PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government has granted a mining lease for the A$1-billion Olive Downs coal mine being developed by Pembroke Resources.
The project is forecast to produce 15-million tonnes a year of saleable coal over a 79-year mine life, and will create over 1 000 jobs in the region.
“This means that construction activities can now start, and the company can start hiring the 500 people needed to build the mine,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“The government is delivering our plan for Queensland’s economic recovery, and the resources sector will continue to be an important part of that plan.
“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. This project takes resources investment in Queensland over the past five years to A$21-billion, creating 8 000 jobs.”
The granting of the mining lease followed on from approvals from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in early 2020, and the grant of an Environmental Authority by the Queensland government in 2019.
Pembroke CEO and chairperson Barry Tudor on Tuesday said that the company was pleased to have been granted the mining lease, having consulted extensively with the local community over the past four years.
“In addition to our commitments to the environment, we have focused on creating local jobs and proactively engaged with all stakeholders, including establishing strong relationships with Barada Barna as the traditional owners of the land, with whom we have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and cultural heritage management plan in place.”
The project is estimated to host some 838-million tonnes of resource and 514-million tonnes of opencut reserves, marking it is a potential Tier 1 steelmaking coal project.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has described the decision to grant the mining lease for the Olive Downs coking coal project as a “critical jobs booster” for the state’s Covid-19 recovery.
“The granting of the mining lease means construction and creation of over 1 000 new jobs in the region can get underway. These jobs will come just when Queensland needs them the most, with the State’s unemployment forecast to increase to 9% due to Covid-19,” QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said.
“Olive Downs had been well advanced before Covid-19 with the Queensland government announcing its approval in May 2019, and its progression to construction could not have come at a better time for Queensland.
“The mine is expected to provide much needed local stimulus during Covid-19 recovery, with up to 500 jobs during construction and over 1 000 new jobs when the project reaches full operation.
“New resource projects, like Olive Downs, deliver for Queensland. The QRC will continue to work to ensure the comprehensive and transparent assessment and approval processes for these projects are streamlined to secure the jobs, investment, exports and royalties for Queensland as soon as possible,” Macfarlane said.
Olive Downs is expected to generate some A$5.5-billion in royalties over the project’s mine life.