PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Construction on the A$82-million extension of the Isaac Plains metallurgical coal mine, in Queensland, is expected to start next month.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart on Wednesday announced the final government approvals and go-ahead for Isaac Downs mine, a third mine on the Isaac Plains complex near Moranbah.
“Queensland’s resources sector has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, supporting an average 76 000 jobs, and it remains central to the government’s Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Stewart said.
“I welcome Stanmore’s ongoing investment and confidence in regional Queensland.
“This project will mean mining jobs for another 10 years, including for the 300 mineworkers currently at Isaac Plains, as well as jobs completing rehabilitation in the Isaac Plains East area until 2025.
“Isaac Downs will create up to 250 new construction jobs and business opportunities in and around Moranbah, as well as broader economic benefits for the Isaac region.”
The new mine is forecast to produce up to 2.5-million tonnes a year of metallurgical coal for up to 10 years, as well as A$200-million in royalties.
Stanmore chairperson Dwi Suseno said the approval of the Isaac Downs mining leases was a major milestone for the company.
“This enables us to proceed with a critical project for the longevity and extension of the opencut operations supporting our Isaac Plains Complex, maintaining Stanmore as a competitive producer of essential ingredients for steel production by our global customers.” he said.
Stanmore purchased the mothballed Isaac Plains site in 2015, taking on the task of reactivating the mine which now employs up to 300 people, producing metallurgical coal for export to Asian and European steel manufacturers.
Mining is expected to ramp down at Isaac Plains East at the end of this year and transition to the newly approved Isaac Downs pit by late January 2022.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the approval, with CEO Ian Macfarlane noting that metallurgical coal prices were currently at record highs owing to a surge in world steel production.
Macfarlane said Stanmore’s plans to expand output from its Isaac Plains complex were great news for every Queenslander, with its new opencut mine project expected to contribute A$200-million in royalties to the state budget over its 10-year life span.
“Mining royalties help pay for the essential government services that every Queenslander needs and benefits from,” he said.
“That’s why it’s been so essential for the resources sector to keep working, earning and employing its way through the Covid-19 pandemic, because so many jobs and businesses rely on resources companies for their income.
“We take this responsibility very seriously, which is why our companies have gone above and beyond to follow Queensland Health protocols so we can continue to keep our workforce and the communities in which they live and work safe.”
Macfarlane said the injection of 250 new construction jobs at Isaac Plains, plus ongoing work for 300 workers currently employed at the site and new supply chain opportunities, will stimulate growth in Central Queensland, which will flow through to the state economy.