MacMines puts Galilee Basin coal project on hold

MacMines Austasia has decided it will not move forward with developing the China Stone thermal coal project in the Galilee Basin in Queensland at this stage.

The Chinese company, a subsidiary of the Meijin Energy Group, did not provide a reason for the decision.

China Stone, already backed through initial stages of approval by the Queensland Government, was forecast to be three times the size of Adani’s scaled down proposal for the Carmichael project in the Galilee Basin.

MacMines has advised Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) that it was committed to converting the exploration authorities that underlie the area to a mining lease, and developing the coal deposit at a later date.

China Stone, located only 30 kilometres away from the Carmichael site, received a conditional environmental approval late last year. MacMines was in the process of applying for five mining leases.

The project was only the fifth coal development in the Galilee Basin to receive an approval for its conditional environmental impact statement (EIS) at the time of receipt (November 2018). It was forecast to produce around 38 million tonnes of thermal coal a year over a 50-year mine life.

Adani’s scaled down Carmichael project, in contrast, is proposed to deliver 10 million tonnes of coal a year over an initial 30-year mine life.

With the future of China Stone project uncertain, around 3900 potential jobs during construction and 3400 jobs in the operations phase are also put on hold.

MacMines, which continues to hold an exploration permit for coal and a mineral development licence, can apply for mining leases at any time in the future, the DNRME confirmed.

The Coordinator General’s approval is also still valid for the project.

Meijin is China’s leading metallurgical coke producer and has interests across coal mining, steel manufacturing and clean energy production.

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