A Chinese coal producer is drawing up plans that could see it create a $3 billion mine in Queensland that would dwarf Australia's biggest black coal developments.
After releasing an initial advice statement last year the State Government has handed China's largest private coke producer, Meijin, the terms of reference for an environmental impact statement for the new project.
Terms of reference provide minimum expectations for the scope of an EIS, and Meijin has its Australian unit Macmines AustAsia preparing federal and state government approval documents for the mine.
The new project, known as China Stone, would produce around 45 million tonnes a year from an open cut mine and up to four underground operations.
Power for the project would come from an 800MW electricity station, with initial documents suggesting a mine life of around 40 years, with open cut production starting in 2017 and the underground sites coming online in 2019.
The project is located 300km west of Mackay and construction is targeted to start in 2015.
Meijin was initially aiming for a 30-60mt operation to start up in 2014-15, but falling commodity prices and an uncertain market have pushed back the development.
Macmines said it would prefer not to build its own railway for the Galilee Basin project, instead opting to ship ore to Abbott Point through a corridor proposed by Aurizon.