The Queensland Government has approved Pembroke Resources’ $1 billion Olive Downs metallurgical coal project in the Bowen Basin.
Subject to Commonwealth Government approval, Pembroke will start construction of the project in 2020, with strict conditions to ensure local employment and minimisation of environmental impacts.
The project is expected to create 1000 operational jobs and 500 jobs during construction, contributing an estimated $8 billion to the local economy.
Olive Downs is forecast to produce up to 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal a year once it is operational.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane welcomed the approval, praising the project for its contribution to the state’s economy.
“At a time when Queensland’s unemployment rate is increasing and it is among Australia’s highest, the approval of Olive Downs coal project is a commitment of confidence amid attacks and threats of increased tax on coal,” he said.
“The approval of projects like Olive Downs provides the opportunity for more jobs, more exports and more royalties for Queenslanders.”
Queensland Minister for state development, manufacturing, infrastructure and planning Cameron Dick said the coal produced at the site would satisfy an increased demand for the commodity from Asia, which uses it for steel production.
“The project will produce up to 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year for export via the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay,” he said.
Olive Downs is set to capitalise on the use of existing road, rail, power and water infrastructure in the region and will operate alongside 25 existing mines.
“The proposed project includes coal handling and crushing facilities at the mine’s Olive Downs South and Willunga precincts, a rail link to transport coal to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and a water pipeline and power transmission line,” Dick said.
The project will follow the guidelines of the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act, requiring Pembroke to encourage workers to live in local towns like Moranbah, Nebo, Dysart and Middlemount. This intends to reduce the company’s reliance on fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers.
The public was invited to have their say on the draft environmental impact statement for the project between September and October 2018, with 37 submissions received.