An $800 million mining lease in the Mount Isa area has been approved and is expected to create more than 1300 jobs and inject a further $200 million a year into the local economy.
Legend International Holdings was given approval for a second mining lease in the North West Queensland Minerals Province and Premier Anna Bligh said it was a positive indication that investors were confident in mining and resources in Queensland.
"With Legend’s estimate of almost 200 million tonnes of mineral reserves in the area, we are looking at a mine with an operational life of 60 years," she said.
"The north-west is important to the whole Queensland economy. That’s why we’re taking steps to ensure the resources and mining industry can continue to develop in the area.
"Rigorous checks and balances are in place but we’ve made an effort to reduce red tape to make sure developments that check all the right boxes can be up and running quickly."
Local government is also welcoming the development of the mine, with Mount Isa MP Betty Kiernan saying the benefits from the project would be widespread and varied.
"With Legend also planning to build a fertiliser plant in Mount Isa and export the product via the Port of Townsville, this will keep the North-West on the international map for many, many years," Kierman said.
"A lot of people in this part of Queensland depend on mining for a job and I’m pleased to see those opportunities keep rolling in."
Legend International Holding project manager Ed Walker said has applied for a staged development on its two granted mining leases and a third lease covering the project.
"Mine production is planned to start first with high-grade ore from the Paradise North deposit for the first five years," Mr Walker said.
"The larger Paradise South deposit is then planned to provide high quality phosphatic rock for the fertiliser plant planned for Mount Isa.
"We’re also looking at upgrading the production of fertiliser product to 1.2 million tonnes per annum."
Legend still needs to complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and get approval from the Mount Isa City Council.
"After operating in the Mount Isa region for over three years, Legend realises that understanding our environmental impact is essential to the Mount Isa community," Mr Walker said.
"Legend is committed to protecting the water quality in the Leichhardt River catchment as a key priority."