Xstrata is set to forge ahead with the expansion of its Rolleston coal mine in Queensland.
Environmental applications for its expansion were lodged yesterday, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported.
The expansion is set to almost triple the amount of coal mined, with current production levels sitting at around 7.5 million tonnes of thermal coal annually and forecast to rise to almost 20 million tonnes per year.
It comes after Xstrata considered halting planning on Rolleston due to Kevin Rudd’s Resource Super Profits Tax and just months after the mine was forced to declare force majeure on some contracts due to the Queensland floods.
However, following Julia Gillard’s revised Mineral Resources Rent Tax, the miner resumed planning processes.
The mine’s potential effect on the Great Barrier Reef is seen as the major issue in its expansion approval process due to Rolleston’s position in the Fitzroy Basin, which empties into the sea near the Great Barrier Reef marine park.
However, Xstrata believes that the distance from the marine park was far enough to ensure any impacts would be negligible.
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