$1 billion Olive Downs coal mine a step closer after green approval

Pembroke Resources has been crucial environmental approval and is likely to receive a green light within months to start construction of its $1 billion Olive Downs coal mine in central Queensland.

May 15, 2020, updated May 15, 2020
Coal prices have soared as supply becomes a major issue

Coal prices have soared as supply becomes a major issue

The Federal Government finally granted environmental approval yesterday paving the way for 1000 new jobs. The approval had been delayed for about nine months.

The project still needs a mining lease from the Queensland Government before construction could start but the company’s managing director Barry Tudor said that should be granted within months.

He said Olive Downs had assembled all the elements required to start construction following the grant of the mining leases, including access to power, water, rail and port and the federal and state approvals endorsed the company’s intent to deliver strong environmental outcomes.

“The project pathway has also benefited from being a tier-one steel-making coal project in an established mining basin with access to established infrastructure,” Tudor said.

The federal environmental approvals authorise activities for Olive Downs’ 79-year mine life and provide the conditions for the operation of the mine and the associated infrastructure corridors, including environmental obligations.

Tudor said that the company was pleased with the recognition of the strong environmental planning it has put in place and looks forward to the grant of its mining leases so that construction and employment can commence.

“This is an exciting time for the company and the region’s wider community. The EPBC approvals, and
the environmental authority, which was granted last year, represent key milestones for the project.

“The next key milestone is securing the grant of the mining leases, which will enable us to commence construction. We expect
these mining leases to be granted in the coming months,” Tudor said.

Pembroke said the mine was expected to provide much-needed local stimulus during the recovery, with significant economic benefits for Queensland and the creation of up to 500 jobs during construction and over 1000 new jobs when the project reaches full operation.

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In addition to employment and its contribution to the local economy, the steel-making coking coal project is also expected to generate around $5.5 billion in royalties for the Queensland Government over the life of the mine.

Pembroke will not be using a fly-in, fly-out workforce and is forecasting the production of 15 million tonnes a year.

Included in the environmental conditions accepted by Pembroke is a $1 million contribution to improving long-term conservation of koalas and greater gliders in the Bowen Basin.

It must also implement a comprehensive monitoring and management program to ensure that the project does not adversely affect the ecological values of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. This includes the collection of robust baseline data, implementation of multiple ‘fit-for-purpose’ modelling approaches, and undertaking site-specific scientific assessments.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the resources sector injected $73 billion and supported 372,000 jobs across Queensland last financial year.

“The announcement today reinforces the role of the resources sector in Queensland’s recovery,” Macfarlane said.

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