workers with an opportunity to live in towns near the mine including Moranbah and Dysart and is building sustainable futures for people in the communities in which Olive Downs operates,” Mr Tudor said.

The company has agreed to contribute $100,000 annually to a regional environmental fund over the next 10 years, while protecting koala and sugar glider habitats as it builds the mine.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokesperson Martin Zavan said the state government should be backing climate-smart projects that future-proof jobs without killing national icons such as the koala.

“It is unacceptable that multinational mining corporations like Pembroke can simply pay a fee to raze thousands of hectares of land and kill vulnerable koalas and gliders,” he told AAP.

“In a rapidly decarbonising world, this short-sighted decision defies the best advice of scientists and economists. 

“It will not only put our climate, agricultural land and water at risk but will also exacerbate the climate crisis that is already devastating billions of iconic Australian animals.”

The Olive Downs project is in the state seat of Burdekin, which is held by Liberal National Party MP and opposition mines spokesman Dale Last by a mere 0.8 per cent.

Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31.

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