A new mining operation will be built between Springsure and Rolleston in Queensland, once a suitable transport solution can be found.
The Meteor Downs South mine, a joint project between owners Sojitz and U&D Coal, is expected to begin construction later this year.
Peter Edwards, U&D Coal chief financial officer, said finding a transport solution – either by road or rail – was the main reason preventing construction.
“Ideally we would transport the coal on rail loop that we build ourselves, but that solution would delay us by about a year and a half,” he said.
“We have to weigh up whether the delay is worth it, or whether we could make a reasonable return on a more expensive transport solution in the first instance.”
Cameron Vorias, Sojitz CEO, said a full review of the engineering required to build a new rail loop off the Bauhinia line had been completed.
“If we get the necessary approvals, the rail loop would take about 15 months to construct, but after that it would only be a three to four month construction period before first coal is mined,” he said.
Vorias said he was confident that it was a good time to start construction. He also added that the mine would be a positive for members of the community, creating more than 60 jobs.
“We have made a commitment to use the local workforce and source materials locally to the best of our ability,” he said.
Edwards went on to say that the input costs needed to get the mine started were low, and so too was the strip ratio.
He said they aimed to bring the mine online for under $30million, and it is expected to mine between one and 1.5 million tonnes of coal per annum for ten years.