Authorities have accepted the significant benefits a $1 billion mine in Central Queensland will bring to the community.
The State Government has officially recognised Whitehaven Coal’s Winchester South Project is a coordinated project, located 30km southeast of Moranbah.
The announcement made by Queensland Coordinator-General Barry Broe and Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick credits the mine for having strategic significance due to the significant economic and employment benefits it could bring the local community.
If approved, construction could begin as early as 2021. Once operational in 2023 run-of-mine production is expected to peak at about 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal a year throughout the project’s 30-year lifespan.
“The project will entail up to $1 billion in capital expenditure inclusive of the mining fleet, and create 500 jobs during construction and 450 jobs when operating, to produce high quality metallurgical coal for export to the Asian market,” Whitehaven said in a public statement. “[The] declaration paves the way for whole-of-government assessment of the project by way of an environmental impact statement (EIS).”
Minister Dick believes the positions will be generously compensated.
“This is a project that has the potential to boost the local economy and create well-paid jobs,” he said in a public statement.
The government’s Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act would ban the project from just employing a 100 per cent fly-in fly-out workforce.
“This means regional Queensland will get the lion’s share of jobs, while that economic ripple effect will create opportunities for local small-and-medium-sized businesses,” Dick said.
Whitehaven is expected to hire a high number of locals to work at the mine.
“This is good news for places like Moranbah, Dysart and Coppabella, and provides even more opportunities for regional Queensland,” State Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development Julieanne Gilbert said.
Broe will prepare the draft terms of reference and public comment will be invited on the EIS.