However the project could be sunk before it even starts, with AMCI’s joint venture partner in the project, Bandanna Energy, going into receivership in September.
AMCI plans to build an open-cut and underground thermal coal mine which could produce up to 17 million tonnes of coal a year for export. If AMCI finds another partner and proceeds with the project, it has the potential to create up to 1,600 jobs during construction and about 1,300 jobs during operations.
Every the optimist, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said, “This is another step forward for the Galilee Basin and follows Alpha Coal, Kevin’s Corner, Galilee Coal Project and Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project receiving both State and Federal Government approvals,” on making the announcement.
If the project proceeds, the South Galilee Coal Project will be located 12 kilometres south-west of Alpha and about 180 kilometres west of Emerald in Central Queensland. It is estimated to have a 33 year operational life.
AMCI is proposing the project will be delivered in three stages. Stage one is the open-cut Epsilon stage where coal will be transported on the Central Western Railway for export through the Port of Gladstone. For stages two and three, coal will be transported on a common user railway to the Port of Abbot Point.
Mr Seeney said should the project proceed, AMCI was committed to employing local people and was considering a bus in bus out option for employees from Emerald as well as fly in fly out options from other major regional centres.
Mr Seeney said the Environmental Impact Statement for the project was thoroughly assessed by the Coordinator-General and he placed 110 conditions to adequately avoid or mitigate potential impacts.
“If the mine proceeds, AMCI must enter into make-good agreements with landholders and undertake groundwater modelling and monitoring,” he said.
“The mine itself will have to incorporate flood protection measures like levee banks and implement a strict mine water management system.”
The Queensland Coordinator-General’s evaluation report now goes to the Australian Environment Minister for a decision on issues pertaining to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 under the assessment bilateral agreement.
Mr Seeney said the Coordinator-General’s decision to approve this project’s Environmental Impact Statement marks his 400th since his appointment in April 2012.
“With this decision, the Coordinator-General has approved 16 major projects to proceed in our State, worth more than $67 billion and able to create about 44,000 jobs for Queenslanders,” Mr Seeney said.
“I’m pleased to say the Coordinator-General’s decision rate is 2.3 times greater than under Labor, proving we have streamlined approvals processes to get the State’s economy back on track.”
The Coordinator-General’s evaluation report on the South Galilee Coal Project Environmental Impact Statement will be available online shortly at www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/south-galilee-coal